Mark Smich surveillance photos from Tim Bosma trial

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Mark Smich in Oakville the week before his arrest and two days after his friend Dellen Millard was charged with first degree murder

Mark Smich in Oakville the week before his arrest and two days after his friend Dellen Millard was charged with first degree murder

The complete set of surveillance photos shown today at the trial of Mark Smich and Dellen Millard for the murder of Tim Bosma can be found at the link.

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

DNA and blood evidence from the Tim Bosma trial

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A slide from the presentation shown in court Feb. 29. Expert witness James Sloots, forensic biologist

A slide from the presentation shown in court Feb. 29. Expert witness: James Sloots, forensic biologist

Here is a link to the DNA presentation shown today at the trial for the murder of Tim Bosma. (FYI, I removed two slides showing human remains)

Dispatches from the Tim Bosma trial: Day 5

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AmbitionTattooByIgorTumanenko

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

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MarkSmichAdmissionStatement

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?”

“No.”

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

“Correct.”

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?”

“No.”

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.’”

“Correct.”

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

“Correct.’

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.

“No.”

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

“Yes.”

“Prior to this, you had no problem.”

“Correct.”

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

Yes.

“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

“Yes.”

“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?”

“Yes.”

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?”

“No.”

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?”

Yes.

“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?”

“No.”

“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?”

“No.”

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?”

“Yes.”

“You are agreeing with me?”

“Yes.”

“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?”

“Yes.”

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?”

“Yes.”

“Truthful?”

“Yes.”

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 Murder Trial AMA (Strings Attached)

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After taking a few days to think about how I can best cover the Tim Bosma trial and what I can do here on my website that not every other reporter in the courtroom is already doing, I’ve decided to try and host an ongoing AMA. (AMA — if you’re not familiar with the term, which originates with Reddit — stands for Ask Me Anything.)

Although in this case, it will have to be “Ask Me Anything that I can answer without the risk of being in contempt of court.” A trial is a very sensitive time. Journalists take great pains to only report on what’s said and done in court in front of the jury. We can’t cover anything else.

So that means you can AMA about what happens in court in front of the jury and I will try to provide the answer. After a few days, I’ll assess whether it’s a workable plan for the rest of the trial and whether people are interested.

Please ask your question(s) by leaving a comment and I will answer when I get the chance. My goal is to do so asap after you ask it, but I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep. This is a work in progress.

Here’s an example:

Arnie asks: Hi Ann … you are one of my favorite reporters on this case and I look forward to your book in the future. Have you been able to tell if the “ambition” tattoo has a rectangular border around it or not?

Me: This is what my notes (not the official transcript) show about the witness who spotted the Ambition tattoo. He appeared on Thursday and will be back Monday:

Igor Tumanenko said: “It was saying ambition and it was in a frame.”

“Small or capitals?” prosecutor Brett Moodie asked

“I think it was capitals,” Tumanenko answered.

Snoop Beaver asks: How much advance notice do reporters have of the list of witnesses?

Me: It varies from day to day. Also, keep in mind, no one ever knows how long a witness will take. The trial powered through seven witnesses on Wednesday and finished early. Then there were, nine or ten scheduled for Thursday, and they didn’t get through three. A trial is very much a work in progress.

Snoop Beaver: Does (Dellen) Millard have supporters in court – friends, family?

Me: It’s possible that both he and (Mark) Smich do. Reserved seating is available for the families of the accused, but they may prefer to sit in non-reserved seats in the body of the courtroom.

Arnie asks a follow-up: In the courtroom , is the “ambition” tattoo visible, and  does it have a rectangular box around it? thanks

Me: No tats on display in the courtroom.

A reader asks:  Was the Mississauga phone number explained in court? Is it the number of any of the truck owners who were contacted for a test drive?

Me: The Mississauga number refers to a telephone number phoned by the so-called Lucas Bate phone. It was brought up in Day 3 of testimony. It belonged to a Colin B and/or Sharon B in Mississauga.

Hamilton police officer John Tselepakis was asked to look into that and another number in Kitchener. While visiting the person connected to the  other number in the 519 area code, he and his partner Paul Hamilton were sent to go check out the hangar. They did not follow up on the Mississauga number at that time.

Some questions from C:

Q: Can the prosecution or defense counsels recall witnesses at a later date to clarify or give additional testimony to their original testimony in court as evidence unfolds and develops in this case?

A: Yes.

Q: When Millard’s GF testifies, will the jury be told that she is also charged in connection with the case?

A: Yes, the jury will be told. They already have been told. Here is what the Crown said in its opening statement:

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.

 


And a reminder: I can only answer your questions about what happened in court in the presence of the jury. If it has not been dealt with in court before the jury, I cannot answer you at this time.

Here’s an example of a question I can’t answer from Arnie:

Q: Do you think the DVR (Digital Video Recorder) found at Ms Noudga’s home was the security recording unit for the whole hangar ?? I do , because there are numerous cameras at the hangar , at least on the outside.

A: I have no idea and, even if I did, I couldn’t tell you because there has been no testimony about the DVR in court yet. The only reference was in the Crown’s opening address, which is not evidence. Prosecutor Craig Fraser said on Monday Feb. 1:

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.

 

If you want an idea of how the trial will unfold over the next weeks and months, read the Crown’s full opening address, but please be aware, as it says in the statement, it is not evidence but an outline of the case the crown will work to prove.

Both the accused Dellen Millard and Mark Smich are pleading not guilty to first degree murder.


 

I’ve created a Twitter list if you want to follow the reporters covering the trial in real time. You can also  follow my Twitter feed or sign up for my newsletter depending on how you prefer to get your news alerts.

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Dispatches from the Tim Bosma murder trial: Day 4

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This is the day Igor Tumemenko is scheduled to testify. He is the man who identified the Ambition tattoo on another test drive, the day before Tim Bosma went missing. At one of Det. Sergeant Matt Kavanagh’s May 2013 news briefings, he was described as an exceptionally large individual.

Yesterday, day three of the trial, we learned in court that he drew the Ambition tattoo on a piece of wood.


Read Dispatches from the Tim Bosma murder trial: Day 3


Court resumes for the fourth day of the Tim Bosma murder trial at 10 a.m. today, Thursday February 4.

If you want an idea of how the trial will unfold over the next weeks, read the Crown’s full opening address, but please be aware, as it says in the statement, it is not evidence but an outline of the case the crown will work to prove.

Yesterday was a very busy day at the trial with seven witnesses. You can read about it here.

I’m going to try and get my Day 4 coverage up a little earlier than I have been but no promises.

Update: I’ve changed my mind about doing daily trial coverage and am testing out an AMA variation. Details here

Dispatches from the Tim Bosma Murder Trial: Day 3

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Court resumes for the third day of the Tim Bosma murder trial at 10 a.m. today, Wednesday February 3.

I’ve replaced my opening statement notes from Monday with the Crown’s full address. It’s a really well written outline of the case which gives a good idea what to expect at the trial, but please be aware it is not evidence.


 

Day 3

Greg Jackson looks like a cop. Tall, grey-haired, craggy faced and on the force for 30 years. He was the so-called file manager on the Tim Bosma case. He’s here to give “the narrative” of what happened in the early stages of the investigation, to provide the jury with knowledge of the chronology.

Jackson made what’s known as a “humanitarian request” to get information asap from Tim’s cell provider. It was quickly established that the calls from the prospective truck buyer came from a phone registered to Lucas Bate. Next, the police took steps to see where the phone had been active by looking at tower locations. They also checked the other numbers called by the so-called Bate phone and established that one of numbers led to a kijiji ad for a truck.

Jackson and Sergeant Greg Rodzoniak went to see the owner of this truck, Igor (sorry don’t yet have the spelling of his last name) in person on the afternoon of Tuesday May 7. He said two males had come to test drive the truck and one had an Ambition tattoo on his wrist. Igor drew the tattoo on a piece of wood, marking a border around the outside of the letters. Someone, police or prosecutors, still has that piece of wood.

Identification officers also inspected Igor’s truck but couldn’t get fingerprint impressions. They attempted to lift a footwear impression on the rear driver’s side.

Police also made a humanitarian request to Wind Mobile regarding the Bate phone, looking for the cell phone towers it pinged in the hours before Tim Bosma went missing.

Using Google, Jackson checked into various tower locations and and saw it had pinged a Brantford tower at 10:56 p.m.

The next day, a crime analyst creates a tower and cell phone map for them. They also got more information on the Bate phone which was in Oakville at 7:24 on the morning of May 6. At 5:13 Tim called the Bate phone. At 7:22, it contacted Tim and then again at 9:04.

Meanwhile after discovering they had nothing in their record systems about an Ambition tattoo, they reached out to other police forces.

“You received information from two reliable police sources in Peel and Toronto that Mr.Millard had an Ambition tattoo,” assistant Crown Tony Leitch asked Jackson.

“That’s correct.”

After learning Mr. Millard’s phone number, police contacted Rogers to get details of its recent activity and received a series of tower locations phone had been using. They found the phone pinging towers near his home in Etobicoke at 5:13 and 5:33, in Oakville at 7:59 and 8:13, in Ancaster at 9:02, in Brantford at 9:44 and in Cambridge at 11:48 and 11:59.

“Mr. Bosma was still missing,” said Jackson. “It provided the investigative team with other locations we could check. As well, the phone towers were very similar to the Lucas Bate phone.”

Officers also checked out the address supplied for Lucas Bate and discovered it was a school known as Lakeshore Collegiate. No one by the name of Lucas Bate was registered there.

“We couldn’t identify who it was or identify Lucas Bate,” said Jackson.

Two other officers were also sent to speak with Dennis Araujo, another person contacted by the Bate phone. They were Detective Sergeant Paul Hamilton, who looks more like an Eastern European professor or a watchmaker than a homicide cop, and Detective John Tselepakis. They learned he also had a Dodge Ram pickup for sale but had missed a call from the Bate phone and not reached the caller when he phoned back.

While in the Waterloo area to interview him, detectives were asked to head over to the Millardair hangar and see if they could talk to Dellen Millard. When they arrived they found two men sitting in an office behind the empty reception area. “One identified himself as Mr Millard,” said Hamilton. “He made a comment to the effect of ‘the suits are here’ and he walked out to speak to us.

“He said, ‘let me put this on pause,’ came out of office and closed the door. We continued our discussion. At one point he took a satchel out of the desk in the reception area and put it over his shoulder.”

It was a canvas looking satchel with a brown strap. Igor had described an Indiana Jones-style bag.

“He asked us what would bring us to that particular location,” said Hamilton, who told him it was just another tip that they were investigating.

“What else did you ask him?” says the prosecutor.

“I asked him if it was okay if we had a look around. He said, ‘I thought you were going to say that.’”

When they asked Millard his address, he gave them the address of his farm in Ayr.

“Upon leaving I contacted the investigative team right away and gave them the information,” said Hamilton. “At that point it was decided we would maintain surveillance.”

The two Hamilton cops parked down the road and waited for Waterloo police to bring out the surveillance team.

Leitch asked Hamilton if he saw the man he had questioned that day in the room.

“He’s sitting at the last table in the courtroom with the white shirt on,” the detective replied as Millard raised his right hand in greeting. Hamilton appeared taken aback as did almost everyone else in the courtroom.

Upon cross examination, Millard’s lawyer Ravin Pillay elicited information about the man Millard had been meeting with, who was described as an older white male. He also made the point that Millard had not tried to conceal or hide the satchel.

Mark Smich’s lawyer Tom Dungey had not questions.

After lunch, Detective Tselepakis went over a lot of the same information except when he was asked to identify Millard, the accused did not respond this time.

Next up, witness Dennis Araujo gave his account of his contact with the Lucas Bate phone and the truck he had for sale. He was cross-examined by Pillay’s co-counsel, Nadir Sachak, who established it was a powerful truck good for towing.

Clark Kingswood was witness number five. He had been working as a contractor at the Brantford company Kemira, mowing the lawn when he discovered a cellphone by its fence. “It was covered with a bit of dirt and a bird dropping as well,” he told the court. “It would have interfered with lawn cutting so I stopped the lawn mower.”

When he’d finished his work, he handed the phone over to Liz Rozwell, who was then the production manager at the company. “I cleaned it up,” she explained. Then, since she wasn’t familiar with Samsung phones, she got someone to help her plug it in and turn it on. “There was a whole bunch of dinging.”

They didn’t read all the texts downloading but instead went into the contacts. Rozwell called the number labelled as “home.” Tim’s sister answered, told her not to touch anything and call 911. The police arrived and took the phone, checked video and interviewed Kingswood and Rozwell. There was no relevant video.

Upon cross examination, PIllay established from both Kingswood and Rozwell that the phone was not damaged and appeared, apart from the dirt, to be in good condition and operable. Dungey had no questions.

The final witness of the day was retired homicide detective Randy Kovacsik, who had gone out with Greg Rodzoniak to get the phone and interview the witnesses.

And that was it — seven witnesses at a fast speed after some legal wrangling early in the day.

Back tomorrow for the last day of trial this week. The court isn’t sitting on Fridays due to the expected duration of the trial.

Throughout the trial I will be providing regular updates here on my blog plus 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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Dispatches from the Tim Bosma murder trial: Day 2

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Court resumes at 1 p.m. today February 2.

The Bosmas’ tenant Wayne De Boer will return to the witness box to pick up where he left off yesterday.

Did you know in Canada we’re supposed to call it the witness box and not the stand? I think an argument can be made for stand, however, so as not to confuse it with prisoners’ box if you’re just talking about “the box” as lawyers often do.

