CALGARY — A Calgary judge reserved his decision Tuesday on a sentence for a man who deliberately drove over his wife with a U-Haul van during an argument and left her to die alone on a snow-covered street.
Ronald Candaele was convicted of second-degree murder a year ago in the February 2020 killing of Melissa Rae Blommaert.
Candaele already faces a life sentence but the Crown wants him kept in custody for 18 years before he's eligible for parole due to his long history of domestic violence.
"He was violent. He was unpredictable. He dismissed court orders put in place to separate him and Ms. Blommaert for her safety. The murder of Ms. Blommaert on Feb. 10, 2020, was not an isolated incident," said Crown prosecutor Robert Marquette.
"It was part of a long, terrible cycle of domestic violence which culminated in the offender committing the most heinous offence against Ms. Blommaert, taking her life."
Candaele and his wife had been arguing when she got out of the vehicle in the Bowness neighbourhood of northwest Calgary and her husband got behind the wheel.
As she stormed away, Candaele drove the U-Haul into his wife. After running her over, he turned around and drove past her as she lay dying in the street.
The couple had been evicted from their subsidized housing apartment earlier in the day.
Marquette said Candaele also tried to hide his role in her death. When he was first questioned by police, he denied being with his wife and told officers she was missing, had maybe been kidnapped or committed suicide.
Candaele's lawyer, Kim Ross, said his client should only have to serve the minimum of 10 years before being eligible for parole, saying the murder was not planned.
Ross said it happened at 4:10 a.m. and occurred in less than two minutes. He called the relationship a tumultuous one.
"This was a spontaneous, impulsive situation," Ross said. "Two minutes changed the lives of a great many people."
A victim impact statement from Monique Blommaert, the victim's cousin, was presented in court.
In it, she said she has been suffering from anxiety and depression and worries the victim's two children will eventually find out how she died.
"I still have a hard time believing that she's dead and talk to her as if she's still here," said the cousin. "I still can't believe that she was left to die alone in the street, run over and squished like nothing."
Justice Blair Nixon has set the sentencing date for Aug. 31 and asked Candaele if he wanted to address the court.
"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."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 26, 2022.
Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press