British Columbia

Family furious over convicted killer's release

The family of a Vancouver Island man is furious his wife has been released on bail despite being convicted of his murder.

Ruby Ann Ruffolo released pending appeal

The family of a Vancouver Island man is furious his wife has been released on bail despite being convicted of his murder.

In November, Saanich resident Ruby Ann Ruffolo was sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 25 years for the 2003 first-degree murder of her husband, John Ruffalo.

On Friday, six months into her sentence, the 55-year-old was released on $100,000 bail pending her appeal.

"We have been serving seven years to this point. She served six months," said Lois Ruffolo, John's mother. "Where's the justice there? Who's the victim? Who's the criminal?"

During the trial, the court heard how Ruby Ann Ruffolo gave her husband a sedative after he announced he was leaving her. She then injected him with a fatal dose of heroin and dumped his body in a bush.

Mena Ruffolo, John's sister, said the family is shocked Ruby Ann Ruffolo has been released.

"This is a chapter of our life I'd put away," she said.

"It’s deep in our closet. I don't have to worry about it anymore. So receiving that phone call was — you've got to be kidding me. This is not true. There’s something wrong here."

However, the judge who ordered her release said Ruffolo had no prior criminal record, had been out on bail for six years before her murder conviction and meets the criteria for release pending appeal.

Ruffolo's bail conditions include a curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. except for compelling personal, family or employment reasons. She is also barred from holding a passport.

Justice Mary Newbury said the toughest part of her decision was determining whether releasing Ruffolo would undermine faith in the justice system.

Lois Ruffolo, John's mother, said it already has.

"I can assure her that my phones, emails, Facebook — public perception is very negative on her choice and people are outraged," Lois Ruffolo said.

Ruby Ann Ruffolo's appeal hinges on claims the trial judge misunderstood the evidence of several Crown witnesses.

The case became a trial by judge alone after a jury trial resulted in a mistrial.

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