Both the accused, Dellen Millard and Mark Smich, are pleading not guilty.

Update: What happened in court

Compared to Day One, today was more low key.

Witness Wayne De Boer was cross examined by Millard’s lawyer Ravin Pillay and Smich’s lawyer Tom Dungey. What follows are snippets of dialogue not a transcript-style reproduction. I have just picked and highlighted some interesting exchanges.

“The first guy came forward, made eye contact, and you felt you could trust him, right?” asked Pillay referring to his client’s behaviour on the night of the fatal test drive.

“Yes, as much as you can trust a stranger, yes,” replied De Boer.

“The other guy didn’t make eye contact, hung back, concealed his face and body, right?” asked Pillay, this time about Mark Smich.

De Boer agreed with his assessment.

Then, Tom Dungey, who had declined to cross examine Sharlene Bosma, headed to the lectern to question De Boer.

“The tall guy was really control of situation at all times?” he asked.

“From what I could see, yes,” answered De Boer.

“Did he leave you with impression he wasn’t there to buy truck?” Dungey asked.

“I can’t be sure,” said De Boer.

“You had some hesitation to what was going on, did you not?”

“Yes, the situation had an odd feel to it.”

Dungey asked De Boer if he found it odd that the tall guy didn’t want to move the truck to better view it in the light from the garage.

“It was a mixture of that and body language of (Mark Smich) and the speed at which the entire interaction happened.” said De Boer.

The cross examination concluded.

After that we heard from a friend of Tim Bosma’s and two police witnesses.

The friend described a visit with Tim in the early hours of the evening he went missing and how, during it, Tim was contacted by the prospective truck buyer.

The first officer traced the provenance of a phone involved in the case. It was a Huawei U2801 purchased at Mobile Tech in Etobicoke on March 11, 2013. The name given by the buyer was Lucas Bate and the number was 647 303 2279. No surveillance footage was available as the store only had video going back to April 1.

The second police officer was a fingerprint expert who gave a full CSI explanation of fingerprint matching and detailed how he matched a right thumb fingerprint on the rearview mirror to Dellen Millard’s right thumb.

The trial continues tomorrow morning at 10 a.m.

I’ve replaced my opening statement notes from yesterday with the Crown’s full address. It’s a really well written outline of the case which gives a good idea what to expect at the trial.

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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Dispatches from the Tim Bosma murder trial: Day 1

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There were a few things that stood out for me on the opening day of the trial of Dellen Millard and Mark Smich for the murder of Tim Bosma:

The totality of the Crown’s opening statement laying out the case the prosecution will work to prove. Read summary of the statement

Sharlene Bosma describing how Tim was pacing up and down wondering where the potential truck buyers were and why they came so late. He asked his wife if he should go with them. “I said, ‘yes you should because we want the truck to come back,'” Sharlene testified as she choked back tears.

Just a few minutes before, assistant Crown attorney Tony Leitch had asked her, “I know you’re not a big car person but what do you know about the rims?”

“They were all the same,” said Sharlene to laughter in the courtroom. Even a murder trial has its moments of levity.

After Tim left on the test drive, Sharlene and the Bosmas’ tenant Wayne De Boer were smoking and discussing the two prospective truck buyers. They agreed they were sketchy.

“I felt like it was a weird situation to be in — just how quickly everything had happened. I tried to defuse the situation,” De Boer testified. He did this with black humour, joking about the worst possible, most extreme, unimaginable outcome. “Yeah that was weird,” he said. “It might be the last time we ever see him.” 

Two people haunted by what they said when everyone in the courtroom could likely see themselves saying and doing the exact same thing.

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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Tim Bosma Trial: the Crown’s opening statement

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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:

GOOD MORNING

THE TRUCK

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.

THE ELIMINATOR

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.

THE AFTERMATH

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.

CONCLUSION

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

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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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Adnan Syed and the systemic dismissal of real violence against women

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I have written a number of articles about the troubling phenomenon of how Adnan Syed, a guy rightfully convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, became a poster child for the wrongfully convicted. I’m especially disquieted by how Syed supporters wave away and dismiss all the warning signs of intimate partner violence.

In light of his upcoming post-conviction relief hearing on February 4 and 5 and the attention being showered on Adnan apologists, I wanted to put the key links in one place:

Adnan Syed I'm going to kill note

Adnan Syed wrote “I’m going to kill” on the back of the note, which his supporters variously dismiss as a “stray thing” and so much teenage drama

1) Serial podcast rehabilitated a schoolgirl’s murderer, so where’s the feminist outrage?

There has not been one serious feminist critique of Serial in the mainstream US media. Yes, a couple of Brit pundits expressed shock, but that was before Christmas (2014) and they were pretty much ignored and then forgotten. Just like race beat out gender two decades ago at the OJ trial, allowing a wife killer to be transformed into a symbol of justice for African Americans, so, today, can Adnan can be hailed as a representative of the wrongfully convicted despite the plentiful evidence against him and the transcripts that show he had a fair trial. Koenig’s “I nurse doubt” cri de coeur is V.2014 of “if the glove don’t fit you must acquit.” Read complete article

2) Adnan advocate-in-chief Rabia Chaudry responds to my feminist critique of Serial, and I respond back to her

Your crowd, Rabia, has shown no qualms about smearing innocent people including, among many others — Stephanie, Don, Don’s mother, Detectives Ritz and MacGillivary, and, most favourite of all, Jay. In short, pretty much anyone who’s not Adnan. Here’s your own brother suggesting, with zero evidence, that Stephanie might have done it:

Rabia's brother Saad suggests in his Reddit AMA that maybe Stephanie killed Hae

Rabia’s brother Saad suggests in his Reddit AMA that maybe Stephanie killed Hae

Accusations of murder are thrown around like they’re nothing, which is pretty ironic given that the goal of all this is to get a guy out of jail who’s ostensibly been wrongly convicted of murder. Read complete article

3) ‘Injustice porn’ like Making a Murder and Serial celebrates men who kill and abuse women

Injustice porn history is repeating itself with Making a Murderer. The directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos leave out key evidence about Avery’s possible guilt and history of violence against women. They also portray Avery’s parents as kindly homespun hillbillies, showing his father tending to his garden and his mother spending years fighting to get her son out of jail. They skip over the fact that Avery looks like he might have fetal alcohol syndrome and don’t bother to mention that all three of Avery brothers have criminal records including multiple charges for assaulting women.

As a result of these omissions — apparently no big deal in injustice porn land — the abusive and dysfunctional Avery family has developed quite the internet fan following. In contrast, family and friends of the victim have been subject to internet abuse based on their treatment in Making a Murderer. “Mike Halbach seems awfully creepy,” tweets Kinsey Schofield, a tv personality and journalist  to her 286,000 Twitter followers. Read complete article

Clickbait: Rape trial witness questioned about clothes, job, property purchases

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With the Jian Ghomeshi trial about to begin and lots of talk about the shocking manner in which sexual assault victims are treated in court, I wanted to show you some examples of the type of questioning and testimony you see in other sexual assault cases. The following passages are from a trial that took place in Toronto last summer. The witness’s clothes, employment history, love life and property-buying habits are all called into question:

Q: You’ve developed a taste for the finer things, I think that’s fair to say

A: I like things with good quality and good design if that’s what you mean

Q: That’s one of the things I mean. You’re sitting here today. You’re wearing a designer outfit. You’re wearing a ring on your finger and what looks like a very expensive watch on your wrist. Would you agree with what I’m saying right now?

A: Yes, yes.

Q: And the outfit you’re wearing, that doesn’t look like something you can just go into a regular store and buy.

A: (Nervous laughter) I did have it made in Hong Kong. It’s a few hundred Canadian dollars.

Q: Several hundred, right?

A: Yes, several hundred.

Q: And you have a deep appreciation for culture, right?

A: Yes.

Q: And you’re familiar with the latest designers, the latest and great photographers, right?

A: Right.

************

Q: From an economic perspective, did you have a comfortable life when you were growing up in China?

A: Yes, I did.

Q: You completed two masters degrees. And then, how soon after … did you move to Canada? Why?

A: When I was very young I picked up a magazine and I saw a beautiful photo of maple leaves and I found out there was a country called Canada… I was in love with canada when I was little and that’s always been my goal (to live here).

Q: Are you the only child?

A: I am the only child.

Q: So, help us understand, you come to Canada, you have two masters degrees, and you start working right away?

A: Yes, I did.

Q: It wasn’t hard for you to find a job, you were qualified?

A: Yes. I believe I landed in April and started working in June or July.

Q: And these weren’t entry level jobs, right?

A: It was a senior level job, yes

Q: Good salary?

A: Yes, I believe the first salary I was making at the time was 75K, $75,000 per year.

Q: And I take it a job like that is a demanding job that requires you to work a good number of hours per week. Is that fair?

A: Yes.

Q: I take it working hard like that doesn’t leave you a whole lot of time for other interests.

A: Yes, correct.

Q: Now, you said you had a boyfriend around 2012?

A: Yes

Q: Is that same person you’re seeing now

A: We broke up

Q: Is that someone you’d been seeing for a long time or a short time?

A: For a long time, so for two years

Q: So you were with (this person) for two years. I take it, it was a bit of a challenge to find the time to spend with one another with your work schedule?

A: Yes.

Q: Had you been with him for two years (at the time of the incident)?

A: No, no. At the time we were together for about half a year.

Q: I guess early stages of the relationship?

A: Right, right.

Q: It was a serious one?

A: It was a serious one, yes.

Q: You weren’t living together ?

A: No but towards the end we got engaged but then in the end we broke up.

**************

Q: Now, you own five properties in Toronto right?

A: Yes I did.

Q: How do you come to acquire five separate properties when you’re making $75,000 a year? That’s pretty good

A: (In 2008) I was raised to $90,000 a year and not long after that I was raised to 120… In Canada at the time, because i was a permanent resident, I only had to pay 20% down, and the first property I bought was a bungalow. I bought it for 350,000 Canadian. I was able to put a down payment and I was able to keep up with the mortgages. And the subsequent property (purchases were) in a similar fashion. So they’re not very expensive properties. They’re condos for $200,000 dollars, around that mark… I was able to continue to  save up and pay for the downpayment and, because my income at that stage was good enough for the bank to approve me, I was able to acquire additional properties year by year.

Q: So, I just, I mean, from a math perspective, I’m having a hard time understanding how you’re able to carry five separate properties. If you’re putting 10 or 20% down on each, you’re talking about — even if they’re $200,000 — you’re talking about a significant amount of capital… You’re not living with relatives in Toronto, are you?

A: No…The way I acquired property is because I only need to live in one property at a time. The other property was for investment purposes. And every time, so long as i can work out the downpayment — I did the calculation before I purchased it — so the rent was able to carry the cost of the property. The rent would cover, for example for a house, it would be property tax and mortgages. For a condo, it would be property tax and mortgages plus the maintenance fees. And that was all worked out … so actually, the more properties I acquire the more positive cash flow I actually had so it was actually quite a successful model

Q: Well, that is a very successful model. I guess one of the questions that comes to my mind is just the outlay of capital that’s required. I just want to know — you must have gotten some help from your parents?

A: Yes, yes I did … And that was just for the initial purchase. My parents did send money to help me put down money for the first property.

Q: And I take it you would agree with me that you have parents who are living in China, and they’re sending you money, that’s the capital?

A: Yes.

Q: And I take it, that’s unusual. Most Chinese immigrants who come to Canada aren’t getting thousands of dollars wired to them in Toronto so that they can make investments. Maybe I’m wrong, you can correct me if I’m wrong but that does seem an unusual situation?

A: I can’t comment on that because I don’t know other people’s situations. That was the situation for me and my parents had a good career … and they had quite good dispensable income and, to be honest, I had never really asked them for money…not until 2008, that was when I purchased my first property.

 

Full disclosure: I tricked you. This was not the cross examination of the complainant witness by some scurrilous defence lawyer but rather of the defendant John Doe by the crown attorney. I changed a few “girlfriend” references to boyfriend references. I replaced her with him on occasion and I substituted designer outfit for three-piece suit with and got rid of tailor-made.

Apart from that, however, the testimony is accurate. My point in posting it was to show that — contrary to the mythology — the way sexual assault  trials are handled has changed drastically from the 1970s, when feminists first started talking about rape and the law.

I have been following that discussion about rape and the legal system since I was a teen and watched the 1974 made-for-TV movie, A Case of Rape. It starred none other than Samantha from Bewitched aka Elizabeth Montgomery, and can still be seen on YouTube in multiple grainy parts for a truly authentic seventies experience.

The movie — along with my late mother’s copies of Our Bodies, Ourselves and The Female Eunuch — made a huge impression on my teenage self. As did Susan Brownmiller’s 1975 classic, Against our Will. Shortly thereafter, I remember being extremely conflicted about enjoying Winston Graham’s brilliant Poldark books and the 1975 TV series due to Ross’s rape of Demelza. (A Poldark remake was made last year but I’ve resisted reading about how they handled that rape.)

But I digress. What I was doing there was letting you know my feminist credentials. My mother bought Our Bodies, Ourselves. I’ve read my Brownmiller and Grier. I’m troubled by glorifications of rape in literature and the popular culture. I get how women who were raped used to be shamed and treated like villains instead of victims in the bad old days.

But I am here to tell you that things have changed. They are not what they used to be.

