‘Pig pen’ bedroom at Mark Smich’s mother’s house

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Taken during search of home of defendant Mark Smich on May 22, 2013

This photo was part of exhibits presented today at the trial of Mark Smich and Dellen Millard for the murder of Tim Bosma.

After Smich was arrested, his mother’s house, where he lived part of his time, was searched. The officer responsible for carrying out the search of this and one other bedroom described it as a “pig pen.”

The defendants are pleading not guilty. The trial is in its fifth week. More photos follow.

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The rest of the house was described as tidy
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The iPad was seized
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The iPad was not password protected so officers could read messages
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Smich’s healthcare card was also found and seized

Police surveillance photo of Mark Smich with GF, Marlena Meneses

Hamilton police took this photo of Mark Smich with his girlfriend Marlena Meneses on May 14, 2013
Hamilton police took this photo of Mark Smich with his girlfriend Marlena Meneses in Oakville on May 14, 2013

The photo was put into evidence today at the trial of Smich and Dellen Millard for the first degree murder of Tim Bosma.

Both Smich and Meneses were arrested on May 22, 2013. According to the officer in charge of the surveillance team, Smich yelled repeatedly at his girlfriend, “Don’t tell them anything, Babe.”

Smich and Millard are pleading not guilty. Meneses has never faced charges relating to the murder.

Dispatches from the Tim Bosma trial: Day 5

At trial, Igor Tumanenko drew the “Ambition” tattoo he spotted on the tall guy who came to test drive his truck

Picking up from last Thursday:

Igor Tumanenko is back, still in jeans and trainers but with a new long-sleeved t-shirt, this one from Roots.

Nadir Sachak, one of Dellen Millard’s lawyers, who always starts off friendly, asks: “How was your weekend?

“Busy,” says Igor.

I get the feeling he’s given some thought to his testimony over his days off.

Asked about his police statement, he says, “I did my best, probably I forgot some. It’s unusual for me to see two police detectives… my stomach got frozen.”

His broader point is just because he didn’t include every single detail in his original statement, it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

He concedes, though, that to say the the tall guy was moving in his seat like a mouse “maybe is too much.”

After Sachak cuts him off, Igor asks, “Can i just say something?”

“No,” the lawyer says. “He didn’t move like a mouse and that was an exaggeration when you communicated it to the jury. Fair?”

“Fair. I said it was a kind of a pause.”

A few questions later, the Ambition tattoo comes up.

“I don’t remember the conversation” about the tattoo, Igor says

“Do you recall him showing you his wrist?”

“You need to understand where I come from. Tattoo language in my country is criminal language,” says Igor. You would no more ask someone about a tattoo than their underwear.

In certain neighbourhoods, he adds, you get killed for an ambition tattoo.

Sachak asks him to draw the tattoo as he remembers it. He writes Ambition, capital A, the rest lower case, with a rectangle around it.

“You’ve got a rectangle around the word ambition. It’s what you saw, right?

“What I think I saw,” Igor answers.

Sachak asks about other tattoos but Igor says he didn’t pay much attention to them.

Mark Smich’s lawyer Tom Dungey takes over. He asks Igor about a comment he made Friday about how snatches of the test drive came back to him in a flash — how he said the tall guy turned so quickly, after the Israeli army comment, that Igor thought he must have a pain in his neck.

He suggests to Igor that these scenes became clear as a result of being in court and reading over his police statement. Igor agrees.

Dungey asks if the taller guy tried to bargain when Igor said he would take his truck to a dealer if he couldn’t find a buyer. “Someone normally, when they buy a used truck they’re going to to bargain with you?”

“No bargaining at all,” says Igor.

Dungey wraps up. And Igor is done.

Tony Diciano is the next witness, with an Italian as opposed to a Russian accent. Tall and white haired, he’s run an auto body shop for 38 years. He’s known Dellen Millard for 7-10 years and met him through his uncle, Robert Burns.

“You see him,” says prosecutor Brett Moodie. “He gave you a wave.”

He asks the witness to tell him about a call he received from Millard.

He wanted to have a pickup truck painted from black to red, says Diciano.

“Had there ever been a similar request to change colour of truck from one to another?”

“No… that was first time.”

“He wanted it by Friday. I said ‘I’ll probably need (to) Sunday’ … He wanted it in a rush. He wanted it done right away.”

“Was that usual?”

“No, that is first time.”

Moodie asks for more details.

“I spoke to him personally about the truck. The next day he left a message with the manager of the shop, he’s not going to bring the truck in any more.”

“Apart from the idea of changing it from black to red, what discussion did you have about interior?”

He said, “Well I stripped it down, but we’ll leave it black.”

On cross examination, Pillay establishes the paint job was booked on Wednesday May 8 and cancelled the next day. Dungey has no questions.

Rick Bullmann, a neighbour of the Bosmas, is the next witness. He is extremely nervous at first as he describes the location of his house and his father’s adjoining property. At the time Tim went missing, he knew who the Bosmas were but had never met them.

He says he’s a man of habit, who puts his kids to bed at 8:30 and then takes his dog for a walk at almost the same time every night, just after nine.

On May 6, he saw two vehicles pull out of a lane-type road at his father’s place. One was a dark pickup truck he thought might have dumped some garbage.

“Then a second vehicle pulled out behind it. I thought that’s odd,” says Bullmann.

The pickup truck was dark in colour, and was followed by a vehicle that wasn’t a car, wasn’t a truck.

“They didn’t stop. I saw them leaving. That’s all I did.

“That night I thought it was a little peculiar. The next day people came up to my house, passed out the flyers, then I thought someone needs to know about this.”

The police came by with dogs and combed his father’s field looking for whatever they could find.

Next on the witness stand are a bunch of cops. Number one is the guy in charge of the surveillance operation that arrested Millard in Mississauga on Friday May 10. We look at his arrest mug shots and the photos taken of all his various tattoos.

Cop number two is the one who took control of Millard after his arrest, cuffed and searched him. In Millard’s right front pocket, he found a bundle of cash along with three black latex gloves. The gloves are shown to the jury.

After the arrest, they were sent for forensic evaluation with a report issued August 15, 2013.

The third officer to take the stand is the young woman who tailed Millard’s girlfriend Christina Noudga looking for so-called castoff DNA on September 18, 2013. After Noudga bought a Booster juice and drank it, the straw was retrieved from a recycling bin in the locker room of a swimming pool at York University.

And the day finished off with expert phone evidence about the Lucas Bate phone being powered off among other things.

Back tomorrow February 9 at 1 o’clock for more testimony, two hours earlier for some non-jury legal issues.

By Special Request: Day 4 of the Tim Bosma Trial

In an Agreed Statement of Facts, Mark Smich admits his presence on a test drive with Igor Tumanenko. Smich was identified in a photo lineup May 15 and arrested one week later on May 22

These are my Feb 4 notes, not a transcript. All quotes are accurate but lots of dialogue is missing. The key parts are all here

Dellen Millard has switched from his white shirt into a blue shirt with white stripes. Mark Smich has also changed from a white shirt to black and white checks, but kept the same dark gray v-neck sweater on top. The courtroom is about 80-90% full.

The schedule calls for 9 or 10 witnesses to appear today.

