The body was never found, nor was any weapon, but after two days of deliberation, a jury has convicted Timothy Culham of murdering eccentric antiques hoarder Hugh Sinclair.
The tall, wire-thin Mr. Culham, 29, showed no sign of emotion when the jury found him guilty of first-degree murder.
Although Mr. Sinclair was a bit of a loner, his family said they kept in touch with him in Toronto by telephone. Neighbours told the court of his regimented daily routine, his chatty demeanour and his strange disappearance in early July 1999 -- which Mr. Culham, his companion and fellow antiques enthusiast, explained away as simply a holiday. Mr. Culham was staying with Mr. Sinclair at the time.
Mr. Sinclair's family, who were in the courtroom for the verdict yesterday, said Mr. Culham's lack of remorse was chilling. "From what we saw, it was just a big joke to him," Robin Sinclair, Hugh's younger brother, said.
What the Sinclair family wants most is to know where Hugh Sinclair's body is, so they can bury him. "There's been no indication of what happened to my brother," David Sinclair said, adding that Mr. Culham has nothing to lose by revealing the location.
The defence team did not call any witnesses or present any evidence during the trial, and Mr. Culham chose to stay silent throughout the proceedings.
Most of the evidence at the trial was indirect because of the lack of a corpse or a murder weapon. Finding Mr. Sinclair's DNA in the trunk of a car that Mr. Culham rented was a key break in the case, Detective Rudy Pasini said yesterday.
Det. Pasini told reporters outside the courthouse yesterday that police knew the body was taken away in a car from the Manulife Centre in Toronto, where Mr. Sinclair lived. After calling every rental agency in the city, the police had no leads, until an officer spotted an advertisement for Cheap Wheels 4 Rent. When police asked about Mr. Culham, the staff knew him.
"He brought back a horrible-smelling car," Det. Pasini said the staff told him. "That was the start of it."
The prosecution told the jury that Mr. Culham killed Mr. Sinclair so he could sell the elderly man's antiques to pay off his debt at antique shops and an auction house and to fund his gambling addiction. Mr. Sinclair's DNA was found in the rented car, on a gasoline tank and in smears of blood in Mr. Sinclair's kitchen. The prosecution contends Mr. Sinclair was killed on July 7 and moved five days later.