It is now Germaine Greer and Susan Brownmiller who are being shamed by third wave feminists who can’t tolerate any dissent from the party line. When I wrote an 8-part series on a rape trial for The Walrus magazine last year, my daughter (in the final year of getting a mathematics degree so take that STEM feminists) would not post a link to it on her social media for fear she would be shamed by the type of young feminists who specialize in silencing people who don’t share their identical world vision.

After that Walrus article, I attended parts of two more sexual assault trials. In one case, two Nigerian Canadian defendants were found not guilty by the jury. In the case, from which I quote above, the defendant was found guilty by the judge. I was shocked by the decision and if I read the mood in the courtroom right, I think everyone including the prosecutor was astonished.

It was a classic he said/ she said case. I had problems with both the defendant and the complainant. There were times when, for me, their accounts rang true, and other times, when they both struck me as slippery. I have no idea how anyone could get beyond reasonable doubt to a guilt verdict in a case like that.

In his ruling, the judge stated that a criminal trial should never be a credibility contest, but then, in my opinion, he went on to referee just that — a credibility contest. It struck me that he was obeying the slogan that one must always believe the woman and never question anyone who claims to be a victim.

That’s not, however,  where my feminism takes me. While I will always recognize that sexual violence and violence against women have a history of being under reported and under prosecuted, I will not leap from there to the conclusion that the accused is guilty when the situation is murky. Nor will  I shy away from saying that there are far more murky situations than those in the anti-sexual violence movement care to acknowledge.

Last year, Jeannie Suk, a professor at Harvard Law School, wrote in the New Yorker:

Fighting (sexual assault)  entails, among other things, dismantling the historical bias against victims, particularly black victims—and not simply replacing it with the tenet that an accuser must always and unthinkingly be fully believed. It is as important and logically necessary to acknowledge the possibility of wrongful accusations of sexual assault as it is to recognize that most rape claims are true. And if we have learned from the public reckoning with the racial impact of over-criminalization, mass incarceration, and law enforcement bias, we should heed our legacy of bias against black men in rape accusations.

The defendant, whose testimony I quoted above, was sentenced in November 2015, marched from the courtroom in handcuffs, and, to the best of my knowledge is still in prison.( I am writing this on the weekend and have temporarily misplaced the notebook in which I wrote the duration of the sentence handed down. I believe it was a two year penitentiary sentence.)

The defendant has appealed the judge’s ruling and his case will likely be heard in August or September of this year, almost a year after sentencing. He has hired Marie Henein and Danielle Robitaille to handle the case. I will be covering the appeal after I finish my book on the Tim Bosma case.

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Jury picking gets underway in Tim Bosma murder trial

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Screenshot 2016-01-17 at 9.40.24 PM

Dellen Millard at Toronto West courthouse by Alexandra Newbould

I’m off to Hamilton for the first day of the Tim Bosma murder trial, which starts tomorrow with jury selection. The accused are Dellen Millard and Mark Smich, who are both pleading not guilty.

Millard spent the last two weeks in Toronto court attending the preliminary hearing for the Wayne Millard murder case. Justice Diane Oleskiw will rule on March 4 whether Dellen will stand trial for the first degree murder of his father, Wayne.

If you’re wondering why the press hasn’t mentioned certain issues, I have two words for you — publication ban. The run-up to a trial is always a very sensitive time. However, do remember that publication bans are temporary and will eventually be lifted.

And finally, if you’re like me, you probably shake your head at a lot of courtroom sketches that barely resemble the accused — or anyone else, for that matter. Well, I just discovered a really good sketch artist, Alexandra Newbould. Check out her work, including the Millard sketch above, on Twitter. I shrunk it down to thumbnail size so as not to violate any copyrights. You have to click to see it in its full glory on the artist’s Instagram.


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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‘Injustice porn’ like Making a Murder and Serial celebrates men who kill and abuse women

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Yet feminist critics of this new entertainment genre are missing in action

We are in the middle of what, for lack of a better description, I will call a radical feminist moment. Not a day goes by without some poor soul being shamed on the internet for a multitude of sins ranging from mansplaining and manspreading to not fully supporting affirmative consent policies or depriving women of jobs in the gaming industry.

Yet right in the middle of this media-fuelled, girl-power moment, something inexplicable has happened. A new favourite entertainment genre — let’s call it “injustice porn” — has emerged that celebrates the men who kill and abuse women.

Funnily enough, the usual feminist suspects have next to nothing to say about injustice porn’s woman problem. And even weirder, the genre’s most recent hits — the 2014 podcast Serial and the 2015 Netflix documentary series, Making a Murderer — are produced and directed by women who systematically minimize, dismiss and ignore crimes against women.

The result of our current over-fixation on things like everyday sexism and microaggressions has been not just to turn the trivial into the supposedly important but the inverse as well — it’s made the important trivial.

Thus when Steven Avery douses a cat and gasoline and throws it on a fire to watch it suffer, the directors of Making a Murderer suggest their protagonist was just goofing around and the cat mistakenly fell in the fire. Adding insult to injury, online apologists explain that this is how rural folk treat animals.

10 Questions about Making a Murderer

Dr. Drew Pinsky, an addiction medicine specialist, pointed out on the Reasonable Doubt podcast that Steven Avery looks like he suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome, but that doesn’t fit the lovable-Avery-clan narrative (Photo: courtesy of Netflix)

Likewise, when Adnan Syed, the hero of Serial, writes “I’m going to kill” on a break-up note written to him by his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, journalist Sarah Koenig dismisses it as a “a detail you’d find in a cheesy detective novel” and a “stray thing” that could be meaningless. Never mind that 18-year-old Lee actually ended up murdered, her body dumped and half buried in a Baltimore park. Koenig can’t even be bothered to ask Syed about the note.

The Serial journalist also managed to overlook the fact that Hae asked a teacher to help her hide from Adnan and that, in her diary, she described her ex-boyfriend’s possessiveness as a problem, a direct contradiction of what was said on the podcast.  Yet despite Koenig’s consistent minimization of incidents that are classic warning signs of intimate partner violence, there has, in almost a year and a half, not been one serious feminist critique of in the mainstream US media. (Yes, early on a couple of Brits expressed shock, but they were pretty much ignored and then forgotten.) Instead, Serial won the prized Peabody Award for excellence in broadcast journalism.

Screenshot 2016-01-10 at 1.31.35 PM

Hae Min Lee wrote a break-up note to Adnan Syed telling him to move on, accept her decision to end their relationship, and “hate me if you will”

 

Adnan Syed I'm going to kill note

Adnan Syed wrote “I’m going to kill” on the back of the note, which his supporters variously dismiss as a “stray thing” and so much teenage drama

Now, injustice porn history is repeating itself with Making a Murderer. The directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos leave out key evidence about Avery’s possible guilt and history of violence against women. They never explain why he asked specifically for Teresa Halbach, the 25 year old woman he was convicted of murdering, to come to the Avery salvage yard and photograph his sister’s car. They fail to mention how he had answered the door in a towel on one of her previous work visits. Nor do they acknowledge that Avery used *67, which blocks the callers’ name, to phone her twice on the day she disappeared.

The filmmakers also portray Avery’s parents as kindly homespun hillbillies, showing his father tending to his garden and his mother spending years fighting to get her son out of jail. They skip over the fact that Avery looks like he might have fetal alcohol syndrome and don’t bother to mention that all three of Avery brothers have criminal records including multiple charges for assaulting women.

Older brother Charles was charged and acquitted of sexual assault in 1988. And then in 1999, his ex-wife accused him of sexual assault and wrapping a phone cord around her neck. Along the way, he pled guilty to disorderly conduct. Younger brother Earl pleaded no contest to sexual assault and two different sets of battery charges. He was also charged with sexually assaulting his two daughters.

As a result of these omissions — apparently no big deal in injustice porn land — the abusive and dysfunctional Avery family has developed quite the internet fan following. Stop by Reddit’s Making a Murderer forum and you can participate in threads entitled: Anyone else wanna give Steve Avery’s mom a big hug?, “I know you like lettuce.” – The incredibly endearing Allan Avery” and What can we do to help the Avery family?

In contrast, family and friends of the victim have been subject to internet abuse based on their treatment in Making a Murderer. “Mike Halbach seems awfully creepy,” tweets Kinsey Schofielda tv personality and journalist  to her 286,000 Twitter followers.

Screenshot 2016-01-10 at 9.19.25 AM

“My “#MikeHalbach is the worst” tweet is still getting likes. I’m so happy people agree. Mike…you are the worst. #MakingAMurderer,” boasts Seth Lieber, who describes himself as an Actors’ Equity member.

Screenshot 2016-01-10 at 9.21.51 AM

Empathy is not a requirement for injustice porn fans

While the filmmakers aren’t responsible for every idiot on the internet, this reaction was completely predictable. Ricciardi and Demos treated Mike Halbach, Teresa’s brother and the family spokesman, unconscionably. Every time he appears, he’s made to say something that’s just been carefully debunked for the audience. From his very first quote, about how the process of grieving his sister might take days (yes, days!), the directors never miss an opportunity to make him look bad. Halbach doesn’t get so much as one sympathetic quote. The only thing the filmmakers don’t do is play spooky music whenever he appears.

Such are the requirements of injustice porn. When the convicted man is your protagonist, the audience requires and will find someone to witch hunt. After Serial ended, Syed’s advocate-in-chief, Rabia Chaudry, joined up with two other lawyers to start the Undisclosed podcast, which, since its inception, has produced one conspiracy theory after another, smearing a long list of people along the way.

Their friend and fellow Serial-obsessed podcaster Bob Ruff devoted show after 2015 show to innuendo and unfounded accusations that Don, the guy Hae dated after she dumped Adnan, was a far more likely killer even though he had something very important that Adnan didn’t — an alibi.

Nor is Injustice porn kind to victims although it often tries to disguise this with hashtags like #JusticeforHae #FreeAdnan, while ignoring the fact that freeing remorseless Adnan would be about the biggest injustice possible for Hae.

Screenshot 2016-01-10 at 9.32.10 AM

Injustice porn fans turn the female victims into props designed to support the most ludicrous and offensive theories. For the purpose of finding her fantasy, anyone-but-Adnan killer, Rabia Chaudry suggested Hae, who took only the occasional puff of pot, was a weed smoker with a big enough habit that she would be visiting shady drug dealers after school, which was how she got killed. Hashtag victim blaming.

In a related vein, Making a Murderer uses footage of Teresa Halbach, talking about what would happen if she were to die, without putting it in context, namely that it was a university video project. As a result, Teresa’s mental health has been questioned and it’s been suggested she might have killed herself although how that would cause her cremains to end up in the Avery salvage yard is never explained. Hashtag more victim blaming.

Yet another fact that Making a Murderer withholds from its audience is that the people Steven Avery’s lawyers would have thrown under the bus — had the judge allowed the defence to name alternate suspects — were his two brothers, his nephew and brother-in-law. That was an inconvenient truth that didn’t fit the adorable Averys narrative and would have taken some explaining. Why bother when it was so much easier just to make Teresa’s brother and ex-boyfriend look bad and serve them up for the online lynch mob?

Essentially, the only reason the filmmakers were able to so successfully mythologize the Averys is because, in 1985, Steven Avery was wrongfully convicted of rape, a crime for which he was exonerated by DNA testing after spending 18 years in jail. The wrongful conviction was a result of tunnel vision on the part of the police, a mishandled identification process for the accused assailant, and the victim’s compelling yet mistaken testimony that it was Avery who had raped and viciously assaulted her. After he was finally released from jail, Avery sued the county for $36 million, but just as it looked like he was about to receive a fat settlement, he was arrested again for the murder of Teresa Halbach. Like all wrongful convictions, it’s a shocking tale — yet something of a challenge for Third Wave feminists preaching that the victim must always be believed.

None of this is to deny that Ricciardi and Demos make a convincing argument that some of the evidence used against Avery in the murder charge might have been planted. And it’s  also hard to disagree with their conclusion that Avery’s 16-year-old cousin was wrongfully charged and convicted, failed by everyone, including his lawyers, at every step of the way. As for Steven Avery himself, I have no idea whether he did it or not. But like his lawyers, I believe that whoever did kill Teresa Halbach was associated with the salvage yard.

In this respect Making a Murderer is very different from Serial, where there was — as the transcripts for Adnan’s trial and the police files of investigation clearly demonstrate — no miscarriage of justice. The prosecutor Kevin Urick was half right when he described the killing of Hae Min Lee as  “pretty much a run-of-the-mill domestic violence murder.”

Where he was wrong however was in his failure to understand that there is indeed a mystery at the heart of Serial. It’s just that it has nothing to do with Adnan Syed, whose unoriginal motive and story are as old as time. What made Serial a mystery was the presence of Jay, a Shakespearean character, who first goes along with Syed, becoming an accessory after the fact to murder, but later confesses his crime to police. His testimony sends Syed to jail for life plus 30, and left every Serial listener puzzling and arguing over why he did what he did.

The post conviction relief hearing recently granted to Syed and coming up in February is the exploitation of a legal loophole and most likely the result of the publicity the podcast generated. The defence is contending that Syed’s counsel was ineffective because she failed to contact Asia McLain, who was presented in the first episode of Serial, entitled The Alibi, as the witness who could have exonerated Adnan had his lawyer done her job. Never mind that Asia’s a total flake who appears to have her alibi days mixed up, she was part of the false groundwork Sarah Koenig laid to convince the audience that something was not quite right about the Syed case and that if they wanted to find out the truth, they would need to accompany her on her emotionally manipulative podcast journey.

