The jury reached a verdict on the fifth day of deliberations in the high-profile murder trial of two men accused of the murder of 32-year-old Hamilton man Tim Bosma.
Dellen Millard, 30, of Toronto and Mark Smich, 28, of Oakville, were found guilty of first degree murder just after 3 p.m. Friday
Mr. Bosma vanished on May 6, 2013, after taking prospective buyers Mr. Smich and Mr. Millard on a test drive in a Dodge Ram truck he was selling.
Charred human remains, believed to be those of Mr. Bosma, were discovered in a livestock incinerator on a southwestern Ontario farm belonging to Mr. Millard eight days later.
Here were some of the most dramatic moments from the trial itself.
Sharlene Bosma’s testimony
Mr. Bosma’s widow was the first witness to take the stand when the trial began in Hamilton this February. She recalled discussing the test drive with her husband, who had advertised the truck for sale online. He received interest from a man in Toronto, who wanted to see the truck on May 4.
"He said 'when they come, should I go with them?’ I said 'yes, you should, because we want the truck to come back."' she told the court, overcome with tears.
Soon after seeing two men on her driveway and getting into the driver’s seat and back of the truck, Ms. Bosma watched it pull out of the driveway and head north. Ms. Bosma said he left for the test drive with a big smile, telling her he would be right back.
She never saw her husband again.
After repeated calls and texts to her husband’s phone went unanswered, she called friends and family members to look out for him, eventually calling the police.
Her moving testimony painted a portrait of a loving husband, and a doting father to their now-five-year-old daughter. It stood in stark contrast to the terrifying details of his last known living moments, which sixteen weeks of court proceedings had yet to reveal.
Video evidence from the trial
A few clips of security footage were crucial to investigators, as they outlined the timeline of events on the night that Mr. Bosma disappeared. Family members and friends wept as this video evidence was presented in court, the last visual clues of what might have transpired that night.
One video from a business next to Mr. Millard’s family-owned hangar, shot shortly after midnight on May 7, shows a truck pulling a trailer being followed closely by an SUV.
Soon after, at 1:13 a.m., another clip of footage was taken, this time from inside the hangar itself. It showed two men walking from the right to the left of the screen. This particular clip had been recovered from a DVR seized from the home of Christina Noudga, Millard’s girlfriend at the time, who was also charged with accessory after the fact to murder.
All parties in the case agreed that Mr. Bosma’s body was burned at the hangar, part of the Region of Waterloo International Airport, while the incinerator was later moved to Mr. Millard’s farm property on North Dumfries.
At 1:44 a.m., the security camera from the nearby business captured what seemed like The Eliminator bolted on to a trailer. A brief, bright light emerges from the blurry shape, believed to be the fire that incinerated Mr. Bosma’s remains.
Mark Smich testimony
Unlike his co-accused, Mr. Smich elected to take the stand in his own defence to relate his own version of the events that occurred the night Mr. Bosma died.
Mr. Smich testified that it was his friend and co-accused, Dellen Millard, who fatally shot Mr. Bosma and burned his body in an animal incinerator, dubbed The Eliminator.
“He looked mad, like a lunatic, like something came over him,” he said of Mr. Millard as he got out of the truck during their test drive.
Mr. Smich said he saw Mr. Bosma’s body slumped over the dash of his truck and a bullet hole through the window. “There was a lot of blood,” he told the jury.
He said the two friends had been working on stealing a truck for a year, and Millard gave him $200 and some marijuana after stealing Mr. Bosma’s truck. Mr. Smich also testified that Millard had also promised him one of his cars — a restored Cadillac — for work he’d done on Millard’s various properties. But Mr. Millard’s lawyer, Nadir Sachak, suggested the Cadillac would be payment for the theft of a truck.
The dramatic testimony was met with a great deal of scrutiny and cross-questioning by Mr. Millard’s lawyer, to which Mr. Smich reacted with much hostility. He also admitted that he had buried the murder weapon, with no recollection of where.
Mr. Millard did not testify, but Mr. Sachak told court that Mr. Smich accidentally shot Mr. Bosma on a nearby highway in an attempt to steal his truck, a charge denied by the accused.
Testimony of Marlena Meneses
Mr. Smich’s former girlfriend also took the stand during trial, testifying that he told her it was Mr. Millard who shot and killed Mr. Bosma.
As one of the Crown’s star witnesses, Ms. Meneses testified that she overheard Mr. Smich and Mr. Millard talking about stealing a truck in the days before Mr. Bosma disappeared, and said she tried to discourage her boyfriend from going through with the theft.
“I said some things to try to change his mind,” Ms. Meneses said. “But he didn’t listen to me.”
Her testimony shed much more light on the relationship between the two co-accused, whom she described as close, like brothers. “Mark cared for Dellen more than any other person,” she said. “He was in love with him.”
She said she spoke to Mr. Smich on the phone around 9 p.m. on May 6, 2013, the same time court heard that Mr. Bosma left his home for the test drive. Mr. Smich told her he couldn’t talk because he was driving, an unusual reference as Ms. Meneses said he didn’t have a driving license. “I was very scared,” she said. “I knew that they were going to go steal a truck. I didn’t know if he got hurt or what was going on.”
She told court the two co-accused picked her up the morning after the event, nearly three years ago. “They were just really happy, saying they wanted to celebrate,” Meneses told court.
Ms. Meneses also described being arrested alongside Mr. Smich on May 22, 2013, saying he was “emotional, yelling and screaming, telling me not to say anything” about what he’d told her about that night.
What the jury didn’t hear
Justice Andrew Goodman deemed much material inadmissible at trial, typically to protect the rights of the accused at this trial or the next. Some of it was revealed when the jury was sequestered, but many key elements remain under a publication ban.
Some of the facts that were not presented to the jury included evidence that Millard hinted he was planning a shooting when he bought a black-market handgun before the murder. There were more than 26,000 text messages retrieved from his phone.
In an even more bizarre piece of evidence, Ms. Meneses told police when she was interviewed in 2013 that Mr. Millard had asked her to smuggle bullets from the U.S. into Canada in a pregnancy suit. Justice Goodman would not allow questions to be asked of this scheme in front of the jury.
Justice Goodman also forbade any mention of steroids, heroin, cocaine, needles or other illicit drugs, all of which were part of the uncovered evidence from both co-accused.
Mr. Millard and Mr. Smich are also charged with first-degree murder in the death of Mr. Millard’s friend Laura Babcock, who disappeared in July, 2012. Due to the nature of that trial, expected later this year, some of what was presented as evidence in court has been placed under a publication ban. More yet was deemed inadmissible.
The name Laura Babcock was strictly forbidden from being mentioned within earshot of jurors, and references to Mr. Millard’s father were carefully controlled. Mr. Millard also faces a first-degree murder charge in connection with the shooting of his 71-year-old father Wayne Millard in November, 2012. His death was previously ruled a suicide.
With files from Canadian PressReport Typo/Error
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