Suspect charged after years of investigating Calgary musician’s death

Years of investigating lead to murder charge

CALGARY — Police have charged a man after three homicide investigations over 16 years into the death of an amateur musician who was allegedly targeted for financial reasons.

Paul Hepher, a 50-year-old man who led a relatively quiet life, was found dead in the basement suite of a northwest Calgary home in March 2001. An autopsy later confirmed he had been shot.

Tests on evidence obtained in early 2014 confirmed a match to some forensic evidence left at the scene, but police couldn’t find a suspect they were seeking.

After 22 months of searching, a person was located in Sherwood Park near Edmonton, and the last of the three homicide probes was launched.

“In any investigation, there’s very little that works in favour of the police,” said Insp. Don Coleman of the Calgary Police Service major crimes unit.

“They’re very arduous, very intense and long investigations and there’s lots to do. In this case there were over a dozen suspects worked on, confirmed and eliminated, so it takes time.”

Terrance Lane Wardale, 61, was arrested and charged Thursday with second-degree murder. He made a brief court appearance via video Tuesday and the case was put over to May 4.

Police say Wardale and Hepher knew each other and described them as “acquaintances … loose associates.” Coleman said Wardale hadn’t previously been on the police radar.

“I believe he led a relatively low-profile, quiet life as well.”

Coleman said the charges bring some satisfaction for officers involved in the investigation the last 16 years.

“That satisfaction for investigators comes from being able to provide closure to the families. In this case, Mr. Hepher’s family, for 16 years, didn’t know what happened,” said Coleman.

“I believe investigators have spoken to the victim’s brother, who is the lone living relative, and he has taken a lot of comfort in the fact that his brother’s murder could be successfully concluded.”

— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Peanut Butter Campaign supports local food banks

Both Save On Foods in Fernie and Overwaitea in Sparwood participated in… Continue reading

VIDEO: Explorers uncover Canada’s deepest cave in Fernie

The cave, named Bisaro Anima, was confirmed to have broken the record on New Year’s Day

New Glade ferry enters testing phase

The Glade II will be able to carry heavier loads and will emit less greenhouse gases.

Freezing rain warning in effect for B.C. Southern Interior

Environment Canada issued the freezing rain warning for most of the Southern Interior Tuesday morning

Rumble In The Rockies brings live boxing back to Fernie

Local boxer, Dylan Mitchell takes first career win at home

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

B.C. commuters vote to rename bus service to ‘Jeff’

The company asked and the people of Facebook answered

New Denver emergency ward to remain 24/7

Interior Health says it’s postponing changes to operating hours.

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Students on the Kelowna campus were unaware of resources and worried about lack of communication

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

‘Sing Me a Song’ about B.C. for a chance at $1,000 contest prize

Entries due by March 30 for lieutenant-governor’s British Columbia-themed competition

Most Read