The promise was not kept, however. Koenig copped out and never provided the truth. Her “I nurse doubt” cri de coeur was V.2014 of “if the glove don’t fit you must acquit.” Just like race beat out gender two decades ago at the OJ trial, allowing a wife killer to be transformed into a symbol of justice for African Americans, so, today, can Adnan can be hailed as a representative of the wrongfully convicted and the Averys celebrated as exemplary Americans while the Halbachs are trashed.

This is because, in the end, Injustice porn isn’t about either truth or justice. It’s porn, which means it can only supply a cheap frisson. If it leaves you with an uneasy feeling about the women victims, it’s because it should.

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

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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.

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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.

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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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Rabia Chaudry responds to my feminist take on Serial podcast, and I respond back to Rabia

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Earlier this week I received the following email from Rabia Chaudry about my essay criticizing Serial from a feminist perspective:

Dear Ann,

I just read your recent blog post and want to bring a couple of things to your attention. First, you are by all means entitled to being offended by my potty mouth, my best friend 25 years ago declared I have Tourettes (clearly I don’t and neither of us even knew what it meant, but it was a way of explaining my proclivity for profanity), and certainly my mouth leaves much to be desired.

That, however, has nothing to do with things called “facts”. The charge that I falsely accused someone of child molestation is, in fact, false. I accurately pointed out that Mr. B was someone who had been accused by his then wife, in public at the mosque, of such acts. I can connect you with her. You know, so you can actually investigate. Attached you’ll find a clip from Susan’s blog noting his arrest. If you’d like the actual report of the arrest, I can connect you with Susan who can provide it. The community had heard of it back in 1999, and had even internally identified the victim, but since it seems it wasn’t prosecuted in exchange for him not testifying in Adnan’s favor, no one ever understood what happened.

I suggest, as “private investigator”, you’d be better served to find out who this man was and whether he had in fact molested a child before defending him. It doesn’t behoove a PI to make pronouncements about anonymous figures. Kind of defeats your purpose.

I am appalled that someone who calls themselves an investigator would find the attention to autopsy reports “ghoulish”. Isn’t the job of an investigator to do exactly that? Find and then analyze the evidence? Instead of talking about the merits of the lividity issue, this is a rhetorical, baseless attack for the sake of — what, blog hits?  If you have issues with the SUBSTANCE of Colin and Susan’s analysis, that would be worthy to see.  Ad hominem attacks are easy, where’s your analysis on these issues?

When cell tower experts from across the country are calling us to say “hey that evidence was totally misused in Adnan’s trial” and medical experts are telling us Hae was not buried for at least 8 hours, would you have us ignore these experts? When the state’s only witness has once again changed his timeline, rendering the state’s use of the cell phone evidence useless, who do we believe now? The State? Jay?

Jay, who in fact has domestic violence charges on his record, perhaps needs a bit more scrutiny. And certainly the man who killed another young woman in a similar fashion six months prior, from the SAME SCHOOL, does too.

As for Imran’s note, I can connect you with him personally and you can ask about it. If it had any merit at all, the police and prosecution would have used it.

Lastly, as for the Baltimore City Police conduct, you may want to revisit much that’s been written about their corruption, take note of the pending DOJ investigation, and take a listen to our upcoming episode on Monday.

Best,

Here is my reply:

First off, let me get this out of the way. I’m not personally offended by your potty mouth, Rabia. I mentioned it as an example of why you’re a polarizing figure. Some people love a feisty woman keeping it real as she drops F-bombs in the fight against injustice. Others not so much. As I see it, the swearing is just how you roll.

Since you wrote me a frank email, I’m going to give you my honest answers. I’m also going to try really hard not to confuse people who aren’t up on every detail of this case while, at the same time, adding some background to my original blog essay.

The Adnan critic I referred to, who was accused of being a child molester by your friends, was sachabacha. He was attacked on Reddit after he posted anonymously there — making the allegation, later verified by Serial, that Adnan stole from the mosque, and another accusation, not featured on Serial, that Adnan’s brother had called him a “masterful liar.” This resulted in a vicious pile-on designed to shut sachabacha down.

sachabachaaccusedof beingBilal

On Reddit, Rabia and co. originally accused sachabacha, a mosque insider, of being Bilal, an alleged child molester. Above is a deleted quote from Adnan’s brother, Yusef.

Correct me if I’m wrong, Rabia, but I think it’s conceded now that sachabacha is not nor never was Bilal, so the ugly accusations levelled against him, by Adnan’s brother and others, were completely out of line. Luckily for sachabacha, he’s just an anonymous internet person because your crowd has shown no qualms about smearing innocent people including, among many others — Stephanie, Don, Don’s mother, Detectives Ritz and MacGillivary, and, most favourite of all, Jay. In short, pretty much anyone who’s not Adnan.

Here’s your own brother suggesting, with zero evidence, that Stephanie might have done it:

Rabia's brother Saad suggests in his Reddit AMA that maybe Stephanie killed Hae

Rabia’s brother Saad suggests in his Reddit AMA that maybe Stephanie killed Hae

Accusations of murder are thrown around like they’re nothing, which is pretty ironic given that the goal of all this is to get a guy out of jail who’s ostensibly been wrongly convicted of murder.

Perilsoffingerpointing

The problem at the heart of Serial

Now, I’m not suggesting that all this finger pointing at innocent people is your fault, Rabia. People are going to do stupid things and you can’t stop that or be held responsible for every idiot on the internet, but if Saad were my little brother, I would have had a word with him. And if I were you, I also wouldn’t be praising Susan Simpson for her irresponsible exposure of Don’s completely irrelevant employment records.

You and Simpson both say you believe Don’s innocent and then you send out tweets like this. Sure, your official line for putting confidential information about him on the internet is that these were documents filed in court and you need to show that the police were lax in their investigation of Don. Well, in answer to point one, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Here’s an NYT article on the problem with people posting documents from court cases on the internet. And two, Simpson has in no way established that the police did not properly investigate Don. They interviewed him multiple times, they searched his home and workplace, they checked his alibi. (Unlike Adnan, he actually had an alibi.) It’s just ridiculous to argue they should have investigated him more because he had some bad employee reviews. The police do not have unlimited resources and they had a far more likely suspect in Adnan Syed.

Dragging Don through the mud was the example I originally gave of Simpson crossing ethical boundaries yet you accused me of launching baseless ad hominem attacks on her and Colin MIller to get blog hits. Well, yes, I am a journalist so I do want my work to get read, but my critiques were neither baseless nor ad hominem. And since you asked, I’m happy to elaborate on Simpson’s and MIller’s bad habits.

Let’s start with Simpson who specializes in producing reams of irrelevant data, can’t see the forest for the trees, and doesn’t recognize the difference between an assumption and a fact. Here’s a classic example of the latter from one of her first Serial blog posts. For some reason she can’t wrap her head around the idea that Jay might have noticed that Hae’s corpse had no shoes. To show how preposterous this is, she writes:

Sure. Some time during Jay and Adnan’s post-murder road trip through western Baltimore, Adnan could have turned to Jay and said, “By the way, I’m leaving Hae’s shoes in her car.” But does that really sound plausible? Adnan told Jay about what he had decided to do with Hae’s shoes? Of all the things they could talk about, of all the things Adnan might have told Jay, one of them was, “Oh by the way, Hae’s shoes are in her car”? Of course, there’s another explanation for why Jay knows where Hae’s shoes were left. Because he’s the one that left them there. And saying “Adnan told me” is simply Jay’s way of answering everything every question the detectives ask about things only Adnan should have knowledge of.

Do you follow the lack of logic there? In Simpson’s opinion, it’s crazy that Jay would have known about Hae’s shoes therefore Jay was involved in murdering Hae. Not just as an accessory after the fact but as something more. This is a completely unjustified accusation based on a flawed leap of logic. What’s more, this type of magical transformation of assumption into fact happens multiple times in every one of her blog posts  as well as on Undisclosed.

Here’s a more recent example from your podcast. Simpson believes that Cathy has the day that Adnan visited her house wrong, which is important because it’s also the day of the murder. Cathy says she remembers it was that specific day because she went to a conference. Simpson finds a “workshop” related to Cathy’s field of study that  took place on a different day. She assumes, based on nothing, that Cathy must have been confused and attended this other workshop aka conference on another day. The Undisclosed crew declares Cathy is wrong. Again, an assumption is transformed into a fact.

You mentioned I’m a private investigator. I am and I’m also a journalist who writes about crime and courts. One of the things I’ve learned over decades in this business is that when you test your beautifully imagined and constructed theories in the real world, you often find out they’re wrong because people will give you facts and evidence that contradict them. Maybe, unbeknownst to Simpson, Cathy’s conference on January 13, 1999 was written in her diary. Maybe Cristina Gutierrez and her investigator double checked Cathy’s alibi because at trial Adnan’s lawyer references the building in which the conference was held. Maybe the prosecution checked it too, as is standard practice, because you don’t want your key witnesses blowing up on the stand. Maybe Simpson needs to actually talk to Cathy before declaring her a muddled mixer-upper who testified incorrectly 16 years ago.

But enough about Simpson. Let’s talk about Evidence Prof Colin Miller. You’re miffed that I called him ghoulish. Well, frankly, I thought it was better than creepy, which I also considered. You also suggest that I shouldn’t criticize him for investigating autopsy reports and analyzing the evidence. I actually have no problem with Miller playing amateur coroner if that’s his thing. My problem is with him posting his half-baked theories on the internet.

Although you chose to ignore it, I did explain in my essay that the issue with Miller’s blog posts is that there is no purpose to them. Take the one devoted to explaining why Hae’s head injuries demonstrate she couldn’t have been killed in the driver’s seat. In the prosecution’s closing arguments Kathleen Murphy argues that Hae was killed in the passenger seat. It’s only Jay, who wasn’t even there, who says Adnan told him Hae was killed in the driver’s seat. Basically the whole post, like all his other gruesome autopsy posts, is beside the point.

If this is some kind of intellectual exercise for Miller, he should go do it in privacy of his basement. Unless he reveals truly exculpatory evidence, there is simply no justification for putting this type of post on the internet without the permission and blessing of Hae’s family. It’s disrespectful and a violation of a murdered girl’s privacy in every possible way.

The other point that I should make while I am on the subject of Miller and Simpson is that the forensic evidence they discuss is open to interpretation. Their MO is to suggest an improbable hypothetical and show that it’s possible. They then try to demonstrate, unconvincingly, that the prosecution’s version of events must be wrong and theirs must be right. Sometimes, they even drag an expert in to help, which ultimately ends in a case of which lividity or cell phone expert are you going to believe?  The whole exercise is futile and irrelevant. One expert’s interpretation of complex data is not going to spring Adnan from jail. Once a jury of your peers has found you guilty of murder and the appeals court has rejected all but your very last avenue of appeal, you need to find either a large legal loophole or major evidence that proves you innocent. Nothing else matters no matter how many supposedly fishy red herrings Simpson and Miller spot.

Unfortunately for Adnan, he’s been looking for that elusive proof of his innocence for 16 years with no success at all. Even now, with the Innocence Project and This American Life on his side, no one can suggest a remotely plausible version of who killed Hae Min Lee other than Adnan Syed. Your email suggests, Rabia, that you’re grasping at the straw that it was Roy Sharonnie Davis who strangled another Woodlawn high school student in 1998 but wasn’t convicted until 2004 on the basis of DNA. (Not to be confused with Deirdre Enright’s Ronald Lee Moore straw.)

Enright's pinning her hopes on Ronald Lee Moore (above) as Hae's killer. Chaudry thinks it's more likely Roy Sharronie Davis. I think it's neither.

Enright’s pinning her hopes on Ronald Lee Moore (above) as Hae’s killer. Chaudry thinks it’s more likely Roy Sharonnie Davis. I think it’s neither.

The big problem with yours and Deirdre Enright’s third party theories is that there’s zero reason for Jay to be protecting some loser serial killer, be it Roy or Ronald, and even less reason for the cops to be framing Adnan and Jay to protect said serial killer. Not to mention that it’s highly unlikely that, after 16 years, nothing about this would have come to light. People almost always talk and this is exactly the stuff that lowlifes talk about.

Rabia, you make a big deal about how Jay’s a lying liar, which he is, but I’ve got to tell you that I find Jay a whole lot more credible than Adnan, who’s also been lying from the very beginning. On the day Hae disappeared, he told the police he asked her for a ride. Then he said he didn’t. Then he couldn’t remember the day at all, claiming it was just a regular day six weeks ago even though it was the very unregular day the police contacted him about his ex-girlfriend, who he had called three times the night before. And on and on.

Imran email re death of Hae Min Lee

One week after Hae disappeared and five weeks before her body was found, Adnan’s friend Imran wrote this email

Which brings us to the police. You ask me to believe the police didn’t think Imran’s email was important because they didn’t use it in court. Say what? Now, I’m supposed to put my faith in those same bumbling police who didn’t investigate  Don properly and used Jay to frame Adnan to protect some rando serial killer. The same police you accused of corruption on your last episode of Undisclosed?

Rabia, I’m not naive about police. In my work, I criticize them when they deserve it and praise them when they do a good job. I’ve watched The Wire and read David Simon’s Homicide, which BTW features some good and dedicated Baltimore cops. I’ve seen nothing to indicate that Detectives Ritz and MacGillivary engaged in any kind of misconduct whatsoever. Sarah Koenig said they both had good reputations. Jim Trainum said the Hae Min Lee investigation was above average and that they investigated three suspects. Ritz told Koenig that, knowing that Jay was a liar, they corroborated every part of his story.