First up is Omar Palmili, a slim, fit-looking man wearing a grey suit and pink shirt. He had a 2007 Dodge 3500 special edition, extended cab, metallic black pickup truck with leather interiors and a 5th wheel for sale. It was in very good condition and advertised on Autotrader.

A potential buyer called to ask why he was selling the truck.

“I explained at that time I wasn’t using it because I have another one, basically it was sitting in my parking lot,” Palmili said. “He answered, ‘Oh it’s sitting in the parking lot’…I was a little surprised because of the tone of voice.”

Palmili had to ask the caller twice what his name was. “He had a very deep masculine voice. I believe he was mumbling the name or lowered tone and I couldn’t get it right.”

It sounded like Evan, Ethan or Avan to Palmili.

He and the caller made arrangements for a test drive two days later on Sunday, some time between 3:30 and 4:30. The potential buyer was supposed to call when he was on his way, but when Palmili didn’t hear from him by 4:30, he took a nap. He missed a later call from the potential buyer.

Palmili tried getting in touch with ‘Evan’ a few times more times after that but could never reach him.

On cross examination Millard’s lawyer, Nadir Sachak, poses a bunch of questions about the truck and its location in the parking lot before picking apart Palmili’s testimony about the caller’s name.

“You didn’t say, sir, you seem to be mumbling or it appears you’ve changed the tone of your voice?”


“It wasn’t so suspicious because you made arrangements to see him the next day?”


Sachak gives Palmili a copy of the statement he made to police.

“‘He lowered his tone of voice when he gave his name’ — does it say that in the statement?”


What about how he somehow changed his tone of voice, asks Sachak.

“No it doesn’t say.”

“What it does say and I want you to correct me if I’m wrong is, ‘I told him I’m not using the truck, that it’s just sitting in my parking lot. He said, ‘Oh, it’s just sitting in the parking lot.’”


“This was statement when your recollection was most accurate … as time goes on, your memory suffers a bit?”


Sachak wraps up and Mark Smich’s lawyer Tom Dungey takes over.

“I take it you’ve never been involved in anything like this before,” he begins.


“The reason you remember about this person mumbling, lowering his voice, you asked him twice” what his name was?


“Prior to this, you had no problem.”


“One of the reasons you remember is because you asked him his name again?”


“He never said to you in clear loud English, ‘My name is Dellen, my name is Millard?’”

“That’s the only time he mumbles?”

“Yes, right.”

Shortly after, it’s a wrap for Palmili. The next Crown witness arrives. It’s Arthur Jennings, 60-something, shaven head, grey goatee, glasses, Mom jeans, tie, striped shirt. He has a bit of an aging biker look going on.

Jennings says a cheerful good morning. Crown prosecutor Brent Moodie establishes that in 2013 he had returned to school to study supply chain management. The school was supposed to try to get him a job placement, but they didn’t succeed so he approached his son-in-law, Shane Schlatman, who worked for Dellen MIllard at the Millardair hangar at Waterloo International Airport.

What was Shane’s role, asks Moodie.

Pretty much everything when Dell wasn’t there, says Jennings whose placement began on Feb. 6, 2013.

As for Jennings, he usually worked a six-hour day. There was another guy who would sometimes help Shane with cars and some Colombian contractors that worked for Millard doing construction, but after they left it was just Dell, Shane and Jennings.

Any airplane work, asks Moodie.

“No absolutely not,” says Jennings.

He explains he did whatever MIllard wanted done and worked on rebuilding his own personal golf cart when there was nothing else to do.

“You brought your own golf cart,” asks the prosecutor


“I would work on my golf cart. Dellen wanted (Shane) to build an electric bike so Shane was on that. Spencer might work on one of his cars. Dellen wanted a trailer built.”

“Would you work on your golf cart frequently?”


They never really knew when Dellen would show up, says Jennings.

“Dellen would say ‘hi.’ I would say ‘hi.’ We never really got into personal conversation.”

Monday May 6, 2013 was just a normal work day mostly spent working on the trailer.

There was no set routine. Jennings usually brought coffee and donuts for Shane. They put their lunch boxes away. He worked til about 4, then went home.

The next day, as was his habit, he went to his son-in-law’s house for coffee, to chat with his daughter and see his grandkids. It was a beautiful day, and he had decided to take it off. He told Shane as they were drinking their coffee. Then, Shane’s phone dinged, a text coming through.

“The look on Shane’s face was pretty shocked, surprised.” It was a text from Dellen, says Jennings. When he went out to his car, he says he got the same message: “Airport politics no one goes to the hangar today, not even just to grab something.”

Later that day, Jennings saw a report about Tim Bosma going missing on the news.

“You’re a truck guy?” says Moodie.

“I am, yes. The running boards were chrome and steel.”

“Why did that catch your eye?”

“It just did, didn’t look normal. A normal truck wouldn’t have it. It looked nice.”

The next day, Jennings recounts, he went back to work, brought coffee and donuts, put his lunch away, had a chat and then headed to the washroom.

“There was a black Dodge pickup sitting on a green tarp on the floor. My exact words to myself were, ‘Oh my God, could that be the truck?’”

He recognized the chrome running boards, he says.

“My son-in-law was told not to come to work which really perked my interest. It was very unusual. He was expected to be at work no matter what.”

Jennings stayed away from the truck all Wednesday. “I was uncomfortable,” he told the court

The next day, he says, Shane told him Dell had purchased the truck from someone in Kitchener.

When he first saw it, Jennings testified, “except for the back bench seat, everything else was out of it.” The plates were gone too. There were some paint cans on the tarp.

Jennings went home and discussed the situation with his wife, who also couldn’t believe what he was telling her.

The next day, he took a photograph of truck and the VIN number, he tells the court.

He phoned Crimestoppers in Brantford and gave them the last six digits of the VIN and asked them to check if it was Tim’s truck. “That’s all I can tell you right now,” he said. “I will call you back if you check those VIN numbers.

“I was pacing, going outside, having 15 cigarettes.Iwas hoping beyond hope it was not the truck and Dell was not involved … She said, ‘Yes, it is the truck. Where is it? Please tell us where it is.’

“I went into shock. I went inside my pickup truck and vomited because I was that upset. I was upset for everybody.”

He phoned his wife but didn’t talk to Shane. “I knew Shane and Dellen were so close that I didn’t want to cause a rift between them.”

By that night, his daughter knew something was going on. Shane came to his house and blew up, he told the court. Then Shane left.

On Friday morning, there were more coffee and donuts at work just like on a normal day. “I didn’t know how far up this went. I didn’t want to bring harm upon myself or my family,” said Jennings. “It was better just to stay off to the side and let’s see what happens.

“We were working on the trailer project that day. Shane was adamant it had to be done. When Dell wanted something, Shane made every effort to get it done.”

By Friday, something had changed, however. The black truck was gone, the tarp was gone and the giant trailer that sat outside the hangar was also gone, Jennings said.

After lunch, he went to Home Depot to get some boards they needed for their renovation of another trailer. When he came back, Shane and Dell were in the office area, where Jennings said Dell lived.

“Dell was looking at me. Shane would look at me, turn his head. They were having a heated discussion,” he told the court.

Then Millard came over and told him to get all his stuff and go home. “That’s when I later found out that the police had been there,” Jennings testified.

“He wasn’t angry, just calm, same old Dell. It really had me confused.”

