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

Chilliwack boy drops puck at Canucks fight cancer game

Carter Johnston, 11, fighting osteosarcoma and has a growing, prosthetic leg

Fundraiser supports Davidson family, legacy fund announced

Support continues in honour of fallen Abbotsford Police officer

VIDEO: Sto:lo interpretive centre in Chilliwack opens with celebration

Beautiful new space and info panels on Coqualeetza grounds created with Canada 150 grant

Chilliwack’s crime rate the worst in the region

Overall and property crime rates are highest while per capita funding is the lowest

100,000 bulbs shine bright for Lights of Hope

St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver launched its annual campaign to raise funds for equipment, research

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Nasty note on B.C. windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Federal funding to combat guns, gangs and opioid crisis

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said illicit drugs are often main cause of guns, gangs violence

Riverview youth mental health centre proceeds

Replacement for Maples Treatment Centre first announced in March

Dead boy’s father posts Facebook response after Appeal Court upholds conviction

David, Collet Stephan were found guilty in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis

Trudeau mania, Scheer enthusiasm in B.C. this week

Prime minister, Conservative leader drop in on Surrey, White Rock

Most Read