Unlike most people on the #FreeAdnan boards, I’ve also actually read those court cases involving Ritz that keep getting cited as proof that he’s the devil incarnate. In the Mable case, Ritz was one of dozens of people being sued: Screen shot 2015-05-16 at 3.15.44 PM It was a civil case which never even made it to the discovery phase before the plaintiff dropped out so we have no idea how Ritz would have responded. Then there was another case where Ritz is mentioned in passing for using an interview technique practised by police forces across the country until the courts ordered it modified. That hardly sounds like a black mark agains his character. And most recently, another civil case came out, where Ritz has yet to respond to the allegations against him. Screen shot 2015-05-16 at 3.25.43 PM So what to make of all this? It doesn’t strike me as at all out of the ordinary that a homicide cop in Baltimore would be named in a handful of lawsuits after decades of service. It comes with the territory just like getting snarked on by Susan Simpson. In the name of balance though, you might also want to consider this Baltimore Sun article about Ritz raising money for a child abuse center:

“He solicits all the golfers single-handedly and all the donations single-handedly,” said Ritz’s son, William. “He talks about it all year long, and then he stresses about it the last couple of months leading up to it.” Sometimes, like in police work, his diligence comes at the expense of his health. Last year, while canvassing Inner Harbor businesses for tournament sponsors and after working nearly 36 hours straight on cases, Ritz, physically spent, passed out on the street outside Power Plant Live. He regained consciousness as a few pedestrians helped him to his feet. But rather than seek immediate medical attention, he brushed himself off and headed home, only to continue fundraising later. (He subsequently sought medical attention.)

When I listened to Ritz on the latest episode of Undisclosed, I was struck by how much he sounded like a decent guy, unable to comprehend Jenn’s callous reaction to Hae’s death and Adnan’s plan to kill her. He had the same disbelieving reaction to Jay in episode one of Serial, asking him why he didn’t try to stop Adnan. Where you, Rabia, hear taps and rustling papers and conspiratorial corruption, I hear veteran homicide cops blown away by the casual cruelty and immorality of these kids. Imran’s awful email was yet another example. Hae’s life meant so little to Jay, Jenn and Imran. And to Adnan, who actually killed her.

In her attempt to explain away the Imran email, Simpson told a convoluted tale of two Imrans, claiming erroneously that the writer wasn’t really Adnan’s good friend but another Imran altogether. This is a perfect example of tunnel vision.  Imran’s email looks bad for Adnan so Simpson dismisses it and, worse yet, starts making stuff up to fit her Adnan is innocent theory.

Thanks for offering to put me in touch with Imran H, Rabia. If the offer still stands after this article, I would love to take you up on it. I would like to hear why he wrote what he did and see the apology email he’s rumoured to have sent. I’m a believer in redemption. It’s one of the reasons I feel far more sympathetic to Jay than Adnan — because Jay actually owned up to what he did. While I wish he had gone to jail for his part in the crime, he didn’t so time to let it go. As far as I’m concerned Jay has paid his debt to society. What’s more he’s apologized and shown remorse.

You mention the domestic assault charges he later faced, and say they deserve more scrutiny despite being dropped. You are right that we absolutely do need to hear his ex-girlfriend’s side of things before swallowing the explanation he gave the Intercept.

Since I wrote my essay, there have been more than 500 comments about it. A number of people agreed with me that Sarah Koenig was indeed wrong to brush off well- documented warning signs of intimate partner violence, but argued that wasn’t proof Adnan killed Hae. They were right, of course, but my essay wasn’t about laying out the entire case against Adnan. It was about the oddness of Koenig’s unfeminist ouevre being so lauded at this particular point in time, where we are supposedly so concerned about women’s issues.

So, for the record, let me tell you why I’m convinced Adnan is guilty.

  1. Adnan should remember what happened on that very un-normal day. He was called by police the same day his ex-girlfriend disappeared. He was interviewed by police two weeks later. The whole “I can’t remember that normal day six weeks ago” schtick is total BS. And Koenig was a sucker for believing it. There is no good explanation for why Adnan has no alibi. He was aware the day Hae went missing something was seriously wrong.
  2. Jay has no reason for framing Adnan nor does anyone else let alone Roy Sharonnie Davis or Ronald Lee Moore, who, between the two of them, probably have the combined IQ of a cactus plant.
  3. Adnan has no explanation whatsoever as to how he landed in this position. Yes, I know Deirdre Enright said innocent people often can’t help their case. But she was talking about not being able to find a body in a field as opposed to having no idea whatsoever why your buddy Jay might want to frame you for murder. People who work with killers will also tell you that this vaguey-vague “someone must have framed me but I don’t know why” explanation is a pretty common one among the guilty.
  4. Adnan has consistently lied about how people reacted to Hae’s disppearance, claiming it was no big deal, which is completely implausible. Hae had a new a boyfriend, a class trip to France booked, and university to look forward to. There was no way she’d take off to California in the middle of her senior year.
  5. Adnan’s good friend Imran appears to have been actively trying to discourage Hae’s California friends from looking for her a week after her disappearance, when, according to Adnan, no one was concerned she was gone.
  6. Adnan had no reason for lending Jay his car. The idea that he was concerned about Jay getting a birthday present for Stephanie is laughable.
  7. Adnan lied about asking Hae for a ride, contradicting the testimony of Krista and Debbie.
  8. Adnan wrote “I’m going to kill” on a break-up note from Hae telling him to back off. (If you think that’s no biggie, let me know how you feel about it when you see your daughters writing a note like that and then discover the recipient’s decorated it with “I’m going to kill.”)
  9. Adnan exhibited other stalkery behaviour towards Hae. She hid from him at school and wrote in her diary that he was possessive.
  10. Adnan never tried to contact Hae after January 13th even though he called her three times the night before.
  11. There is no explanation for the Nisha call other than an improbable butt dial.
  12. Adnan’s cell phone records place him in Leakin Park burying Hae’s body.

So that’s it for now, Rabia, 12 points and counting. I’ve probably left something off the list and if I remember it, I’ll add it later. But the bottom line is, just like the jury, I’m convinced way beyond a reasonable doubt that your guy is guilty.

If you ever find some evidence that shows I’m wrong — like the stuff you said a while back that your PI has dug up — let me know. Likewise, if  Adnan decides to admit to his crime, show remorse and ask for forgiveness, I’d like to hear.

Otherwise Rabia, I don’t think this is a gulf that can be crossed. I just can’t get behind the campaign to free a guy who killed his 18-year-old ex-girlfriend and has never once said he feels a single bit of remorse.

There was no miscarriage of justice in the case of Adnan Syed. The fact that he’s in jail is justice.

Serial podcast rehabilitated a schoolgirl’s murderer, so where’s the feminist outrage?

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We are in the middle of what, for lack of a better description, I will call a radical feminist moment. Not a day goes by without some poor soul being shamed on the internet for a multitude of sins ranging from mansplaining and manspreading to making us all live in a rape culture and depriving women of jobs in the gaming industry.

Yet right in the middle of this media-fuelled, girl-power moment, something inexplicable has happened. It is Serial, last year’s blockbuster of a podcast all about loveable, enigmatic Adnan Syed, who back in 1999 murdered Hae Min Lee, the 18-year-old girl, who had just dumped him. Serial, which led many people to conclude — despite piles of evidence to the contrary — that Adnan did not receive a fair trial, was brought to you not by the usual misogynists and rape apologists but by the impeccably liberal staff of This American Life. It was fronted by Sarah Koenig, radio reporter and earth mother extraordinaire.

Adnan Syed I'm going to kill note

Sarah Koenig consistently minimized the warning signs of intimate partner violence, including Adnan Syed’s writing “I’m going to kill” on a break-up note from Hae Min Lee telling him to back off.

As I write (April 20, 2015), the accolades for Serial’s innovative investigative journalism keep rolling in. Earlier today it was announced that it had won a Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting and last week Koenig was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people of 2014. When she isn’t working on the next season of Serial, Koenig’s out being fêted on the speaker circuit. Mysteriously, there are no trigger warnings and calls for safe spaces when Koenig arrives on campus despite her iffy perspective on the very sensitive subject of intimate partner violence.

As an example, consider that in November 1998, two months before she was strangled to death, Hae Min Lee wrote a break-up note to Adnan Syed telling him to move on, accept her decision to end their relationship, and to “hate me if you will.” On the back of this note, Adnan Syed wrote: “I’m going to kill.” The police found the note when they searched the Syeds’ house after his arrest.

Koenig waved this all away, describing it as “a detail you’d find in a cheesy detective novel” and a “stray thing” that could be meaningless. Too bad that we’re talking about real life here and Hae Min Lee did, you know, actually turn up dead. But then Koenig also managed to overlook the fact that Hae asked a teacher to help her hide from Adnan and that, in her diary, she described her ex-boyfriend’s possessiveness as a problem, a direct contradiction of what was said on the podcast.

Teacher testimony transcript Hae hides from Adnan

Teacher Hope Schab helped Hae hide from Adnan but this was never mentioned on Serial. (Trial 1 transcript)

Yet despite Koenig’s consistent minimization of incidents that are classic warning signs of intimate partner violence, there has not been one serious feminist critique of Serial in the mainstream US media. Yes, a couple of Brit pundits expressed shock, but that was before Christmas and they were pretty much ignored and then forgotten.

Just like race beat out gender two decades ago at the OJ trial, allowing a wife killer to be transformed into a symbol of justice for African Americans, so, today, can Adnan can be hailed as a representative of the wrongfully convicted despite the plentiful evidence against him and the transcripts that show he had a fair trial. Koenig’s “I nurse doubt” cri de coeur is V.2014 of “if the glove don’t fit you must acquit.”

I’m not sure, however, that Koenig would have gotten away with the rehabilitation of Adnan Syed, had she not been aided and abetted by the Innocence Project — an organization that pre-podcast I had always respected, but about which I now, to borrow a handy expression from the Serial songbook, nurse some pretty serious doubts. Deirdre Enright, director of investigations for its University of Virginia law school branch, deals a serious blow to Innocence Project credibility every time she opens her mouth about Adnan.

Take, for example, the final episode of Serial in which she asks Koenig: “What makes mores sense? That little 17-year-old, never-been-in-trouble-with-the-law Adnan killed someone or that Ronald Moore, rapist and murderer who got out of prison 13 days before Hae disappeared, that he killed someone?”

“Right, I know,” says a dumbfounded Koenig instead of, “Hold on a minute there, Deirdre. Isn’t it way more likely that a woman will be murdered by her intimate partner as opposed to some random serial killer? And BTW, how does Jay fit into your wild third party strangler theory?”

Oh wait, Koenig did actually ask about Jay and here’s what Enright replied:  “Big picture Sarah, big picture.” The big picture, to put it bluntly, is that Enright is talking like a freaking crazy lady, and if it weren’t for her impressive credentials, no one would be paying the slightest bit of attention to her theories. Emperor, new clothes and all that.

Which brings me to still more lawyers spouting nonsense — Rabia Chaudry, Susan Simpson and Colin Miller, who have been keeping Adnan Syed’s story in the news since Serial ended. Their new Undisclosed podcast made its debut last week, burning its way up the iTunes charts.

As a result of their newfound status as quasi public figures, the Undisclosed lawyers have come in for quite a bit of criticism, some of which is crazy and unhinged, and has, of course, been chronicled in the media. What the MSM fails to mention, however, is that these lawyers have, in a number of instances, demonstrated a startling lack of respect for ethical boundaries.

Chaudry, a polarizing figure with a potty mouth, set the tone right at the beginning of Serial when she and her gang accused an Adnan-critic from the Baltimore Muslim community of being a child molester.

Simpson is more cautious, sticking to innuendo and classic just-asking-questions tactics. She recently published the unflattering employment records of Hae’s last boyfriend Don in a misguided attempt to show police hadn’t done their job (sorry, I don’t want to link to this one), all the while conceding Don didn’t do it. So what’s her excuse for dragging him through the online mud 16 years later then? It’s to make one of her hallmark illogical points — that the police should have devoted more time to investigating an innocent dude.

Miller, meanwhile, has been ghoulishly poring over autopsy reports, a subject in which he has zero scientific training, and talking to “experts” apparently unwilling to attach their names* to his tenuous theories that prove nothing. I can’t help but wonder if he’s ever spared a thought for how Hae’s family might feel about his futile ramblings over her corpse.

Perhaps it’s just coincidence but the debut of Undisclosed and the latest round of Serial plaudits coincided with the arrival on the internet of various documents discrediting the #FreeAdnan movement. Over the weekend, an email written by Adnan’s good high school friend, Imran, made its way on to Reddit. It shows that one week after Hae’s disappearance, before anyone knew she was dead, Imran wrote to a friend of Hae’s in California, who was concerned about her:

Imran email re death of Hae Min Lee

On her blog, Rabia Chaudry brushed this highly troubling email off as a “sick joke.” Other Adnan supporters, a number of whom remain Facebook friends with Imran, also dismiss it as a failed attempt at humour, the type of thing crazy teenagers do — just like Adnan writing “I’m going to kill” on a note from Hae. It’s not clear whether Sarah Koenig ever saw the email although I’ve been told but can’t confirm that Imran was one of the people she interviewed in the Rumours episode of Serial. Imran did not respond to my requests for an interview.