He collected his tools, his golf cart, yet another trailer Shane was going to build him, and a meat smoker. He gave the key fob for the hangar back to Shane.

“I felt like a mouse in a trap,” he said. “I didn’t know if someone was going to come in and whack me. I had no idea. I didn’t know what was going on. I packed up all my stuff drove it home.”

“At some point Mr. Jennings, you go to police — why?”

“I wanted to be proactive not reactive.I didn’t want myself or son-in-law involved. And I knew we weren’t. I knew it was better to tell my story before they made me look like I was part of the crime and I wasn’t. He wasn’t.”

Jennings also testified that he had met Mark Smich half a dozen times at the hangar including the week of May 6th when Smich was there one day with Millard. Asked which day, he replied: “It had to be Wednesday because Thursday was a bad day.” He said Millard had given Smich a weird look that day.

On other occasions, Smich and his girlfriend came to work at the hangar. He and Jennings occasionally chatted superficially on their smoke breaks.

Ravin Pillay handles the cross for Millard.

Monday May 6, it was a normal day, he asks Jennings.

“Pretty much, yes.”

“No one mentioned it would be shutting down the following day?”

Jennings agrees.

“No forewarning?”


Pillay clarifies that no one ever asked Jennings to return the fob that week even on Friday May 10.

“Throughout the week of May 6, you had access to the hangar?”

“Theoretically yes but no. We were not allowed.”

“You definitely were familiar and aware of missing truck as of evening of May 7.”

Jennings agrees.

There was nothing say not to come to work?

“I checked with Shane and off I went.”

You go about your regular routine on Wednesday May 8?”

Jennings agrees.

Nothing out of the ordinary, asks Pillay.

“Not when I first get there, no.”

“The truck was immediately apparent?”


“Your heart sank? You got a gut feeling?”

“Yes I did.”

“You said, ‘Oh my God?’”

“Yes, it was quite a shock.”

Pillay asks how big the hangar was — 50,000 square feet?

“I just know it was a big hangar and it was hard to wash by myself with a mop.” (Jennings mentions several times in his testimony that he was required to wash the entire hangar floor.)

“No attempt to conceal the truck?”


“You become very suspicious?”

“Yes sir.”

“My concern was what has Dell got himself into… I didn’t know how far it went, who was involved … I didn’t know where this went, where it led.”

Pillay asks about what happens when he found the truck gone on Friday.

“I went through whole hangar. I was finally told to mind my own business, stay out of it by Shane.”

Jennings could see the truck’s tracks on the floor he had just cleaned.

“Nothing stopped you from taking photos on Wednesday May 8?”

“No sir.”

On Thursday, the VIN number wasn’t removed?

“No, absolutely not.”

Pillay establishes that airport security checks out the hangar area regularly. Then he asks: “There were no garbage dumpsters at the hangar, right?”

“Good question. I can’t remember. I know there was a lot of garbage piled up in the parking area — furniture.”

“You would frequently see Mr. Millard take garbage away?”

“Shane would give bags to Dell and Dell would take them away.”

Pillay’s cross wraps up.

Smich’s lawyer, Tom Dungey begins his cross by asking Jennings about how it felt to be fired.

“Actually it was a relief, more a relief due to what the situation was.”

“You felt it was (Millard) got rid of you because you told police about truck?”

“Yes, sir.”

“You talked to Shane about the truck?”

“Thursday night, yes.”

Jennings testifies that the reason he was given as to why Millard’s vehicles were stripped down is that he had an allergy to mould.

He also said Shane was intending to quit on Friday because he didn’t want to be involved in anything.

Asked about Smich, he said he and his girlfriend did whatever Millard wanted them to do. “They showed up with Dell and they left with Dell … Mark did what Dell wanted him to do. I didn’t pay any attention to what they were doing but it was obvious he was helping Dell.”

Jennings told Dungey it was made clear to him that others’ work assignments were “none of my business … it was made quite clear to me what my position was.”

“How was it made clear to you?”

“My son-in-law. it was a work relationship. it’s strange to understand.I didn’t ask questions. I didn’t want to.”

“Did you ever see any work done on airplanes?”


People worked on “cars or construction dell wanted done in building, putting up walls stuff like that.”

There was “nothing got done in that hangar without Dell having control?”

“Yes, sir.”

“You never saw Mr. Smich there without Dell?”


“You are agreeing with me?”


“He had to be there or give permission to be there?”

After hours, “I wasn’t allowed near that building. After I left, just common knowledge you don’t go back until the morning.”

“This is not a criticism, but you were hesitant to put you name forward?”

“For the safety of Shane, my daughter and my grandkids…I just knew that I didn’t want to be involved and wanted to discuss it with my family and make sure my family was the same. It was a primal instinct to protect my family.”

Igor Tumanenko is the day’s final witness and one I’ve been waiting to see a long time. He is the guy who went on the first test drive with Smich and his tall buddy, and identified the Ambition tattoo. He’s tall, fit, broad shouldered, barrel chested and has a fantastically thick Russian accent. He’s wearing a long-sleeved grey t-shirt, jeans and trainers. He was trying to sell his Dodge Ram truck on kijiji and Autotrader. He wanted to replace it with a cube van.

He met up with the test drivers on Sunday May 5 at his apartment building in North York near Bathurst and Steeles. “Two fellows show up just from nowhere,” he says, adding that he didn’t know where their car was parked. The three men shook hands

The tall guy gave his name as Evan, not Ivan the Russian name, Igor remembers.

Smich — who Dungey admitted Thursday, in an agreed statement of facts, was present for the test drive — was “not hiding but never in front of me,” said Igor.

The taller guy did show interest in the car, jumping around to check the suspension. He told Igor he was planning to tow some race cars to Calgary.

They headed out for a test drive, first with Igor driving and then, after a bit, he handed over the keys to the taller guy. “We had obviously nice conversation,” says Igor. “I told him I am familiar with this engine from Israeli army experience. Shorter guy asks me, ‘What did you do in Israeli army?’ I look at him and I tell him, ‘You don’t want to know what I did there.’”

The taller guy turned and looked at the shorter guy in the back seat, which alarmed Igor as the taller guy was doing 60k on a highway exit ramp, according to Igor.

“Did the mood change,” asks Moodie.

“I would say there was a change of temperature, dynamic inside of car.”

By now, the men were back on Yonge street.

Asked to describe the taller guy, Igor said: “The guy was taller than me but not like basketball player” and “he was skinny not fat like me” and he “was wearing a man bag, I call this Indiana Jones but much smaller, more Hangover like bag.”

On May 7, Igor gave an audio recorded statement to Hamilton police.

“Did you notice any distinguishing features?” asks Moodie.

He describes a tattoo located on the wrist.

“It was saying ambition and it was in a frame.”

“Small or capitals?”

“I think it was capitals.”

“What were you paying attention to? What was the dynamic like? What were you focussed in on?”

“Nothing specific. I pay attention to tattoo. In country where I was born tattoo was a criminal language, another thing I pay attention to… so yes, I pay attention to what it’s saying. It’s very ambition to have ambition on your arm.”

Sachak strolls over to the podium to begin his cross examination. He smiles and and asks, “How are you, sir?”

“Good,” says Igor in his heavy Russian accent.

Sachak makes the point that Igor lives in a very large building at an “extremely busy intersection.”

“People can look at the parking lot from units in building,” he suggests as Igor agrees.

