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KAWARTHA LAKES-Heeley Rae Balanga “died brutally” of blunt force trauma and was found with ligature marks on her body according to Lindsay Crown Attorney, David Boulet.
The statement was part of Boulet’s opening arguments in the murder of 35-year-old Heeley Rae Balanga.
On May 29th, 2018 officers from the City of Kawartha Lakes OPP responded to a fire on Aino Beach Road in Little Britain, where fire crews had found a deceased woman at the residence. She was later identified as 35-year-old, Heeley Rae Balanga.
47-year-old Ross Dion was charged with first-degree murder and arson-disregard for human life on June 2, 2018.
In his opening statement, the Crown outlined some of the evidence he planned to present in the case.
Boulet alleged that at the time of the murder Balanga was seriously questioning her relationship with Dion and the evidence suggests there was tension between them. According to Boulet, Balanga had been in a plane crash when she was young and had been prescribed painkillers. Over time she became addicted and would get opioids off the street to relieve her pain according to the Crown. He said Dion and Balanga would do drugs together. Boulet said Balanga wanted children and decided to go to rehab before becoming pregnant. She had been accepted into a program. It became evident at this point that their lives were headed in different directions, Boulet alleged.
Balanga’s body was found after the fire department was called to the home on Aino Beach Road in Little Britain. Boulet says the fire was deliberately set and the autopsy will show that Balanga did not die in the fire, she died of blunt force trauma. A baseball bat was found at the scene along with a bloody t-shirt and jeans belonging to Balanga which had Dions DNA on them according to the statement.
“Heeley did not survive this relationship,” Boulet said as he ended his closing statement.
The first witness was Balanga’s mother Sunny. Through tears, Sunny said “It’s hard for me to talk about her in the past tense. She was my life, we were very close.”
Sunny explained that her daughter skipped grade 8 and went into the International Baccalaureate program in highschool. She loved languages and spoke English, French, Hebrew and Spanish. She was a snowboarding instructor and that is where she met her husband Rammie. They were together for five years and remained close after they separated. When they broke up, Balanga met Ross Dion.
Boulet told the jury in his opening statements that Sunny was not fond of Dion. So much so that she called in a loan in order to stop her daughter from buying a home with him. It didn’t work according to Boulet and they bought the home anyway.
Dion has pleaded not guilty and is out on bail. He is represented by Stephen Proudlove and Krystal Manitius from Oshawa.
Day two of the testimony resumes tomorrow. The trial is expected to take five weeks.