'Heinous offence': Man who ran over wife to serve 16 years before parole eligibility

·2 min read

CALGARY — A Calgary man who deliberately drove over his wife with a van during an argument and left her to die alone on a snow-covered street will not be eligible for parole until he has served 16 years of his life sentence, an Alberta judge ruled Wednesday.

Ronald Candaele was convicted last year of second-degree murder in the February 2020 killing of Melissa Rae Blommaert.

Court heard Candaele and Blommaert had been arguing when she got out of the vehicle in the Bowness neighbourhood of northwest Calgary. As Blommaert stormed away, Candaele drove the U-Haul into her, ran her over and turned around.

Court heard that Candaele drove past her as she lay dying.

"He left her on the street when her time of need was greatest. A number of witnesses testified that on first glance they believed the body was a bag of trash," Justice Blair Nixon said in his sentencing decision.

"Tragically, I find Mr. Candaele left Ms. Blommaert dying in the middle of the street, in the middle of the night, in the dead of winter, like a bag of garbage."

Nixon said Candaele subjected his wife to a long history of domestic abuse.

"The murder of Ms. Blommaert ... was not an isolated event," the judge said. "It was part of a long, tragic cycle of domestic violence, which culminated in Mr. Candaele committing the most heinous offence against Ms. Blommaert."

The couple had been evicted from a subsidized housing apartment earlier in the day.

Court heard that Candaele also tried to hide his role in the killing. When he was first questioned by police, he denied being with Blommaert and told officers she was missing, had maybe been kidnapped or killed herself.

The judge said it was also concerning that Blommaert was a vulnerable person, having become homeless, and Candaele lacked remorse.

During the sentencing hearing, Candaele maintained it was an accident.

"I'm sorry about the things that have happened. It was out of my control. I never seen her. She wasn't in front of me at any moment in time,'' Candaele sobbed.

"I'm a truthful person, sir, but I never seen her. I feel like this isn't right. I maintain my innocence and I know God knows the truth. So does Melissa. So do I. I love her with all my heart and I always will."

Nixon said it was important to have a sentence of denunciation, because Candaele poses a risk to the public and any future partner.

"He was violent. He was unpredictable. He dismissed the court orders put in place to separate him and Ms. Blommaert for her safety," Nixon said.

"Wife homicide is an extreme form of domestic violence and a reprehensible abuse of power and control by a man. Mr. Candaele has a history of terrorizing Ms. Blommaert."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 31, 2022.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press