On the test drive, he asks, “you also had normal chit chat?”


Igor says that the tall guy showed knowledge of the truck. “He played with odometer. I just wonder what he’s doing there. It’s not an ipad,” he told the court.

Igor suggested they go on the 407 so the test drivers could check the car.

“He was appreciative?” asks Sachak.

“I don’t know,” answers Igor. “He didn’t buy the truck so I don’t know if he was appreciative.”

Sachak moves on to what happened after the Israeli army comment, coaxing more information out of Igor.

“I see taller guy turn his head and look around. I think, ‘c’mon you need to drive.’”

How long, asks Sachak.

“It was enough for me… 1 second, 2 second, when you’re driving 60 you can not look in the back.”

“Did you say, ‘buddy what you’re doing?’”

No, says Igor.

“It was not so bad for me to start screaming ‘pay attention to the road’ (but) it was there.”

“You want to describe it as a big deal but it was not big deal.”

“i just want to describe what happened.”

“Not only was it not the end of the world, you were not concerned about the glance.”

As the cross examination continues, Igor tells Sachak he remembers the driver adjusting his seat after the Israeli army comment and “moving like a mouse” in his seat.

Sachak asks Igor to look at his original police statement. “I don’t want to nitpick,” he says. But there’s “no reference to him moving like a mouse.”

Things get so heated between counsel and witness that the judge has to intervene. At one point Igor also says to Sachak, “Don’t tell me what I don’t know.”

As he did with Omar Palmili, Sachak is seeking to expose inconsistencies between the witness’s testimony in court and their original police statements. He asks Igor about his police statement:

“You were being honest?”




This statement was made two days after test drive.

“Your memory then was much better than it is in today?”

“Yes and no. When detective called me and they came, second person disappeared. You become a little bit nervous.”

All the statement says, says Sachak, is that after the IsraelI army comment, the two guys exchanged looks — a glance.

There’s nothing about adjusting seats, nothing about moving like mouse, nothing about the temperature changing, nothing about how you were concerned driving off road, the attorney says.

Today is “the first time you mention anything about moving like a mouse.”

“It starts coming back to me like a flash,” says Igor who will return to court on Monday to continue his testimony.

Tim Bosma Trial: the Crown’s opening statement

This is a copy of the Crown’s opening statement in the trial of Dellen Millard and Mark Smich for the murder of Tim Bosma. It replaces an earlier post based on the notes I took on the first day of the trial. The full text of the statement was not available at the time I made my original post.

You should note that this is not an official transcript.

As well, I am including at the beginning the remarks the Crown made to clarify what exactly an opening statement is. You will also find them repeated at the end of the address, which is when the jury heard them:

The outline that I have provided is just that. It’s not evidence until a witness makes it that.

Witnesses may testify differently than what has been outlined. Then, disregard what I have said if it is not consistent with the evidence of any witness

This outline is merely to assist in your initial understanding of the events surrounding the death of Tim Bosma.

Assistant Crown Attorney Craig Fraser turned his lectern toward the jurors and faced them as he gave his opening statement on February 1, 2016. Here it is:



For sale by owner.

A 2007 Dodge Power Ram 3500 Diesel 4 x 4 pick-up truck.
170,000 kilometres – mostly highway
5.9 litre engine
Extended cab – short box
Gray cloth interior
New transmission, new brakes.
Price $24,000.00
Address: Ancaster, Ontario

This ad was posted by Tim Bosma’s wife Sharlene, and in the ad was contact information for Tim Bosma, including his phone number. Sharlene Bosma posted these ads on Kijiji and Autotrader a week or so before the the events of May 6th , 2013.

The truck was starting to cost too much in repairs. They were a young family and, like many young families, money was tight and the sale of the truck was necessary.

Six days later on May 12th, 2013, this same truck, Tim Bosma’s truck, was recovered in the driveway of a residence in Kleinburg, Ontario, a small town north of Toronto. The truck was inside a large trailer. The residence was owned by Dellen Millard’s mother.

The interior of the truck had been stripped. Carpets gone. The front seats, gone.

The front seats were found in the same trailer behind the truck and against the main rear doors of the trailer. The driver’s seat, center console and passenger seat had no upholstery, no cushioning, just charred metal. They had been burned.

Forensic examination of the truck would take place in the days, weeks and months following.

Significant amounts of gunshot residue were found on the inside of the truck, with especially high concentrations in the front seat area, both passenger side ceiling and driver’s side ceiling.

Further forensic examination found the blood DNA of Tim Bosma on the inside of the truck in various areas, including the inside rear passenger door; rear passenger armrest; around the glove box; and front passenger cup holder.

Tim Bosma’s blood was also found in various areas on the undercarriage of the truck.

The front passenger side window was shattered.

The police also recovered a spent 380 gun cartridge casing inside the truck.

Mr. Millard’s fingerprints were later found by police forensic officers on both the exterior and interior of the truck.

When Mr. Millard was arrested the police found in his vehicle the keys to Tim Bosma’s truck.


On May 11th, the day before the police recovered Tim Bosma’s truck in the driveway of Dellen Millard’s mother’s residence (May 12th), the police searched a farm property owned by Dellen Millard in Ayr, Ontario, just outside Cambridge.

While police were executing the search warrant they located a cremation device, the Eliminator.

The Eliminator is designed and manufactured in the U.S.A. by a company in Georgia and the device is used to , among other things, incinerate farm animal carcasses large and small. The model of the Eliminator the police located on the accused`s property was large enough for humans to fit inside.

It was found by police in a stand of trees on the Millard farm property, away from the farm buildings, and not easily visible.

The day before his arrest on May 10th, Dellen Millard moved the Eliminator from the barn on his property out to the area where police found it. Mr. Millard did this while it was dark, late at night, and with the assistance of his girlfriend.

When the police first saw the Eliminator, they were struck by its size, the location of it in the trees and the descriptors for the device which were on a metal plate attached to the unit – “The Eliminator – Small and Large Animal Cremators”. The police had not seen anything like it before.

Tim Bosma was still missing at this point and Dellen Millard had been arrested the day before for the theft of Tim Bosma’s truck and his forcible confinement, or abduction.

The police were still concerned about the well-being of Tim Bosma and his whereabouts.

Police looked inside the Eliminator and it appeared to have been cleaned out, but in looking straight down into the main vault area, the Forensic Identification Officer saw what looked like bones. She did not know if they were human or animal. This officer took the bone(s) out of the Eliminator, photographed them and contacted a Forensic Anthropologist at the University of Toronto who police knew from previous cases.

As it was a missing person investigation, police wanted an immediate opinion on whether the bones were human.

The preliminary opinion given by the Forensic Anthropologist was they were human bones and the following morning – a Sunday – this expert attended the police station, examined the bones and confirmed her initial opinion that they were human bones.

In the following days, this Forensic Anthropologist and a police Forensic Identification Officer attended the farm and removed, examined and analyzed the remains in the Eliminator.

The opinion of the expert was that inside the vault area was cremated adult human remains of one individual.

58 bone fragments, 2 virtually complete bones and one tooth were recovered from inside the vault. 17 of these bone fragments and 2 complete bones were definitely human – the tooth appeared human. The remaining 41 bone fragments exhibited characteristics of human bone.
It was her opinion that person was likely male and under 40 years old.

