Bosma trial hears he was shot in truck, body later burned
Published Monday, February 1, 2016 5:33AM EST Last Updated Monday, February 1, 2016 6:41PM EST
HAMILTON -- A Hamilton man who took two strangers for a test drive of his pickup truck was shot inside the vehicle hours before his body was burned in an incinerator, the trial of the two accused killers heard Monday.
Dellen Millard, of Toronto, and Mark Smich, from Oakville, Ont., have both pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Tim Bosma.
The 32-year-old Bosma left his home on the evening of May 6, 2013 and was never seen alive again. His body was found more than a week later "burned beyond recognition."
In his opening statement, Crown attorney Craig Fraser described the sequence of events he said unfolded the night of the alleged murder.
"Tim Bosma was killed in his truck, shot by the two accused in close range while on a test drive," Fraser said. "His body was incinerated hours later by the two accused."
Fraser said police found Bosma's pickup truck at the home of Millard's mother in Kleinburg, Ont., with the seats ripped out.
Police found gunshot residue as well as Bosma's blood both inside and outside the vehicle, Fraser said. Police later found some of Bosma's bones inside the incinerator, located outside an airport hangar owned by Millard, who is the heir to an aviation business -- Millardair -- started by his grandfather nearly 50 years ago.
Fraser said Millard's fingerprints were found throughout Bosma's truck along with a shell casing from a bullet.
He also said police found the keys to Bosma's truck in Millard's car when he was arrested.
Fraser said a man, whom the Crown intends to prove was Millard, phoned Bosma two days before the test drive on May 4. He said the same man also phoned three others to try to arrange to test drive a similar pickup truck.
Fraser also said that in a statement Smich's girlfriend gave to police, she said that her boyfriend told her both Smich and Millard were there that night. Smich also said that the man they stole the truck from was "gone, gone, gone," she told police.
Bosma's widow, Sharlene, took the stand Monday as the Crown's first witness. She said the family was planning to move from Ancaster to nearby Brantford, and they decided to sell their truck because it was frequently breaking down.
They listed the truck for sale on Kijiji and Auto Trader and received interest from a man in Toronto, who wanted to see it on May 4, Sharlene Bosma said. So they arranged to meet up Monday after work.
Sharlene Bosma said her husband paced the house waiting for the man, who showed up late in the evening.
"Who takes a test drive this late at night?" Sharlene Bosma recalled her husband saying.
The couple discussed plans for the test drive.
"He said 'when they come, should I go with them?"' Sharlene Bosma told court, overcome with tears.
"I said 'yes you should because we want the truck to come back."'
Sharlene Bosma told court she saw a tall man and a shorter one walk down the long driveway at their home. They talked to Bosma and then the tall one got in the driver's side while Bosma got in the passenger seat. The shorter one got in the back, she said.
She recalled the short man as having his red hood pulled tight to his face, not talking and "looking sketchy."
The truck pulled out of the driveway and headed north and she never saw her husband again.
Repeated calls and texts to her husband went unanswered so she called a family friend who is a police officer in Sarnia, Ont., to ask for advice. That officer recommended calling police.
Court heard Sharlene Bosma was having a smoke in her garage with her downstairs tenant, Wayne De Boer, who was called to the stand near the end of the day.
De Boer recalled a similar interaction with the two men, but neither could identify the men that walked down the Bosmas' driveway.
De Boer recalled trying to make a joke of it.
"I tried to defuse the situation, saying 'yeah that was weird, that might be the last time we ever see him,"' De Boer told the court.
The Crown said it intends to present video that shows Millard and Smich firing up the incinerator outside the hangar in the early hours of May 7.
In a text sent to Millardair employees, Millard wrote: "Airport politics. No one goes to the hangar today, not even just to grab something," Fraser said.
"Employees did as they were told to do," Fraser said. "However, when they returned to work the following day, one employee saw a black pickup truck in the hangar that he believed could have been Tim Bosma's."
This employee, Fraser said, "knew about Bosma from the news," so he took photos of the vehicle identification number and sent it to Crimestoppers. They matched Bosma's truck, he said.
Millard's girlfriend -- who has been charged with accessory after the fact in relation to the case and will be tried separately -- will testify that she helped him move the incinerator to a stand of trees on his farm near Waterloo, Ont., the Crown lawyer said.
Fraser said police also seized letters Millard wrote to his girlfriend from jail that asked her to persuade one of his friends to change the information given to police.
That friend, Fraser said, will testify that he heard both Millard and Smich planning to steal a truck.
Millard was arrested on May 10 and originally charged with forcible confinement and theft of a vehicle. Smich was arrested 12 days later.
Both were charged with first-degree murder after Bosma's body was found.