A connection between the two men arrested in the death of Tim Bosma has emerged with the discovery of a photograph of the pair together beside a blue car.
In the photo posted on a social-media website, Dellen Millard, 27, who was arrested on May 12, appears to be getting into the driver’s seat of a late 1960s or early 1970s Chevrolet, while Mark Smich, 25, who was arrested on Wednesday, stands nearby on the driveway of Mr. Smich’s home in Oakville, a town 30 minutes west of Toronto.
Not much is known about how Mr. Millard – heir to a successful airline company in the Waterloo Region – and Mr. Smich are connected beyond the fact that each is charged with first-degree murder in Mr. Bosma’s death. However, several of Mr. Smich’s neighbours confirmed on Thursday that he is one of the men in the photo, and some said they had seen the other man, Mr. Millard, visit the house owned by the Smich family on the corner of Montrose Abbey Drive and Old Abbey Line in Oakville.
Most of Mr. Smich’s neighbours said they did not recognize the car in the photo.
On Thursday morning, Mr. Smich was formally charged with first-degree murder in a Hamilton courtroom. Police say Mr. Smich and Mr. Millard are the two men who drove off with Mr. Bosma, a 32-year-old father from Ancaster, Ont., on May 6 to test drive the black 2007 Dodge Ram he had advertised for sale online. Mr. Bosma’s badly burned remains were found a week later on a rural property near Kitchener, Ont.
The residents of Montrose Abbey Drive, a small court in Oakville’s Glen Abbey neighbourhood, were shocked to hear that Mr. Smich was accused of murder. A forensics team spent most of Wednesday searching the house where Mr. Smich lived with his mother, and the ravine behind it. Mr. Smich’s neighbours said he and his mother mostly kept to themselves, and that two daughters, both older than Mr. Smich, previously lived in the house. According to residents of the street, Mr. Smich was frequently seen in front of his house with a group of men in their mid-to-late 20s.
Mr. Smich is featured as an actor in a graphic rap video posted online last fall titled Ghozted, which portrays a gruesome torture and murder scene. He is thanked in the video as “SAY10 aka Mark.S.” A man named James Crockett on Thursday responded to an e-mail sent to Dolo Productions, which produced the video. He said the “offensive/fake” video was shot “for art” for Halloween last year, and another user put it online, prompting Mr. Crockett to take it down.
He confirmed that it is Mr. Smich in the video, and described him as “the type of guy who stayed home to take care of his sick mother and dogs,” and who “always helped out whoever he could.”
Mr. Crockett said on his YouTube account that he was the man who was tied up and being tortured in the video, and the video was his own idea.
Mr. Crockett said he stands behind his friends, and added that he has not seen Mr. Smich in three months.
Pictures from Facebook circulated on social-media sites this week showed Mr. Smich attending his sister’s wedding last weekend at Bayview Golf and Country Club in Thornhill, Ont., just a few days before his arrest.
The photos show him posing for pictures as part of the wedding party with the bride and bridegroom. Mr. Smich’s sister, Melissa, is travelling on her honeymoon, and could not be reached for comment.
After Mr. Smich’s court date on Thursday morning, his lawyer, Thomas Dungey, said his client will plead not guilty to first-degree murder. Mr. Dungey did not take questions from the media, but made a brief statement saying he would be defending the case “vigorously.”
Mr. Smich, tall and thin, appeared in court with a shaved head and wearing a baggy brown t-shirt and black pants, keeping his head down for most of the hearing. Mr. Smich will be kept in custody until his next court appearance, which is scheduled for June 13, the same day as Mr. Millard’s next appearance.