Further forensic examination of the Eliminator found blood on the main hatch area of the vault. It was Tim Bosma’s blood.

Dellen Millard and Mark Smich were friends, but they did not know Tim Bosma and Tim Bosma did not know either of them. The random coming together of their different worlds would occur on May 6th, 2013, the day Tim Bosma was murdered.

The Crown intends to prove that on this date in the late evening hours, Tim Bosma was killed in his truck, shot by the two accused at close range, while on a test drive with his truck; his body then incinerated hours later by the two accused.

Tim Bosma was 32 years old, married to Sharlene and a young father. He worked full-time in his own business, installing heating and air conditioning systems. He had had no police involvement.

At the time of the arrest of Dellen Millard for first degree murder the police were focussed on Mark Smich as the second person involved and his arrest on the same charge would happen a week or so later. ( May 22)

In order to understand the disappearance of Tim Bosma on May 6th, 2013 and his murder, it is important to understand the events in the days immediately before. The weekend of Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5th.

On Saturday, May 4th, Tim Bosma was phoned by a person the Crown intends to prove was Dellen Millard. They spoke for a few minutes and arrangements were made for Mr. Millard to come see the truck on Monday evening, May 6th.

On the Sunday, Tim Bosma washed and waxed the truck in anticipation of the possible sale of his truck on Monday night.

Tim Bosma worked Monday and arrived home around 5:30 p.m. Sharlene described him as “upset” because he had not heard from the guy that day and he was uncertain if the guy was still coming. Tim, in the morning that day, sent a text to the same number that called him.

“Good morning. It’s Tim. I’m working in Hamilton today if you want to meet or do you still want to meet at my house tonight for 7 pm?” The text went unanswered.

Shortly after, expressing his frustration to Sharlene, and just after 7:00 p.m., Tim Bosma did receive a phone call from Mr. Millard, who told Tim he was coming from Toronto and he would be about an hour.

It is not apparent that in his dealings with Tim Bosma the caller provided his name, nonetheless the Crown intends to prove the identity of the caller as Dellen Millard.

Mr. Millard called Tim Bosma a second time as he was arriving in Ancaster just after 9:00 p.m.. At this time, the two accused Dellen Millard and the person the Crown intends to prove was Mark Smich walked up the driveway of the Bosma’s residence on Trinity Road on the outskirts of Ancaster.

Sharlene saw both her husband Tim and the taller of the two, Mr. Millard, on their cell phones. She saw that they hung up their cell phones at the same time. She took from this they had been speaking to each other.

Tim Bosma told the two men, Mr. Millard and Mr. Smich, they could have parked in the driveway, but Mr. Millard told Tim ,no, they had got a ride from a friend who had dropped them off and the friend had gone to Tim Horton’s.

They shook hands, walked around the truck for a brief inspection and then the three of them got in the truck for a test drive. Dellen Millard driving; Tim Bosma in the front passenger seat; and Mark Smich got in the back seat.

Tim said to Sharlene they were going for a test drive and they would be back soon. They turned left out of the driveway onto Trinity Road heading north.

Tim Bosma was never seen or heard from again.

When Tim Bosma had not returned as he said he would, Sharlene tried his phone repeatedly and each time it went straight to voicemail. She also sent a text message asking quote “Where are you”. All of these attempts to contact him went unanswered. Sharlene called family and friends for help and, then, the Hamilton Police.

As a result of the missing person investigation which began on May 7th immediately after Tim’s disappearance, the police identified three other men who had advertised similar trucks for sale on the Kijiji website and in Autotrader online.

These men were interviewed by police as the same phone number that called Tim Bosma on the Saturday had called these men around the same time. These three men were also selling diesel engine Dodge trucks.
The male caller, who made inquiries of two of these men about their Dodge trucks, identified himself to them as a name that sounded to them at the time as either “Evan, Ewan or Avan”.

On Sunday, May 5, 2013, the day before Tim Bosma’s murder, one of these men went for a test drive with two males the Crown intends to prove were Mr. Millard and Mr. Smich , in his 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 diesel truck.
The seller told police that the one male, who did all the talking and test drove the truck, was: male white, 6’4”, medium build, 90 kgs, light brown short hair like a flat top, clean shaven, 27 to 32 years of age, a tattoo of the word “Ambition” on his wrist where a watch would be worn, and other unidentified tattoos. He was wearing light blue jeans, orange t-shirt and carrying an “Indiana Jones” style satchel bag. This male said his name was either Ewan or Evan. This was Mr. Millard. His middle name is Evan.

The second male sat in the rear seat of the truck. The seller did not have much to say or do with this person. The Crown intends to prove that this person was Mr. Smich.

After the test drive, Mr. Millard told the seller that they were looking at two other trucks, but they would call him back Monday night, May 6. This man never heard back from either accused.

Hamilton Police did further investigation on the “Ambition” tattoo and they received information from two different sources in Peel and Toronto, that a Dellen Evan Millard DOB 1985/08/30 had an Ambition tattoo. This was considered by police to be a significant lead.

Through cell phone records the Crown intends to prove both accused were using their cell phones in the area of this man’s residence, the other seller of the Dodge Diesel truck, in North Toronto in this time period on that day.

Also , cell phone records of both accused show them travelling from the Greater Toronto Area, through Oakville, to just outside the home of Tim Bosma on May 6, 2013. Both of their cell phones pinged off cell towers in close proximity to the Bosma home, immediately before Tim Bosma met the two accused. These phones were turned off immediately after the abduction, a short distance outside the area of the Bosma home, while Tim Bosma was in the truck with Mr. Millard and Mr. Smich.

Within a few hours of Tim Bosma’s abduction, shortly after midnight on May 7th, images captured by a neighbouring business’s video surveillance system at the Millardair ( the family business Mr. Millard worked in) Hangar at Waterloo Regional Airport shows what the Crown intends to prove was Tim Bosma’s truck towing the Eliminator up to the hangar and parking outside. The truck and Eliminator were followed closely by a vehicle similar to a GMC Yukon, a vehicle the Crown intends to prove was owned by Mr. Millard on the night in question.

This same video system also shows images of the Eliminator being ignited outside the hangar door. This, the Crown says, was the incineration phase of the death of Tim Bosma which took place over several hours in the early morning hours of May 7th.

A forensic video analyst will give evidence in this trial about his analysis of this video and several other relevant videos from various locations, dates and times.


Mr. Millard sent a message to his employees early Tuesday morning May 7 early telling them not to come to work at all that day as there were quote “airport politics no one goes to the hangar today, not even just to grab something”. End quote. When the employees returned to work the following day (Wednesday, May 8) an employee saw a black pick-up truck in the hangar that he believed could have been

Tim Bosma’s. He just had a feeling. This employee was aware of the missing person investigation from the news. He took photos of the truck, including the VIN (vehicle identification number), using his cell phone and later called Crimestoppers. By this point, the search for Tim Bosma as a missing person was widely-reported and receiving extensive public attention. The truck he saw in the hangar with the VIN he obtained was Tim Bosma’s truck. This was confirmed by Brantford Police who acted on the Crimestopper tip.

Also on this day, May 7, 2013, Mr. Millard told his roommate that they had stolen a truck on May 6, the day before. This roommate already knew that Mr. Millard and Mr. Smich planned to steal a truck of this kind. The Accused had told him this plan on the weekend.

