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Ruby Ann Ruffolo loses last appeal of conviction for murdering husband in 2003

Ruby Ann Ruffolo has exhausted her last appeal and will remain in prison for the October 2003 murder of her husband John Ruffolo.
John Ruffolo with his sisters in a family photo.
Ruby Ann Ruffolo has exhausted her last appeal and will remain in prison for the October 2003 murder of her husband John Ruffolo.

In November 2010, Ruffolo was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years. Ruffolo then appealed to the B.C. Court of Appeal but it refused to order a new trial.

This morning, the Supreme Court of Canada denied Ruffolo leave to appeal her case.

In order to appeal a decision of a court of appeal, a convicted person must ask the Supreme Court for permission to do so. Applications for leave to appeal are decided by a panel of three Supreme Court judges.

No reasons were given for dismissing Ruffolo’s application. The Supreme Court grants leave in fewer than 10 per cent of cases. The case has to be of public importance and have a national impact.

Crown prosecutor Scott Van Alstine, who started working on the case in 2005, said Thursday that he’s grateful the case has finally come to an end.

“The wheels of justice ground incredibly slowly, although it wasn’t the fault of the courts or the Crown,” Van Alstine said.

“I’m certainly glad it’s over for the families. Those were the people who experienced the worst emotion. In their eyes, justice was done, although it took so long to get there. Hopefully, the family can put this part to rest, although they’ll always have to deal with the loss of their son.”

John’s mother, Lois Ruffolo, welcomed the decision.

“Wow. Finally,” she said Thursday. “It’s a relief. I cannot imagine going through that nightmare again. So the court finally did the right thing and it’s over. But it’s going to take a while to register. We’ve had this hanging over our heads for nine and a half years, knowing we might have to go through that whole mess again.”

John Ruffolo, 36, was an armoured car driver at Brinks. He was reported missing after he didn’t show up for work on the night of Oct. 19, 2003. Five days later, his body, with puncture wounds in both arms, was found inside an old water culvert off a narrow, serpentine road in Langford.

Six months later, Ruby Ann Ruffolo was charged with first-degree murder.

For five years, there were delays, adjournments and last-minute changes of defence lawyers. Eventually, Ruffolo’s trial began in March 2009.

The court was told that Ruffolo loathed her husband, wanted him dead and became worried that he might cheat her out of investment proceeds after he indicated that he wanted a divorce.

She gave him a sedative and injected him with a fatal dose of heroin. She loaded his body into a car, with his feet hanging out of the window, and left him in a ditch.