Wayne Belleville still can’t escape the nightmare after receiving a Christmas card letter from the man who shot him in the back three years ago.
The furniture maker is shaking his head at the justice system again, trying to figure out how Ronald Teneycke was permitted to send him a letter when he’s not allowed to have any contact via court order. (Teneycke was labeled a dangerous offender and sentenced to an indefinite jail term following his rampage in Oliver in 2015 when he shot Belleville in the back.)
Just when he was putting all of that behind him, Belleville received a letter in the form of a Christmas card from Teneycke who is serving his time in federal prison in Agassiz.
“My initial reaction was . . . I was pretty upset about it. Because no matter what’s written in there, to me the underlying message is A, I’m thinking about you, and B, I know where you live.”
Belleville vividly recalls that day on July 22 when he picked up Teneycke on a back road near Oliver. He didn’t realize he picked up a prolific offender that police were looking for until it was too late. He grabbed the keys and bolted from the truck, but was shot in the back. As Belleville lay there, Teneycke raised the rifle again but was distracted by an oncoming vehicle. He then fled the scene in the truck and left Belleville there on the side of the road. He was later rushed to hospital with a ruptured spleen.
• Read more: Parents to fear again when Teneycke released
Belleville referred to the letter as troubling and disturbing, so he called the police who forwarded charge recommendations to the Crown.
In the letter, Teneycke wishes Belleville a merry Christmas and invites him to visit at Kent prison, giving him detailed instructions on how to get there.
The offender writes he will always be disappointed in himself for shooting Belleville, but then later expresses no empathy for him.
Belleville said the Crown is proceeding with charges against Teneycke for disobeying a court order.
Belleville said the Crown prosecutor is disturbed that Teneycke was permitted to mail that letter in the first place. Before calling the police, Belleville called the prison for an explanation.
“I got a call back from a gentleman and he was very profuse in his apologies and he assured me it would never happen again.”
But Belleville said the apology doesn’t carry much weight.
• Read more: Prosecutors trying to throw away key on Teneycke
The Chronicle contacted Correctional Services Canada and is waiting for comment.
Referring back to the letter, Belleville said Teneycke suggests that he has evidence that
Belleville could use in a lawsuit against police.
Belleville said the only problem he has with police is they never followed up with him.
“You’d think there would be like a review, like, how did we do? Did we make any mistakes here? Did we learn from this situation?”
(Belleville believes the RCMP could have done a much better job in warning the public about Teneycke’s presence in the South Okanagan during his crime spree.)
“I think they did a terrible job . . . they were looking out after their own interests and their own safety rather than the interest and safety of the community at large.”
Belleville said Teneycke’s letter starts out as (almost) an apology, but then gets caught up in seeing himself as a victim with no remorse for what he did.
“If he ever does come up for parole, I will be pointing at that and say, listen, he’s had three years to think about this, and he says he has ‘no empathy’ for shooting someone in the back.”
Belleville said despite the indefinite jail term, Teneycke is still eligible for parole.
But he quoted the judge who said this offender is beyond redemption.
“There’s no possibility that this guy can ever function normally . . . the only place he can function normally is in the structured environment of federal penitentiary,” Belleville said.
He noted that Teneycke still blames him for trying to escape that day, and refers himself as a nice guy when he’s straight.
• Read more: Victim hoping Teneycke jailed indefinitely
Belleville reiterated his surprise that Teneycke was allowed to mail the letter.
“He’s a dangerous offender. He’s in a maximum security facility and yet he’s still able to commit a criminal act right under your nose? How is that possible?”
(After Teneycke robbed East Side Grocery in Oliver that summer in 2015, he mailed a letter to the owner while he was in a provincial jail.)
Belleville believes that offenders’ mail should be checked to ensure there is no possibility of contact with their victims.