Mr. Smich told his girlfriend that Mr. Millard stole the truck and that he (Mr. Smich) was there. Mr. Smich also said that the man they stole the truck from , who the Crown says was Tim Bosma, was quote “gone gone gone”.

Mr. Smich’s girlfriend told police of the two accused looking for a truck to steal and talking about this a few days before the murder. She also told police she remembered Mr. Millard picked up Mr. Smich on May 6, 2013 which would have been before they made their way to Ancaster to see Tim Bosma’s truck.

Within days of the murder, Mr. Millard contacted a person he knew from past dealings who owned an auto body shop. Mr. Millard intended to paint Tim Bosma’s truck. Mr. Millard also instructed his mechanic/employee to remove the decals and other identifiers from the truck in preparation for the makeover.

Mr. Millard contacted a friend on May 9, 2013, the night before his arrest and made arrangements to drop off a locked tool box for him to hold on to. Mr. Millard did this around 4:00 a.m. with his girlfriend.

After the arrest of Mr. Millard, Mr. Smich obtained possession of the toolbox from mutual friends of the two Accused. Mr. Smich was aware of the arrest of Mr. Millard and he took steps to gain control and possession of the locked toolbox.

The toolbox in question was seized in the home of Mr. Smich upon his arrest on May 22, 2013. Forensic examination of the toolbox found gunshot residue on the interior. There was no gun in the toolbox because Mr. Smich had already taken steps to dispose of it.

Mr. Smich’s girlfriend told police that Mr. Smich told her that he had the gun, but that he got rid of the gun by burying it in the forest. Mr. Smich was not more specific than that with her.

Before burying the gun, Mr. Smich tried to sell the gun through a friend. He was unsuccessful.

Mr. Millard’s girlfriend will testify in this trial. She is currently charged with Accessory After the Fact to Murder for her role in events after the murder of Tim Bosma. Her trial on this charge is pending. In her statement to police she said, among other things, she was with Mr. Millard when he towed the trailer and truck to Mr. Millard’s mother’s in Kleinburg on May 9th; she was with Mr. Millard when they moved the Eliminator into the stand of trees that same night after dropping off the truck and trailer at Mr. Millard’s mothers’; and she said she was with Mr. Millard when he took the locked tool box to his friend’s house in the early morning hours of May 10th.

After Mr. Millard’s girlfriend was charged for her role, police executed a search warrant on her residence in Toronto and seized from her bedroom several letters that were written to her by Mr. Millard over a period of many months while he was in jail after his arrest. These letters varied in terms of content, but one theme of many letters was Mr. Millard wanting a key Crown witness to change his evidence. His girlfriend was asked to reach out to this person to get him to change his evidence.

This was a person Mr. Millard considered a friend and someone who he believed could be convinced to change the his statement to police. This was to assist Mr. Millard as he considered what this person knew about the plan to steal the truck as damning and incriminating information. For example, in one such letter to his girlfriend, Mr. Millard wrote the following: “If he knew his words were going to get me a life sentence , he would want to change them. Show him how he can, and he will change them.”

Despite Mr. Millard’s written direction at the end of many of these letters to “destroy these letters”, they were still in the girlfriend’s bedroom in April , 2014, when she was arrested for her involvement which was almost 1 year after the murder and the arrest of Mr. Millard.

In the search of Mr. Millard’s girlfriend`s residence, police also seized from her bedroom a DVR- digital video recorder – that Mr. Millard had taken from the airport hangar and given to his girlfriend to hold on to, apparently without explanation. He gave this to her on May 9th when he picked her up while en route to Kleinburg to drop the trailer with Tim Bosma`s truck in it at his mother`s place.

The police examined the contents of the video and the Crown intends to prove that Dellen Millard and Mark Smich are in the hangar on May 7th at around 1:30 am – during the time the Crown says the remains of Tim Bosma were being incinerated in the Eliminator, just outside the hangar doors.


The outline I have provided to you is just that. It is not evidence in this case until a witness makes it evidence. It is what the Crown anticipates the evidence will be based mainly on witness statements and the preparation of witnesses for trial.

Despite this, witnesses may in fact testify differently than what has been outlined to you. If this happens, you are only to consider what the witness tells you in this case in this trial. You will have to disregard what I have said if it is not consistent with the evidence of a witness.

You have heard information about this case for the first time of what witnesses saw and heard, and what they did regarding this investigation as civilians, police or experts. It is not expected that this picture is absolutely clear to you now. The outline in this opening is merely to assist your initial understanding of the events surrounding the murder of Tim Bosma.

Fortunately, the testimony of all the witnesses, civilians, police and experts, in this case will proceed at a pace which will allow you to fully consider the witness’ testimony. It will allow you to decide the involvement of the two accused and whether or not they are guilty as charged for the First Degree Murder of Tim Bosma.

Thank you.

The Crown calls as its first witness Sharlene Bosma.

Throughout the trial I will be providing regular updates, including the occasional tweet, as I work on my upcoming book on the Tim Bosma case. You can follow my Twitter feed or sign up for my newsletter.

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1,001 days from the disappearance of Tim Bosma to opening statements at trial

And so the actual trial part of the Tim Bosma trial finally begins on Monday — 1001 days after Tim Bosma disappeared, 997 days after Dellen Millard was arrested and 985 days after Mark Smich was arrested.

Both Dellen Millard and Mark Smich are pleading not guilty to first degree murder of Tim Bosma, and it goes without saying that none of the allegations against them have yet been proven in court. They are innocent until proven guilty.

It should not take this long for a case to get to trial, but, in Ontario, most murders aren’t tried until two years after charges are laid. This places a tremendous burden on both the family of the victim and the accused as well. Witnesses are also affected as memories fade, a dark cloud looms endlessly over them, and sometimes people even die.

That’s no excuse for this type of delay. By way of comparison, the Boston Marathon bombing took place on April 15, 2013, the month before Tim Bosma was killed. It was both a hugely complex, terrorism-related investigation and a death penalty case to boot, yet the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev began on March 4, 2015 and ended with a verdict on April 8, 2015. It was quite exceptional in the US where murder cases are almost always tried within a year, as they should be in Canada too.

After watching Justice Andrew Goodman handle the pre-trial motions and jury selection in the Bosma case, I’ve decided he may just be the man to help fix the oh-so-slow Ontario criminal justice system. He took over as the trial judge in October 2015 after the well respected Justice Stephen Glithero fell sick and had to step down.

Justice Goodman got up to speed on the complicated case almost immediately, kept the knotty pre-trial motions on schedule, and arranged the jury selection so it ran like a well oiled machine for six days starting on January 18th. He had calculated and allotted an average of 90 seconds for each prospective juror, coordinated all the various jury panels, and even arranged a Plan B should a flu bug sweep through the chosen jurors before opening statements. The lead prosecutor Tony Leitch said after day one of the process that he had never seen jury selection move so fast.

By way of another comparison, when I was last present for what was supposed to be jury selection in Superior Court in Toronto earlier this year, the trial had to be delayed for two days because there was no jury panel available. I was told this was not unusual. There used to be too many jury panels brought in on Mondays, and prospective jurors complained about the waste of time sitting around. The “fix” was to cut the number of Monday panels across the board regardless of how many trials were scheduled to start on the first day of any given week. As a result, there were now sometimes too few panels on Mondays and trials were getting delayed. This kind of problem is all part and parcel of why the justice system in Ontario is so bogged down and why trials don’t happen within a reasonable time framework. (If only Uber’s inventors would turn their attention to the courts.)

