The widow of the Hamilton-area man who was killed after taking two men to test drive his pickup truck is setting up a charity to assist families of homicide victims.
Sharlene Bosma announced the fund as the men charged in her husband’s death appeared in court on Thursday. Dellen Millard and Mark Smich face first-degree-murder charges in the death of Tim Bosma, who disappeared on May 6.
“For the first time in almost three months, I have hope – hope that there will be something good to come of what happened to Tim,” she said in a statement.
Mr. Millard, the 27-year-old heir to his family’s aviation business, appeared in person in a Hamilton courtroom on Thursday morning while Mr. Smich, 25, appeared by video in the afternoon. Their next court date was set for Sept. 12, when a date is to be set for a judicial pretrial.
Deepak Paradkar, Mr. Millard’s lawyer, said his client attended court in person on a judge’s order because of a technicality: Police hadn’t obtained his fingerprints for the murder charge, but rather for an earlier forcible confinement charge, and the Crown wanted to rectify the oversight.
Both men’s lawyers have said they intend to plead not guilty.
Ms. Bosma said she decided to establish a charity to honour her husband’s memory, called Tim’s Tribute, after being overwhelmed by donations to a trust fund set up for her family. Initially, her charity will assist families in the Hamilton area, but she said she hopes to expand its reach.
“I’m fully aware that very few people are recipients of such generosity, and I feel compelled to try to change that,” she said. “I have learned that there is very little support for families in our situation.”
Asked to comment on Ms. Bosma’s plans, a spokesman for the Justice Department said: “Giving victims of crime a more effective voice in the criminal justice and corrections systems continues to be a priority for the Government.”
Spokesman Andrew Gowing also said in an e-mail that the federal government has allocated more than $120-million since 2006 to improve the roles of victims and their families, including through grants to community organizations. However, Ottawa only provides direct funding to victims to attend National Parole Board hearings and through emergency assistance for Canadians victimized abroad.
Ms. Bosma’s fund will help homicide victims’ families cover immediate costs, such as groceries or funerals, as well as expenses to attend court proceedings. Initially, it will be managed by Christian Stewardship Services, a registered charity. Ms. Bosma said she made the first donation with money donated to her trust fund. More information about the fund can be found on its web site, www.timstribute.ca.
Mr. Bosma, a 32-year-old father, went missing after taking two men who had arrived at his home in Ancaster, Ont., to test drive his 2007 Dodge Ram pickup truck. His badly burned remains were found at Mr. Millard’s rural property outside Kitchener. Police seized a portable livestock incinerator from the property.
Mr. Millard is under investigation for the disappearance of his friend Laura Babcock last summer and the death of his father in November. Wayne Millard’s death was originally deemed a suicide, but police are re-investigating. No charges have been laid in either case.
Constable Victor Kwong, a spokesman for Toronto Police, said on Thursday that the investigation into both cases is ongoing.