Warning: This story contains details that some may find disturbing.
The offer of a cigarette was the final act of kindness by security guard Mario Ruffolo just before he was savagely beaten to death outside Guelph Central Station last January.
On Wednesday the man who killed him was found not criminally responsible for the murder.
Jordan Langelier appeared in Ontario Superior Court in Guelph shortly after 2:30 p.m. to stand trial on a charge of second-degree murder in the Jan. 15 killing of Ruffolo, a 63-year-old security guard part way through a four-hour shift at the train station on Carden Street the night of his death.
At the conclusion of the approximately 90 minute trial, Justice Bruce Durno called the situation tragic for Ruffolo’s family, friends and the community at large.
In his ruling, Durno agreed with the Crown and defence that Langelier committed the act of second-degree murder but was not criminally responsible for the act
Immediately after sentencing, Langelier, who was 21 at the time of his arrest, was returned to St. Joseph’s Health Care Hamilton’s forensic psychiatry program.
It will be up to the Ontario Review Board to determine the length of Langelier’s stay at St. Joseph’s, assessed on an annual basis, as it does with all people in the province deemed to be not criminally responsible for a crime.
Langelier pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and opted for trial by judge alone. He appeared in person Wednesday in a grey hooded sweatshirt and dark grey sweatpants.
After the plea of not guilty was entered, Crown attorney Judith MacDonald read out an agreed statement of facts prepared with the cooperation of the accused’s defence team.
According to the agreed statement of facts, on the night he was killed Ruffolo was working an 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. shift at the Guelph Central Station.
Early in that shift he had several verbal interactions with Langelier which were caught on surveillance video. In one instance the accused was seen punching at the air.
Later, at about 8:40 p.m., Ruffolo was seen on video taking a cigarette break at the southwest corner of the building. Langelier was seen on video exiting the front of the station and walking around the building toward the victim.
The two men ended up facing each other and were seen speaking for about 10 seconds, after which Ruffolo reached into his pocket to retrieve a bag of cigarettes, offering one to the accused.
As he reached out with the cigarette, Langelier was seen on video punching Ruffolo, who fell to the pavement, apparently unconscious.
Langelier then got on top of Ruffolo and was seen punching him repeatedly in the head up to 20 times. He then switched hands and punched the victim an additional eight to 10 times.
The accused was then seen picking up the bag of cigarettes and proceeded to stomp on the head of Ruffolo, followed by multiple kicks. Langelier was seen walking away briefly, only to return to stomp on the motionless victim again.
Langelier was then seen on video walking toward the rear entrance to the station, turning and then taking a run toward the victim, landing on him with both feet. He then bent over and removed items from the pockets of Ruffolo, throwing items on the ground, including the victim’s cell phone.
A witness to the attack called 911 from her seat in the window at the nearby Cornerstone coffee shop.
Langelier walked away once more and returned to go through Ruffolo’s pockets again and placing a napkin on the victim’s face.
Police arrived at the scene shortly after and one officer found Ruffolo on the ground.
At this point in her addressing the court, MacDonald’s voice broke as she continued to speak.
She said officers attempted to assist by performing CPR. With no vital signs, Ruffolo was taken to Guelph General Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 9:33 p.m.
Regaining composure, MacDonald continued.
She said multiple officers then attended the scene and located Langelier a short distance away, initially charging the man with aggravated assault. The charges were later upgraded to second-degree murder.
At the police station that night, Langelier spoke to a lawyer and made statements that MacDonald said made no sense, were delusional and psychotic. He told police he heard the voice of Jesus and believed the victim, who he did not know, was a pedophile and ‘trying to kill God.’
Officers from the police forensic unit were able to match DNA from Ruffolo on the clothing of Langelier.
Langelier was initially held at Maplehurst Correctional Complex, where it was determined he had an unspecified psychotic disorder, a methamphetamine use disorder and a cannabis use disorder.
While awaiting trial, Langelier was assessed by psychiatrist Dr. John Bradford, who said in a report submitted as evidence that the accused, because of psychosis, was unable to know right from wrong or to make a rational choice whether or not to commit the act.
Bradford went on to say in the report that the accused meets the threshold for someone not criminally responsible.
After being assessed, Langelier was initially found unfit to stand trial, but in April was found fit to stand trial.
Langelier’s defence offered no evidence and opted to not call any witnesses. The Crown agreed the evidence supported a charge of second-degree murder and that Langelier was not criminally responsible at the time of the murder.
Ruffolo’s family declined an opportunity to provide victim impact statements prior to sentencing, but may do so at a disposition hearing in front of the Ontario Review Board at a later time.
“They are certainly devastated by the loss of their family member,” said MacDonald.
On Wednesday, the courtroom gallery was limited to 12 people due to COVID-19 restrictions, but a second court room was opened up as a possible overflow room with a link by video.
Five supporters of Langelier sat together in the gallery behind the accused, with two relatives of the victim sitting on the other side. Two members of the media were also in the gallery at the time of the hearing, as well as a police investigator.
Langelier’s supporters declined an opportunity to speak to media after the sentencing.
Langelier will be subject to a lifelong weapons ban and must submit to his DNA being collected and added to a national database.
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