Which brings me to Tim Bosma’s family, who have had to wait almost three years for this trial to begin. In the face of all these delays, they have been amazingly stoic — and, on occasion, cheerful. On December 18, the last day of the pre-trial motions,Tim’s father Hank shook hands with many of the lawyers, police officers and reporters present, and wished everyone Merry Christmas. He and his wife Mary were smiling and outwardly happy despite the senseless tragedy they have lived through. This, I thought to my atheist self, must be what it’s like to have the kind of faith they have.

When I see the Bosmas, I always think back to something the police officer in charge of this case said when he was asked, back in May 2013 by a reporter, what it was like to break the news of Tim’s murder to his family. “As the leader of my team, I think that’s my job to do the hard jobs, and it was a very hard job to notify the family of a loved one,” Detective Sergeant Matt Kavanagh of the Hamilton Police said. “I’m sorry for the Bosma family. I have no idea what they’re experiencing right now.

Throughout the jury selection process, the Bosmas kept to themselves, more than they had during pre-trial motions, although Hank Bosma did come over when I was chatting with Molly Hayes, a Hamilton Spectator reporter, to thank her and her colleague Susan Clairmont for their articles about the opening of the trial.

Monday, the evidence portion of the trial, finally begins. Whether the Crown will give a long opening statement or just a short one and jump right into calling witnesses remains to be seen, as does who the first witnesses will be.

A number of people have asked me if they can attend the case and the answer is yes. The trial will take place in the John Sopinka courthouse’s biggest courtroom, which can hold about 100 onlookers. There’s also a special overflow courtroom, which will have a video feed.

Going to court is fascinating, and I would definitely recommend it if you’re at all curious. It’s also like time travelling back to my elementary school days, before a lot of the old rules got thrown out. You must, for example, stand up when the judge enters and departs. And there’s absolutely no gum chewing, coffee drinking, or even reading glasses on your head. While no one sings God Save the Queen like we used to have to do in grade school, there are references aplenty to Our Sovereign Lady.

Court is traditional and sometimes even ceremonial. More surprisingly, the jury selection process for this case — which ran from January 18 through to January 25 — was quite inspirational. Even though we were all present for a horrible reason, there was something uplifting about seeing so many citizens trekking through — some carrying parkas, some still wearing their coats — and saying they were “willing and able” to spend four months of their lives on a jury for a first degree murder trial.

It was almost but not quite enough to make me forget that it had taken 1,001 days to get to the opening statements slated for February 1, 2016, and that justice delayed can sometimes be justice denied for both the victims and the accused.

Throughout the trial I will be providing regular updates, including the occasional tweet, as I work on my upcoming book on the Tim Bosma case. You can follow my Twitter feed or sign up for my newsletter.

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Background on Tim Bosma murder trial and the accused: Dellen Millard and Mark Smich

Update: My book, Dark Ambition, went on sale November 8, 2016. It is temporarily sold out at Amazon.ca, but you can buy it at online at Chapters/Indigo and in person at major bookstores and Costco. Dark Ambition tells the story of the Tim Bosma murder investigation and the trial of Dellen Millard and Mark Smich.

Here are what I consider the best background articles related to the Tim Bosma murder trial (scheduled to begin in January 2016) and the accused, Dellen Millard and Mark Smich, who are both pleading not guilty:

Suspect in Tim Bosma’s death was always ‘a little different’ and did ‘odd stuff’ at private school, classmate says From the National Post, an excellent look at Dellen Millard’s background from very early on in the case, when people were more willing to talk. One of the odd things he did was showily eat dog biscuits straight out of the box.

Tim Bosma: The Painful Search for a Missing Man This Toronto Star article is an insider’s look at how Sharlene Bosma and Tim’s friends tried to find him after he went missing. It’s powerful and heartbreaking.

Whoever killed Bosma is abusive, exploitive and a risk-taker: profiler James Van Allen, former head of the OPP’s criminal profiling unit, tells the Hamilton Spectator that Tim Bosma’s killer is someone who is exploitive, abusive, lacks any empathy and is a risk-taker.

Tim Bosma’s murder may have been “thrill kill”: source This Toronto Sun article, which appeared early on in the investigation, has stood the test of time. It provides details, then unknown, on the death of Wayne Millard and Dellen’s alleged purchase of a portable livestock incinerator.

Dellen Millard’s jailhouse interview with the Toronto Star Millard reveals some of the details of his arrest in this exclusive interview with reporter Robert Cribb. He says he didn’t kill Tim Bosma and “they might as well accuse me of having been to the moon.”

The deaths of Laura Babcock and Wayne Millard The Hamilton Spectator reports that homicide detectives believe Dellen Millard bought a gun illegally and used it to murder his father. And that he also murdered Laura Babcock and incinerated her body — just as he allegedly did with Tim Bosma.

The downward spiral of Laura Babcock A really good investigative piece by two Toronto Star reporters, who reveal what went on in the troubled last months of Laura’s life.


And now, here are my articles on the murders of Tim Bosma, Laura Babcock and Wayne Millard:

Declining Dynasty: How Dellen Millard dismantled the family aviation business Although Dellen never had much interest in Millardair, his father Wayne was determined to revitalize it — until his sudden death.

Toronto Police investigations into Dellen Millard: What went wrong? A year after Millard was arrested for the murder of Tim Bosma, he was charged with the murders of Laura Babcock and his father, Wayne. It raises the question: If Millard had been in custody sooner, would Bosma still be alive?  (Published in the now defunct, Grid)

Dellen Millard case takes a strange turn All about Matthew Ward-Jackson, the aspiring gangsta rapper accused of selling Dellen Millard his alleged murder weapon His active social media adds another layer of mystery to an already bizarre case.

Dellen Millard’s letters from jail The letters reveal a man with a flair for purple prose and expensive taste in clothes — should he wear an Armani or McQueen suit at trial — coping with jailhouse horrors such as a prisoner revolt and fighting to stay optimistic.


I’m writing a book for Penguin Random House on the murders of Tim Bosma, Laura Babcock and Wayne Millard. If you want to keep up with news of the upcoming Bosma trial and my book, please subscribe to my newsletter:
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Direct indictment issued in Laura Babcock murder case

Dellen Millard and Mark Smich appeared in Toronto court today to case to address administrative matters related to a direct indictment issued in the Laura Babcock murder case in late August.

Both Millard and Smich are pleading not guilty to the murder of Babcock, which occurred on or around July 3 and 4, 2012. Further details cannot yet be revealed due to a temporary publication ban. They were charged in April 2014.

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When a direct indictment is issued by the attorney general, it means there is no preliminary hearing and the case goes straight to trial.

Millard and Smich also faced a direct indictment in the Tim Bosma murder case, which will go to trial in January 2016. At the time it was granted in the summer of 2014, Millard’s lawyer Ravin Pillay, told the Globe and Mail, he felt the move was against his client’s interests and “encumber(ed) the ability to make a full answer in defence” because without a preliminary hearing, he would not have an opportunity to test the prosecution’s case.

