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Kelowna man accused of killing passed out roommate with a hammer in 2015

The body of Warren Welters, 51, was found in this house on Bernard Ave. June 14, 2015. His roommate Daniel Ruff is charged with second degree murder and appeared in Kelowna court today, Oct. 2, 2017.
October 02, 2017 - 6:30 PM

KELOWNA – Daniel Ruff killed his roommate with a hammer in June 2015 because they didn’t get along and tempers flared at a barbecue at the Bernard Avenue home they shared, a prosecutor said in opening statements at his trial today.

Daniel Ruff, born in 1952, is charged with second degree murder for allegedly striking in the head four times an unconscious Warren Welters the evening of June 14, 2015.

First responders would find Welter’s body lying face down in his bed in a pool of his own blood. Medical records show he died of blunt force trauma to the head consistent with hammer strikes.

During opening statements before a jury of seven women and five men today, Oct. 2, Crown lawyer Colin Forsyth said he plans to call roughly 30 witnesses ranging from first responders and police to guests at the party and even a friend of Ruff who told police Ruff confessed to the killing immediately after.

“Ruff shared the upstairs suite with the deceased. They were roommates,” he said. “As roommates, however, they didn’t get along and they would frequently fight.”

According to Forsyth, Ruff, Welters and several others were at their Bernard Avenue house for most of June 14.

Forsyth said the incident ignited when Welters came downstairs in “a state of advanced intoxication” and made an insulting comment about one of the female party guests.

Welters returned to his room upstairs and went to sleep. 

Most of the guests left the house while Ruff was at a grocery store buying meat for the barbecue.

He arrived home around 8 p.m., and, according to Crown, got a hammer, went upstairs where Welters was either asleep or passed out, and hit him four times in the back of his head.

Welters was 51 years old. A friend and co-worker called him a generous and caring man who loved nature and loved to talk.

Warren Welters loved gardening, cars, nature and sports.
Warren Welters loved gardening, cars, nature and sports.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

“(Ruff) made efforts to clean the hammer of blood, he also made efforts to clean himself," Forsyth said. "He changed the shirt he was wearing that had blood splattered on it. He didn’t change his shorts or sandals.

Forsyth said “much alcohol was consumed” at the party and Welters had alcohol and cocaine in his blood when he died. Forsyth plans to show video evidence of Ruff allegedly purchasing alcohol three times that day prior to the killing.

He said a pathologist will testify that Welters died of blunt force trauma consistent with wounds caused by a hammer found at the scene.

A key witness is likely to be a friend of Ruff and Welters who was at the barbecue and was in the house when Welters died. Ruff allegedly confessed to killing him before calling and lying to 911.

“I just got home and it seems my roommate’s dead, I think he’s been attacked,” he said on a recording played for the jury. “I’m pretty sure he’s dead.”

“Is he awake?” dispatch asks.

“No, he’s dead. I just got home, his head's split open.”

Dispatch asks how he knows he is dead.

“There is blood splattered all over his room. He’s dead, he’s not breathing.”

When asked if the body was cold to the touch, Ruff said it “probably just happened a half hour ago, maybe two hours ago.”

“He’s dead do you understand that? He is beyond help.”

The trial will continue for at least two more weeks. 


To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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