As someone who doesn’t think your average teen is down with joking about a friend’s death, I’m going to suggest a non-humourous interpretation of this callous misogyny: Imran, an Adnan acolyte who doesn’t seem at all moved by the gruesome murder he describes, was clumsily trying to help with a cover-up. I would further suggest that my theory is supported by the fact that after Adnan is arrested, Asia McClain — who is being touted by #FreeAdnan as their new star witness — describes Emron (sic) as upset and looking like “crap.”

Evidently the much maligned police — who Simpson and Chaudry constantly accuse of failing to do their job — were concerned enough about this email to subpoena information about the IP address from which it was sent in an effort to confirm the identity of the sender. That’s a strong indication they didn’t believe it was a joke but rather potential evidence.

It’s pretty obvious to anyone able to confront facts that the Imran email undermines the whole premise of Serial’s first episode, that Adnan couldn’t remember January 13, 1999, the day of Hae’s murder, because for him it was just another regular day in the distant, six-weeks-ago past. The email shows that, as far away as California, friends were talking about what had happened to Hae and trying to get information. No one was blowing off her disappearance as Adnan preposterously claimed to Sarah Koenig in Serial and she audibly nodded along.

As more and more non-Serial sanctioned information comes to light, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the  #FreeAdnan movement is little more than a collection of useful idiots fooled into fighting against an imaginary miscarriage of justice. Their goal is to spring from prison the remorseless killer of a young woman, who had her whole life ahead of her until Adnan Syed stole it away.

Amidst all the publicity and noise, it’s important to remember that Serial is not the new Thin Blue Line and never will be. The right man is behind bars and that’s a good thing, no matter what Adnan Syed supporters want to talk themselves into believing.

 


Read Rabia Chaudry’s response to this essay and my response to Rabia.

*The day after I published this post, Colin Miller quoted his first and only named expert in months of ghoul blogging. Probably just a coincidence.

May 9 Update: This article got linked on Reddit yesterday and has generated a lively discussion.

Avoid guys like Adnan. Read The Gift of Fear and then pass it on. It’s a great book:

What a rape trial looks like: Inside the court room for eight days of a sexual assault prosecution

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OnTrialForRapeByAnnBrocklehurst

My series about a criminal rape trial is now an Amazon ebook.

This true story tells the tale of an alleged victim, seventeen years old at the time, and her alleged assailant, a star athlete on his way to winning a full sports scholarship to a US university.


“I said, ‘Stop, you’re being ridiculous.’ I kept repeating stop. I asked him, ‘Please take me home.’ He said, ‘You want it,’ and put the passenger seat back.”


She had substantial credibility problems on the witness stand. His testimony seemed far more convincing—most of the time. But this was more than just a “she said, he said”—or, as it turned out, “she lied, he lied”—case. There was an element of physical evidence against him: bruises on her arms and legs. The judge had to decide if the totality of the prosecutors’ case against the defendant was enough to send him to jail, brand him a sexual offender, and destroy his promising future.

Despite its sensational nature, this was a case that never made headlines. What I observed during my reporting was the farthest thing from a Jian Ghomeshi courthouse scene, with mobs of press and police. I was the sole reporter at the superior court trial and, on most days, the only observer not directly related to the case. The mother and grandmother of the accused, whom I will call Matthew in the reports that follow, attended throughout the trial. The complainant, who will be known as Ava, was supported by a representative from victim services and the detective in charge of her case.


“You left your panties behind,” says the defence lawyer, who reminds me of Matlock.  “No I did not,” replies the weeping complainant


Ava’s family and Matthew’s father were not permitted in the courtroom as they were all considered to be potential witnesses. They spent much of their time in the courthouse hallways, pacing or sitting nervously. Like everyone else, they knew that the events unfolding on the other side of the courtroom door would deeply affect the two young people’s lives.

The first two chapters of On Trial For Rape can be read for free here. To read the entire story, you can buy the ebook on Amazon:

Part 1: She Said
Part 2: Are You Sure?
Part 3: Can the Complainant Continue?
Part 4: The Facebook Test
Part 5: He Said
Part 6: “I’m Not a Rapist”
Part 7: Closing Arguments
Part 8: The Verdict


The complainant is reporting someone to the judge for making faces in court. “It was the girl with black hair,” she tells Justice Trotter, referring to the mother of the accused


Buy On Trial For Rape on Amazon

I’ll be watching on Amazon for your feedback and reviews.

Jeffrey Boucher family marks one-year anniversary of his death and disappearance

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Jeffrey Boucher, his wife Kirsten and daughters Bettina (left) and Katja cycled the world.

Jeffrey Boucher, his wife Kirsten and daughters Bettina (left) and Katja cycled the world.

Parvaneh Pessian of Whitby This Week has an excellent update on the very sad story of Jeffrey Boucher on the one year anniversary of his death. She interviews Boucher’s widow Kirsten and his younger daughter Bettina, who are both still trying to come to terms with a death, about which they have few answers.

Police ruled out foul play after they found Boucher’s body on the shores of Lake Ontario last March, but it’s not clear whether he died by accident or suicide. The autopsy and toxicology report provided no answers.

Kirsten Boucher, who has always maintained her husband wouldn’t commit suicide, sees some parallels between his death and that of another Toronto-area teacher, Douglas Queen. Queen was sent home from his school one morning last March after a baseless accusation that he had pushed a student. He went to the Humber Bay Park on the waterfront.

“What happened next is not known for certain, but the coroner’s report suggests Mr. Queen slipped on the ice and hit the right side of his forehead on a rock,” said the Globe and Mail. “Presumably unconscious, he tumbled into the lake, and drowned in a few feet of water. The coroner states conclusively that his death was not a suicide.”

Kirsten Boucher can envision a similar scenario involving her husband, who had also been involved in an incident at his school that both the police and the school board have always insisted was minor. Some money for an upcoming school ski trip had been found in Jeffrey Boucher’s desk after he asked a janitor to help him open a jammed drawer. Kirsten has repeatedly said she finds it strange her husband didn’t mention the incident to her, but she has not pressed the school for details.

A high school teacher like her husband, she has not returned to work since Jeff’s death.

My ebook, The Mysterious Death of Jeffrey Boucher, explores what happened to the missing runner.

 

Tim Bosma murder case: Trial dates set for Dellen Millard, Mark Smich

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Feb. 25 Update: The trial has now been postponed until January 11, 2016. As of today, Dellen Millard has not yet officially retained either Deepak Paradkar or Ravin Pillay, the two lawyers who have been acting on his behalf.


 

Just before Christmas, the Hamilton Spectator reported that tentative trial dates have been set for Dellen Millard and Mark Smich, who have been accused, among other things, of the murder of Tim Bosma.

The long-awaited Bosma trial is pencilled in to begin on Sept. 28, 2015 and run some four months.

Millard and Smich have also been accused of murdering Laura Babcock while Millard alone is charged with killing his father Wayne. Last I heard some two months ago, the Crown was seeking a direct indictment in the Babcock case, but as of now it has not been granted. Millard and Smich are pleading not guilty on all counts and none of the allegations against them have been proven in court.

My ebook about the Bosma, Babcock and Wayne Millard murders got put on hold late last year due to some other projects, however, it’s back to being a top priority and I hope to get it out later this month. The ebook includes letters written by Dellen Millard from jail. Here’s part of one letter from almost a year ago, January 22, 2014:

So, time drags on. Nothing’s happening with the case. I’m essentially waiting in a nine month queue.

Yesterday one of the guards brought me a cup of freshly poured cola. It was a wonderful treat, and exactly how colas ought to be enjoyed; rarely. A few of the guards are nice to me like that. They are the ones that believe I am not guilty.

I’ve been exercising a little more. Staying motivated in here has been tough. I’ve tried all sorts of different routines. It seems that circuits are what I’m willing to stick with. Which is odd because, I never used to like circuit training. I still do yoga every evening as well.

When I wrote that I could never find Armani that fit, you pronounced that I am out of touch with fashion. It is true that I believe form follows function. But, I thought to check out the fashion section in the paper. You know, get in touch with fashion, maybe find something to wear to court. I recognized the name Alexander McQueen, and he’s doing plad (sic). I like plad (sic), although I prefer blue and green plad (sic) over black. Still what do you think of the included clipping?

In non-Millard-related news, I also have a huge feature about a sexual assault case coming up later this month. It’s about two kids who were 17 and 18 at the time of the alleged rape. The case is a classic he said, she said — except for the fact that she is far less credible on the witness stand than he is. She does, however, have one very damning piece of evidence on her side — bruises on her arms and legs.

The verdict for this judge-alone trial will be coming down later this month. Essentially, the judge will decide if those bruises are enough to send the accused to jail, brand him a sexual offender and destroy his promising future. He is currently on a full athletic scholarship to a U.S. college, which he will lose if found guilty.

The trial was both sad and fascinating, the furthest thing possible from a Jian Ghomeshi courthouse scene with mobs of press and police. I was the only person there not directly related to the case.

Stay tuned and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask. It looks like 2015 will be a very busy year.

BTW, happy new year everyone.

Triple threat: Matthew Ward-Jackson, Dellen Millard and Mark Smich at the Jane and Finch courthouse

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No Moët  and hoes for Matthew Ward-Jackson aka Krucifix14. Bail was denied at a surprising hearing.

No Moët and hoes for Matthew Ward-Jackson aka Krucifix14. No Red Shoes for the rest of us. Bail was denied after a surprise development cut the bail hearing short.

Today I went to the Jane and Finch courthouse for the bail hearing of Matthew Ward-Jackson, charged, among other things, with selling Dellen Millard the gun allegedly used to kill his father, Wayne Millard.

The courthouse is located in the world’s worst strip mall, where the only food source is Swiss Chalet. You can’t get your nails done during the breaks or eat pho for lunch or buy a Somali cell phone, although there is a criminal law office and the court clerk told me about a great Caribbean buffet for $8 at Weston Rd.


Read also: A Day in Court with Matthew Ward-Jackson and his lawyer, Deepak Paradkar


Outside the courtroom, I ran into Ward-Jackson’s friend and occasional rapper, Rissy Riss, who asked me how my book was going. “It’s with my lawyer,” I told him. He nodded sympathetically. Lawyers.

A picture's worth a thousand words

A picture’s worth a thousand words

Riss was with a blonde with a long braid, lots of eyeliner and mukluks. It seemed rude to ask if she was a Gotass Girl so I didn’t, but I think maybe she was. When we entered the courtroom, Riss and the blonde sat in the right back row with three other people who knew Ward-Jackson. In the left back row were the cops including Detective Mike Carbone from the infamous Laura Babcock and Wayne Millard press conference.

I have mixed feelings about that press conference. On the one hand, I feel like Carbone was sent on a suicide mission. He had just been assigned to the case and wasn’t responsible for the initial screw-ups. But, on the other hand, it was such a terrible press conference that I can’t really work up much sympathy for anyone involved.

There were two crown attorneys present because this was a joint bail hearing. Ward-Jackson has drugs and weapons charges stemming from a January drug raid in Mississauga and then the Millard-related weapons charges, which were laid in April. Jason Miller from Guns and Gangs was responsible for the January stuff and Laura Bird, who is in charge of the Laura Babcock and Wayne Millard murder cases, handled the April trafficking charges.

This is a good time to say that Ward-Jackson is pleading not guilty to all the charges against him and none of the allegations have been proven in court. His lawyer is Fariborz Davoudi, who had promised to tell me when the bail hearing was taking place, but didn’t. When he walked into the court and saw me, he was at a momentary loss for words. “Heeeeeeeeeeey,” he said, stalling for time. “You made it.” (Our last in-person meeting was back in June when I had showed him his client’s active social media life.)

The Justice of the Peace David Lippingwell imposed the standard publication ban at the request of the defence so I can’t tell you anything much else about what happened after that. I was the only reporter there.

At the break, Laura Bird and Mike Carbone went next door to see Dellen Millard and Mark Smich make their regular monthly video appearances. Smich looked his usual self, a little on the heavier side, but in decent shape with a buzz cut. Millard looked the worst I’ve ever seen him. He’s constantly changing his facial hair and, this time around, perhaps in Movember mode, he had a fu manchu moustache with the ends dangling down off his chin and greasy, chin-length hair. He’s gone native.

Millard also has a new attorney for the Laura Babcock and Wayne Millard murder charges. He is now being represented by Ravin Pillay, who has replaced Deepak Paradkar on those two cases. Pillay and Paradkar have been working together since early on and still are, but I wasn’t aware of this official change until today.

MIllard is pleading not guilty to both murder charges as well as the murder of Tim Bosma. Smich is also pleading not guilty to the murders of Laura Babcock and Tim Bosma. Millard and the Crown have agreed to an in-chambers judicial pre-trial December 19, but it has to be confirmed with one of Smich’s lawyers. Millard and Smich will both be back November 19 to try and firm up that date.

After the video appearances, we returned to the Matthew Ward-Jackson bail hearing, which for reasons I cannot report, was cut suddenly short. Bail was denied.

It was all very surprising, but who doesn’t like to get Friday afternoon off?

The snow is important: Serial podcast is not misleading anyone

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There’s a lot of muttering about the journalistic ethics of Sarah Koenig’s Serial podcast. Is it okay to withhold facts to build suspense? Are we listeners being strung along for the sake of narrative? Could everyone please try to remember these are real people we’re talking about not fictional HBO characters. Scold, scold, scold.