Not all criminal defence lawyers agree with that assessment. As much as a preliminary hearing gives the defence a dry run, it can also give the Crown a look at the accused’s trial strategy. Millard’s ex-girlfriend Christina Noudga, who is charged as an accessory after the fact in the Bosma murder, has chosen, for example, to go direct to trial skipping her preliminary hearing.

Millard, Smich and Noudga are all pleading not guilty in the Bosma case. In addition Millard is pleading not guilty to the 2012 murder of his father Wayne Millard. None of the allegations in any of the cases have been proven in court.

Direct indictments are fairly unusual in Ontario and tend to be used in high-profile cases.

There is no trial date yet scheduled for the Laura Babcock case. It will likely be late 2016 or early 2017.

Crown seeks direct indictment in Laura Babcock murder case

The Crown is seeking a direct indictment in the Laura Babcock murder case, raising further questions about the original investigation into her disappearance by Toronto police.

If the direct indictment is granted, it should be announced over the next few weeks and the case against the accused, Dellen Millard and Mark Smich, will proceed directly to trial without a preliminary hearing.

A direct indictment was granted last July for the related murder trial of Tim Bosma, where Millard and Smich are also charged. At the time, Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur commented: “I’m not going to speak about the case, but when this procedure is supported, it’s because there is good evidence that the person being accused will become convicted.”

Brendan Crawley, a spokesperson for the Attorney General, said the ministry does not comment on whether requests for direct indictments have been made in a specific case.

Smich and Millard are pleading not guilty on all counts and none of the allegations against them have been proven in court.

The Babcock case is very different from the Bosma murder in terms of what the public knows about the evidence. Police have said that Tim Bosma’s remains, burned beyond recognition, were found on Millard’s farm near Ayr, Ontario, and that Bosma’s truck was found in a trailer parked in the driveway of Millard’s mother, Madeleine Burns, in Kleinburg, north of Toronto. The Hamilton Spectator has reported that the victim was incinerated in a livestock incinerator found on Millard’s animal-less farm and purchased through Millardair.

In contrast, none of the evidence in the Laura Babcock case has been made public. There is also no body although the Hamilton Spectator reported that its sources believe Babcock was incinerated shortly after her disappearance in July 2012.

Many questions have been raised about how the Laura Babcock investigation was originally handled by Toronto police, who have been severely criticized for not following up on a mobile phone bill showing that the last eight phone calls she made were to Dellen Millard.

Sgt. Stephen Woodhouse — who was the lead detective in the original 2012 search for Laura Babcock told the National Post in May 2013 that investigators were never aware of any relationship between her and Dellen Millard. Contradicting her parents and ex-boyfriend, who said they had repeatedly brought the phone records to police attention, Sgt. Woodhouse said police did not see them until after Millard was arrested for the Tim Bosma murder. (Although, according to TPS operating procedures, investigators should have acquired the phone records of anyone missing under such circumstances, whether given to them by the family or not.)

“In this case we had no idea where Laura was living at the time, who her circle of friends were, what she was doing,” said Sgt. Woodhouse, who has since taken another position within Toronto Police and is no longer assigned to the case.

“In a city of 3 million people, where do you start?” he said. “We did the standard press release and put her picture out there… We followed the leads that we had.”

That the Crown would apply for a direct indictment indicates that they think they have a very strong case against Millard. This means that once police got serious about the Babcock disappearance investigation they don’t appear to have had too much difficulty finding evidence. It raises the question once again of why the investigation into Laura’s disappearance was so different pre- and post-Millard’s arrest.

In addition to the Bosma and Babcock murders, Dellen Millard has also been charged with the murder of his father, Wayne. No direct indictment is being sought in that case. Given that the Babcock and Bosma murder cases are being handled by different jurisdictions, it’s highly unlikely they will be joined and tried together.

Once again, none of the allegations against Millard and Smich have been proven in court. They are innocent until proven guilty.

Direct indictment in Tim Bosma case: What happens next?

I was in Hamilton court last Friday to see the accused, Dellen Millard and Mark Smich, make their first video appearances since the Attorney General approved a direct indictment for the Tim Bosma murder trial. Millard’s appearance was sort of interesting because he was on camera for quite a bit longer than usual although I didn’t get as good a look at him as I usually do in Toronto court due to the fact the video screen was at about a 75 degree angle to me.

Sometimes at these sessions, where prisoner after prisoner comes up for a quick case update, I’m surprised by how polite everyone is. “Yes Your Honour.” “No Your Worship.” “Thank you very much.” One time I was sitting with a TV producer who’s spent decades covering courts and crime. He turned to me and said wistfully: “If only they could be this polite before they’re in prison.”

But I digress. My point was that in Hamilton on Friday, a few of the prisoners were really, unusually rude so Millard looked polite in comparison. He went out of his way to call the Judge, “Your Worship,” which was a mistake as a judge is “Your Honour” and a justice of the peace is “Your Worship.” Still, the point is he was trying to come across as he knew you should. Smich, in contrast, was monosyllabic and dispensed with the honourifics altogether.

After Justice James Turnbull told Millard that the 515 order, preventing him from communicating with a list of potential witnesses, was still in effect, he added that he could speak to his counsel if he had further questions. “I will do that,” Millard replied with an air of authority. Then, when he was told his appearance was over, he said, “Good day.”

I’ve noticed Millard has a tendency to use anachronistic expressions — good day instead of goodbye, for example — which I suspect is his way of trying to sound erudite. Both he and his lawyer seem to be pushing the educated intellectual story line. From the very beginning, Deepak Paradkar has described his client as “a bit of a philosopher.”

Millard told the Toronto Star he was reading not John Grisham but the 19th century classic, On War by Carl von Clausewitz. In that same interview, he also said that he had dropped out of Toronto French School before getting his high school diploma because “there were only a couple of teachers I found interesting,” which is, in my opinion, another way of saying he was too smart for those losers.

For someone who’s spent a lot of the past year in solitary confinement, Millard sounded much more chipper Friday than the last few times I’ve seen him via video in Toronto courts, where he looked terrible. Both Millard and Smich have pleaded not guilty.

Outside the court room, before the session, the Bosma family gathered, laughing and smiling. It might sound incongruous if you weren’t there, but it wasn’t. They were simply happy that the direct indictment had been granted earlier that week and, as always, they were there to represent the family member taken from them and to make their presence felt.

Tim’s widow, Sharlene, joined them later in the court room, watching both the accused from the corner of her eye. No one in the family talked to the press.


A judicial pre-trial date was set for September 9 and a video remand date for September 19. The judge said he hoped by then, counsel would be able to set dates for pre-trial motions and, possibly, the trial itself.

The court sessions scheduled for August 7 for Millard and Smich have been cancelled although Millard’s girlfriend Christina Noudga, who has been charged as an accessory to murder after the fact, is still set to show up via video on that day. She remains in jail and has not yet applied for bail.

The direct indictment does away with the preliminary hearing so in theory it should speed things up, but in practice that’s not necessarily the case. Pre-trial motions could slow everything down to a crawl. We’ll have to wait until September to get a better idea of which way things are going to go.

Meanwhile in Toronto, proceedings continue in the Laura Babcock and Wayne Millard murder cases. Both Millard and Smich are charged with killing Laura Babcock while Millard is also charged with the murder of his father, Wayne. The accused have pleaded not guilty to all charges. They will appear again by video on August 11.