Ac­cused killer kept lips sealed, friend tells court

The Daily Courier - - CITY - By AN­DREA PEA­COCK

A man ac­cused of hit­ting his room­mate’s head with a ham­mer and killing him kept quiet about the in­ci­dent af­ter it hap­pened, a friend tes­ti­fied in a Kelowna court Thurs­day.

Daniel Ruff, 65, is on trial for sec­ond-de­gree mur­der in the death of War­ren Wel­ters, 51.

The two of them shared an up­stairs suite at 941 Bernard Ave., where Wel­ters was found dead on June 14, 2015.

Mur­ray Mathe­son, a friend of Ruff’s, was at the house that af­ter­noon for a bar­be­cue.

A group of peo­ple was on the front porch, drink­ing beer, when Mathe­son, who said he had been awake for two days at the time, fell asleep in one of the chairs.

He was awo­ken by Wel­ters rais­ing his voice at one of Ruff’s guests.

“I heard him say, ‘What the f . . . are you do­ing here, you lit­tle whore?’” Mathe­son told the jury. “I opened my eyes and he was stand­ing at the bot­tom of the stairs and he was look­ing at Laura Lee (Jones).”

Not want­ing to get in­volved, Mathe­son said he closed his eyes again and slept un­til a po­lice of­fi­cer woke him up later that evening. He saw sev­eral fire trucks and po­lice cars parked out­side the house.

“They started tap­ing up the house and I said, ‘Wow, what the hell’s go­ing on here?’” said Mathe­son. “No­body would tell me any­thing.”

Ruff, who was also on the porch at the time, did not di­vulge much in­for­ma­tion ei­ther, he said.

“I asked him three or four times (what hap­pened), and I think the fourth time he said, ‘War­ren’s dead,’” said Mathe­son. “I asked what hap­pened and he didn’t say any­thing.”

Once he was al­lowed to leave the house, around 11:30 p.m., Mathe­son biked home to his res­i­dence on Saucier Av­enue.

A cou­ple of hours later, Ruff ar­rived at his house, he said.

Again, Mathe­son asked him what had hap­pened.

“I just asked him, ‘Did he hit you, or did you go af­ter him, or did he come af­ter you?’ And he just shrugged his shoul­ders, so I didn’t know if that was a yes or a no or what. He wasn’t say­ing a lot,” said Mathe­son. “He said it might have been a biker gang com­ing in or some­thing; he said, ‘I don’t know.’”

Un­able to get any more in­for­ma­tion out of Ruff, Mathe­son said he let it go.

Ruff stayed at Mathe­son’s house for a few days, but the two men never dis­cussed the in­ci­dent again, said Mathe­son.

Ruff was ar­rested June 29, 2015, and is cur­rently out on bail.

The trial con­tin­ues.

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