After deliberating on the issue for several days, I’m voting that Serial’s ethical. My theory is that Koenig is trying to put us in the frame of mind she was in as the story unfolded. She didn’t meet Jay until eight months into her year of research. And we, the audience, don’t meet Jay until eight episodes into a planned 12 episodes. The goal was to have the audience feel what she felt. It’s not withholding facts but rather an attempt to recreate her investigation, to make us see things as she did. That’s why she hasn’t confronted Adnan. If you’re a reporter on a story like this, you don’t do the confrontation until you’re ready. We’ll see the confrontation at the point in the investigation that she confronted Adnan.

If you’re not convinced of my theory, go back and re-listen to Episode 1 or read the transcript. Then, consider the snow because the snow is important. Asia McLean, the girl that wrote the supposed alibi letter, said, “I remember that day, because that was the day that it snowed.”

Koenig responded: “Were there snow days after that, do you remember?”

McLean replied: “I want to say there was, because I think that was like the first snow of the year. I wouldn’t have even remembered if it hadn’t have been for the snow. And the whole – I just remember being so pissed about Derek being late and then getting snowed in at his house. And it was the first snow of that year.”

Asia is wrong. It didn’t snow that day. Look what happens when you google Baltimore weather ja …

Baltimore weather January 13 1999

There’s an auto-prompt because so many people are googling it to find out if McLean’s memory was accurate, and it wasn’t. The first snow of the year in Baltimore in 1999 had been the week before. It would be a mistake to assume Koenig doesn’t know this and that it hasn’t been fact-checked. (Remember, earlier on in that episode she told us she had fact-checked all of Rabia’s statements about Adnan. He was prom prince not homecoming king, paid EMT not volunteer, etc.)

That’s why Koenig’s next line is so artfully worded: “The snow is important. Hae disappeared on a Wednesday. That night there was a huge ice storm, which is unusual in Maryland. It ended up being a state emergency. And school was closed for the rest of the week.”

If you listen between the lines, Koenig is telling us that Asia got it wrong. She confused snow and a ice storm, which, if you’ve just lived through both of them, are definitely not interchangeable. Asia’s so-called alibi would have fallen apart on the witness stand. Picture the cross examination. Was it a snow storm? Or ice? You don’t remember? You’re confused? What else don’t you remember and are you confused about it?

Koenig knew at this point that snow was important, that she had to pin down the weather that day. But does Rabia Chaudry, who’s been Adnan’s chief advocate over these past 15 years, think the snow is important enough to check? Here’s what Rabia says about why she believes Asia McLean’s testimony was crucial: “And she remembered very specifically that that day she went to her boyfriend’s house with him, and they got snowed in. And it snowed really heavily that night. And she remembered that for the following two days, school was closed. So she had very specific details about why she remembered that day.”

In 15 years, Chaudry has never fact-checked this snow statement.

So is it unethical for Koenig not just to tell us that it didn’t snow, that Asia is wrong? What if she didn’t find out about the weather until much later? What if her point is for us to experience things the way she did? Is it still unethical?

There’s another example of Koenig’s and Chaudry’s very different approaches in Episode 1. When Koenig is discussing memory at the very beginning of the show, she says: “If some significant event happened that day, you remember that, plus you remember the entire day much better.

“If nothing significant happened, then the answers get very general. I most likely did this, or I most likely did that.”

Based on this theory, Adnan should have remembered what happened on January 13, 1999. Hae Min Lee disappeared that day and the police called Adnan to question him late that afternoon. That’s significant. And, according to Adnan himself, there was another thing that made that day special — it was his good friend Stephanie’s birthday. So Adnan should remember.

But here’s Rabia Chaudry describing talking to Adnan after the verdict: “And he’s like, she disappeared in January, you know? In March, you’re asking me, where were you after school for 20 minutes on a specific day? All the days are the same to me, you know?”

So Koenig has just explicitly stated that people remember days with significant events better, Adnan is saying there was nothing special about this day, and Rabia is not questioning that statement: “All the days are the same to me, you know?”

Really?

This reporting has been interpreted has Koenig being naive, credulous. Maybe, but I don’t think so. If anyone’s being naive and credulous it’s Rabia who failed to question the snow and Adnan’s failure to remember. We have pretty good reason to believe Koenig questions both.

Or at least, that’s my theory. And I’m sticking to it until someone tells me why I’m wrong.

 

 

 

 

Matthew Ward-Jackson aka Big Iish not guilty of coke trafficking, still faces Millard-related weapons charges

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For those of you following the Matthew Ward-Jackson aka @Krucifix14 aka Big Iisho affair, I owe you an update so here goes.

Last Wednesday (October 29), Mr. Ward-Jackson was found not guilty of cocaine possession and intent to traffic while conceding that he had indeed been in possession of a few grams of marijuana for personal use. This finding opens the door for a bail hearing to get Iish “out of the bin,” as the Gotass girls would say. Or as @Krucifix14 himself puts it on his Instagram account: “!!!COMING HOME SOON!!! Title: New Video ” RED SHOES ” ~Out Soon~14 hoes n moét For Booking: krucifix14@gmail.com.”


A Day in Court with Matthew Ward-Jackson and his lawyer, Deepak Paradkar


What else? A while back on Websleuths.com, an eagle-eyed sleuther identified the fellow with his eye blacked out, who is tattooed on the side of Iish’s head. It is none other than Sir Robert Laird Borden, the eighth Prime Minister of Canada, of interest to the Krucifix14 crowd not so much for the Conscription Crisis or any other historical stuff, but rather for being the face on the $100 bill.

As it turns out, it is quite popular in certain circles to have famous people from money — Jacksons, anyone? — tattooed on your body. Not only does Iish have a Borden tatt, so does Dubs Banger, one of his two co-accused in the Millard-related weapons trafficking case, which is how I came to discover Iish and Dubs in the first place.

Robert Borden $100 bill tattoo

Iish’s Robert Borden tattoo (left) is like a bad courtroom sketch. But Dubs Banger’s Borden (right)  is a much better likeness to the $100 bill (middle).

The Websleuths’ identification of Borden led to an aha! moment of my own. I realized, upon close examination of the evidentiary photos, that the person on Borden’s left (above) and right (below), who I had earlier thought was an androgynous pixie, was in fact Queen Elizabeth II. Given that she also has a money connection, it all started to make sense.

Queen Elizabeth II tattoo

Looking at things from a different angle, it’s possible to recognize Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

What still hasn’t been explained, however, is why Sir Robert Borden should have a big black eye and why Big Iisho has such an ongoing fascination with people being shot in the eye. For example, in this “creep ass ontario south toronto” recording circa 2007, he sings the lyrics are “shoot a man in his eye socket twice, he be quick to start jerking, twittering, twitching and moving.” This has been a disturbing obsession of Big Iisho’s for quite some time. And it’s all the more peculiar, given that Matthew Ward-Jackson is accused of selling Dellen Millard the illegal gun he allegedly used to kill his father, Wayne MIllard, who is reported to have been shot in the eye.

Matthew Ward-Jackson

Matthew Ward-Jackson has a disturbing fascination with people being shot in the eye. This photo appeared on Twitter some two weeks after Wayne Millard’s murder.

But here’s the thing, despite the Millard-related weapons charges, and the fact that Iish is also facing a different set of charges for owning an AK-47 and a whole lot of other drugs, no one (excluding the cops and various Crown attorneys) has a bad thing to say about him, including some people who should be very, very angry at Big Iisho.

At this point, I am going to interrupt this blog post to stress that Ward-Jackson is pleading not guilty to all the charges against him and none of the allegations have been proven in court. Also, the Crown is going to have to do a whole lot better job than it did with the recent drug case, for which MJ was found not guilty, if they want to make any of these other charges stick. Interruption now over.

So, as I was saying, Matthew Ward-Jackson is a pretty popular guy, described variously as polite, educated and sweet. Now, I know, you’re probably thinking that, based on all those tattoos and the social media and the creep ass ontario song, that none of this makes sense, and you would be right. But the facts are the facts. While none of Iish’s friends, acquaintances and colleagues were fond of the facial tattoos, they all liked Iish.

Based on this diverse but unanimous chorus of character references, I have concluded that Matthew Ward-Jackson, more than anything else, resembles a character in an Elmore Leonard novel, one of those aspiring small-time hoods and con artists who — thanks to dumb mistakes and bad judgment — unwittingly get caught up in far more dangerous and deadly capers.  Where the Elmore Leonard comparison falls short, however, is that Leonard doesn’t let innocent people get killed. (Again, Ward-Jackson is pleading not guilty to all he charges against him.)

And finally, one last piece of information about how Matthew Ward-Jackson is connected to Dellen Millard. Friends of Iish and Mark Smich tell me that Iish often hung at Smich’s place. They were on good enough terms that Iish would even comment on one of Smich’s sister’s Instagram accounts and interacted on Facebook with Smich’s BFF, Cora. Iish also knew Dellen Millard, who hung out Chez Smich from time to time as well. So, that’s the connection.

And for the record, Millard and Smich are pleading not guilty to all the charges against them including the murders of Tim Bosma, Laura Babcock and Wayne Millard (Smich not charged with this one). None of the allegations have been proven in court.

 

 

Crown seeks direct indictment in Laura Babcock murder case

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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.

What happened to Jeffrey Boucher? Read my new e-book on the case of the missing runner

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Read my new e-book: The Mysterious Death of Jeffrey Boucher

You can buy it on Amazon

It’s an account of the events surrounding the disappearance of the Whitby dad and my theory on what happened to Jeffrey Boucher.

Buy The Mysterious Death of Jeffrey Boucher (or read the free sample)

Matthew Ward-Jackson: Believed to have sold Dellen Millard the gun used to kill his father, Wayne Millard

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Matthew Ward-Jackson

Matthew Ward-Jackson, not as he appeared in Toronto court via video earlier today

Full story tomorrow. Here’s some background in the meantime.

Update June 10: My story is now up at the National Post. The first two paragraphs are below and here’s another photo of Matthew Ward-Jackson.

Do you see the man with the blacked-out eye in the top righthand corner?

Do you see the man with the blacked-out eye in the top lefthand corner?

The active social media life of a man believed to have sold a gun to accused triple murderer Dellen Millard has added another layer of mystery to what was already a bizarre case.

Matthew Ward-Jackson, charged with weapons trafficking in April, has almost no web presence  under his own name. Instead, the 27-year old with a tattooed face and body uses  the online aliases @Krucifix14, Krucifix North and @BIGiisho to document his life as an aspiring gangsta-style rapper. Instagram photos, YouTube videos and Facebook posts show him pouring champagne over women’s thong-clad backsides, literally throwing money around, driving classic cars and, more incongruously, taking bubble baths in a heart-shaped red tub.

Read the whole thing at the Post.

Keep up to date on the Dellen Millard investigations. Receive my newsletter. Just add your email address below:


Accused murderer Mark Smich lived at home of Wayne and Dellen Millard

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Accused Murderer Mark Smich

Houseguest Mark Smich (above) and his host Dellen Millard are charged with the murders of Tim Bosma and Laura Babcock. Dellen Millard is also accused of murdering his father Wayne. They are pleading not guilty to all the charges. (Photo: Facebook)

Since I wrote my Grid article on the Toronto Police investigations into the murders of Wayne Millard and Laura Babcock, a number of facts have come to my attention.

Mark Smich and his girlfriend, whose name cannot be printed due to a publication ban, were living in the basement of Wayne MIllard’s Etobicoke home for several weeks (at least) before he was allegedly murdered. They were not in a separate apartment, but right in the same house.

In the past, Dellen had had other friends live in the basement, and although his father was not happy with this communal living situation, he never kicked anyone out. Instead, Wayne used tactics like not stocking the fridge in the hopes that this would make the basement a less attractive crash pad.

After Wayne MIllard was allegedly murdered, Dellen; his mother, Madeleine Burns; and his ex-fiancee were all present as police investigated the death that night. Smich was not there.

The Hamilton Spectator reported last month that Wayne was killed with a trafficked gun.

At the time of Wayne’s death in November 2012, basement resident Mark Smich had  two convictions from drug possession charges, two fail to comply convictions and one conviction for impaired driving. The previous month, he had been charged with mischief under $5,000 for spray-painting an Oakville overpass.

Smich and Dellen Millard are charged with the first degree murders of Tim Bosma and Laura Babcock. Millard is also charged with the first degree murder of his father Wayne. Both men are pleading not guilty to all the charges against them.

If you have more information, please contact me at ann.brocklehurst@gmail.com.

You can get the latest on all these linked cases by subscribing to my newsletter.  Just add your email address below:


Relax, dog lovers, Popper cheats death in Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch

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If you are, like me, a dog, book and movie lover, you will feel a sense of dread when reading Donna Tartt’s new book, The Goldfinch. This is because it features a small white fluffster of a Maltese dog — called variously Popper, Popchik and Popchyk — who appears doomed from the moment he makes his entry into the novel, greeting with desperate shrieks the evil owner who has left him home all alone for almost two weeks.

Luckily for Popper, things change for the better thanks to Theo, the new teenage addition to his household,  and Theo’s bad-guy buddy, Boris. These two drug and booze-addled dudes let the little dog hang out with them, ending his life of isolation. The downside  is that their activities don’t exactly provide a safe and secure environment for the family pet, provoking many anxieties that he will go missing forever in a deserted Las Vegas subdivision.

Worse yet, when Theo and Boris encounter a mobster, it seems predestined that Popper will get what happens to so many movie dogs and end up lifeless on the front door stoop or kitchen counter with a threatening note attached to his collar.

Any half-serious movie goer knows just how often the loyal family dog meets a gruesome death, enough that there exists an entire website — www.DoesTheDogDie.com — devoted to answering this “most important movie question” and mentally preparing dog-loving movie goers for what’s to come.

That there is no literary equivalent to  www.DoesTheDogDie.com can be seen as a good thing  in as much as it  shows that tear-jerking pet death  has never been as big an issue for books as it is for movies. On the other hand, it also means there’s no quick reference guide to turn to if a reader does start to worry about a fictional dog’s future.

Therefore in the interests of calming the nerves of dog and literary fiction lovers reading The Goldfinch, I am hereby informing you that Popper survives this almost 800-page novel unharmed despite his many brushes with danger and long absences from the narrative.

And no, I did not forget the spoiler warning. The only thing this knowledge will spoil is a sadistic ride on the roller coaster of fear for an innocent little Maltese dog. Knowing Popper’s fate does not in any way affect the outcome of the rest of The Goldfinch.

Rest reassured dear Reader, Popper lives to a ripe old age.

Fed leak rumours shine spotlight on bigger problems with ‘media’ lock-ups

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Government never intended to become part of the high-speed trading infrastructure, but it can’t extricate itself without alienating Wall Street

Lock-ups, like the one the Fed is now investigating for a leak, make no sense in the age of the internet. The Fed and other agencies that announce potentially market-moving data could far more easily release it on the web, as Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt argues they should in this interview. But this is unlikely to happen anytime soon due to the simple fact that lock-ups have, over the past few years, become part of the infrastructure for so-called high frequency trading or HFT as its known.

Wall Street, a major donor to both U.S. political parties, would go ballistic if it no longer had access to the lock-ups through special fibre optic lines and, as of late, microwave networks. Instead of the data travelling straight to the Street via so-called machine readable feeds that allow profitable trades to take place in milliseconds, hedge funds and traders would have to figure out a way to get the data from the internet so they could then trade on it. It might take seconds like it did in the past and this is something, the masters of the universe wouldn’t be prepared to live with.

As a result of this most recent Fed leak investigation, several other leak and lock-up stories this year, and various ongoing SEC and FBI investigations, we’re likely to see two things happen in the very near (but far longer than milliseconds away) future. One, expect to hear more and more that lock-ups — originally conceived  to ensure the public received clear information in a timely fashion — have become obsolete in this era of global communications. And two, prepare for Wall Street to push back and tell us there will be market chaos if lock-ups are done away with. Financiers will argue that such a change would make the system unfair and susceptible to the horrible vagaries of regular old internet connections.

Access to lock-ups is so important to the HFT crowd that over the past decade, several trading companies have set up their own “news agencies” (yes, those are scare quotes) to gain the coveted entry key. Chicago’s JED Capital funded Need to Know News and then sold it to the Deutsche Börse. The Montreal-based proprietary trader Vigilant Global (formerly Vigilant Futures) founded the now-defunct Canadian Economic Press (CEP News) and, as a result, received direct feeds from lock-ups in Ottawa, Washington, London and Frankfurt. A Slovakian firm, World Business Press Online, cropped up in Bratislava, and started attending lock-ups around the world. Then came Econolive, also know as Empire News, which appears to be an Israeli firm, but this can’t be confirmed because no one there will return phone calls and their reporters don’t have the foggiest idea who owns the company. And last but not least there’s Buffalo-based RTTNews which — unlike many of the aforementioned new players — has been around since early internet days. In recent years, it’s had a makeover, however, and it too is now an active lock-up attendee.

All this activity eventually attracted the interest of the FBI, but failed to result in any arrests or prosecutions. Apart from the U.S. Department of Labor’s decision to kick Need to Know News and RTTNews out of its lock-ups in the spring of 2012, everyone’s still attending Washington’s other lock-ups and many go to similar lock-ups in the UK, Germany and Canada.

According to anonymous but proven-to-be reliable sources, it was never clear that there was indeed any illegal leaking by the new “news agencies.” Despite the suspicion and investigations, no evidence of malfeasance was ever found. Multiple insiders, who did not want to give their names, said the new “news agencies” profited simply because they were both more nimble and more sophisticated than bigger, better established news operations, which made them significantly faster in the age of HFT.

“While I can’t say if any of these (new) news companies were cheating, I can say they were light years ahead technology wise over DJ, Reuters, Bloomberg, AP, etc,” said one source in an email.  “They built highly optimized networks to transfer this data through ultra low latency switches and lines that the other guys never thought of.  They also were optimized to this single rifle shot of data through a network where the big legacy guys were using systems/networks optimized for throughput and continuously publishing hundreds or thousands of stories simultaneously and continuously.”

Since the invasion of the small news agencies beginning in 2005,  the big players have mostly caught up and just about everyone now offers machine readable feeds (you program your computer with algorithms that allow trades to be carried out in the blink of an eye) and low latency (ultra high-speed) services.

Many of the traders associated with new “news agencies” are said to have their own microwave networks, which are supposedly faster than even the newest fibre optic lines. In a study released after reports of the September 18 Fed leak, the large trading firm Virtu Financial confirmed that certain companies receive their data via microwave radio signals, a topic that traders usually don’t mention in public.

In August of 2012, the Chicago Tribune reported:

These microwave networks require a dish every 30 miles or so and Federal Communications Commission approval. High-speed traders, however, try to cloak their routes in secrecy. FCC filings do not list the traders themselves but limited liability companies with such nondescript names as Webline Holdings.

For this reason, it was unusual to see Montreal’s Vigilant Global publicly named when it requested antennae permits in both the U.S. and Great Britain. According to a source, Vigilant, Virtu and Jump Trading are confirmed to have their own microwave networks. Other firms who may own them are Allston Trading, Tower Trading Group, which owns the mysterious Latour Trading, and Final, an Israeli company that is a top volume player on the CME.

While some traders have said that they think the ongoing investment in proprietary millisecond-shaving networks is a costly war of diminishing returns, others are not yet ready to lay down arms. Jump is supposed to have “bought a de-commisioned NATO telco tower in Belgium to secure the fastest London-to-Frankfurt route,” said the source.

The source added that any one of these trading companies might own and/or be (exclusive) clients of the smaller news agencies accessing lock-ups. This conflict-of-interest situation is a huge annoyance to the legacy news agencies, who don’t make multi-million dollar trades on the side and must earn their profits solely by providing news. They’ve tried on many occasions to have the new players booted out of the lock-ups and their press passes revoked, but these efforts have been foiled partly due to governmental bureaucratic inertia and partly due to haphazard media accreditation systems devised by press gallery members themselves.

The whole situation is further complicated by the fact that it’s not just Wall Street that would be in trouble if lock-ups were abolished; Bloomberg,Thomson Reuters and Dow Jones would be cut right out of their profitable middleman role, which would undermine their entire business model. Last year, when Statistics Canada attempted to put information on the web before it was released from lock-ups, it was immediately forced to back down. Reuters reported that it and other news organizations had made “strenuous representations” to StatsCan and the minister in charge to block the change.  StatsCan was supposed to come up with an alternative proposal shortly, but there’s been radio silence ever since.

As much as the internet makes it possible to do away with lock-ups, powerful vested interests won’t let go of the keys to the money-making chambers without a fight.

Dellen Millard’s letter from jail

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Here is the full text of the letter Dellen Millard, accused murderer of Tim Bosma, wrote from prison to one of his fans, a 31-year-old woman from the Kitchener area. For details on how it was authenticated see these two earlier posts:

If you have information on the Dellen Millard, please contact me at ann.brocklehurst@gmail.com.

Text of the letter

Dee,

The prisoners here call me ‘Big D.’ So I kind of feel like I’m writing to someone who has highjacked (sic) my nickname. I’m going to take it as a meanningful (sic) coincidence. Pleased to make your aquaintance (sic)!

I’ve never before found myself in prison. It’s been an uncomfortable experience so far. One of the worst parts has been that everyone seems to think I am a murderer. (Which I’m not, I go out of my not to step on ants.) I always suspected the news papers (sic) were full of shit, but until recently I had no idea! Another surprise was how the police conduct themselves. They formed their theory, and then went about making it a reality. I’m somewhat horrified at imagining how many innocent people might be imprisoned right now. Police corruption is nothing like Hollywood portrayed, truth really is stranger than fiction.

My closest friends and family stand by my side, which is really all I need. But I must say it is uplifting to get your letter! That someone out there who has not known me cant still see what’s being said about me just doesn’t addup, gives me confidence a jury can see it too.

continued…

I’d like very much to continue to write to you; to have your support and to have a proper conversation once I make bail.

(Which I hope will happen in September).

But for that to happen, I’m going to have to meet you first.

I get two twenty minute visits per week. Because I only get two, you can bet one will be taken every week by family.

I invite you to drop by :

tuesday 9am – 11am 6pm – 8pm

I look forward to meeting you Dee!

-Dellen -(BigD)

H.W.D.C.
2B left
cell 7
165 Barton St E
Hamilton On
L8L 2W8

Dee Letter page 1

Dee Letter page 2

Thoughts on Toronto and Rob Ford

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I have an article on Toronto’s travails in Chatham House’s The World Today magazine. It carries on where my La Presse piece from three years ago left off.

Here’s the start of my new article:

Toronto is a city that knows its place, or at least it did until recently. It had earned its nickname ‘Toronto the Good’, and was used to compliments from visitors who praised it for being ‘so clean’ and ‘so safe’.

Although Toronto overtook Montreal to become Canada’s largest city in the mid-Sixties, it always accepted it lacked that certain je ne sais quoi. Torontonians were content to forgo glamour and a home-grown independence movement for their booming job market and rising house prices.

It has helped, too, that over the decades Toronto, once seen as an uptight anglophile enclave, has succeeded in rebranding itself as the world’s most multicultural city – more than half of its inhabitants were born outside Canada. Toronto has gained enough confidence to ignore the barbed comments from the rest of the country.

Read the whole thing and see the very apt Rob Ford picture the editors chose to accompany the article.

Vigilant Global builds new wireless network in Europe, North America

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Vigilant Global builds new wireless network in Europe, North America

Planning applications are underway in both the U.S. and U.K.

Earlier this month, city councillors in Castle Point, England, a town 30 miles east of central London, turned down a proposal from Vigilant Global, the secretive Montreal-based proprietary trading company, to add two new dish antennae to the local water tower.


How HFT firms access secure government briefings to get the jump on market-moving data
The mystery ending of Michael Lewis’ Flash Boys: FCC License No. 1215095


The plans called for 60cm and 1.2m dishes – the latter of which would have been the biggest antennae on the building so far.

The failed application appears to be one of several Vigilant Global has made over the past 12 to 18 months including one in London’s Crystal Palace ward and another in Westmont, Illinois, just west of Chicago where Michael Bieniek of Lora, Chanthadouangsy & Castellanos, LLC, requested a permit to place more than three antennas on a structure on behalf of his client.

A Minstead Parish council report for another application states:

The dishes would aid the business of Vigilant Global, a company which serves the electronic finance sector. They are currently in the process of designing and implementing a wireless network to replace their existing fibre infrastructure.

The application further notes:

Vigilant Global is a Montreal-based R&D and IT firm that designs and deploys high-performance systems for the world of electronic finance. Vigilant Global operates a proprietary communication network across the UK for the transfer of information between various sites. They are currently in the process of designing and implementing a wireless network to provide redundancy to their existing fibre infrastructure. As such, they need several links and sites in order to establish a connection. The dishes at this site are essential to allow them to use this location as an intermediary, but network critical, link for the overall end to end connection.

The scheme merely seeks to install 2 new dishes, onto the existing mast, and one which is already populated with a significant amount of telecommunications equipment.

The most interesting information about the network, however, can be found in a statement  submitted on behalf of Arqiva and Vigilant Global in support of an application for full planning permission at a site off Cuckoo Lane, Bulbarrow Hill, Blandford Forum, Dorset DT11 0HQ. This existing electronic communications site is controlled and managed by Arqiva, which is “a radio site management company which provides much of the infrastructure behind television, radio and wireless communications in the UK and has a growing presence in Ireland, mainland Europe and the USA.”

I’ve linked to a cached version of the statement, which appears to have been removed from the website where I found it 10 days ago (cached versions are temporary so this link may die too). Below I’ve picked out some of the juicy bits — or at least what I found to be the juicy bits.

From Section 1, INTRODUCTION:

1.4 As explained in more detail in the accompanying Economic Statement, the transmission dishes (point to point radio links often known as ‘microwave’ links),will form part of a wider network of low latency dish backhaul solutions for Vigilant Global, a company providing network solutions for clients operating within the London and global financial securities and trading markets.

From Section 2, LOW LATENCY DISH COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK:

2.1 As set out in greater detail within the supporting Economic Statement, within the financial securities markets there is an ever increasing demand for faster trading speeds through advanced communications technology. In particular, high frequency computer-based trading (HFT) has grown in recent years to represent about 30% of equity trading in the UK and possibly over 60% in the USA.

2.2 The key factor in high-frequency trading is ‘latency’, a term used by trading firms to define delays that occur in transmitting buy and sell orders. The “millisecond environment” in which today’s financial markets operate mean that computers respond to each other at a speed 100 times faster than it would take for a human trader to blink. This is extremely important. The US TABB Group estimates that a five millisecond delay in transmitting an automatic trade can cost a broker 1% of its flow; which could be worth £2.6m in revenues per millisecond.

2.3 One of the major restrictions to latency is the use of fixed line fibre optic networks. This is now leading to significant investment in the UK to improve trading speeds through the use of low latency wireless dish communicationnetworks.

2.4 The proposed development will form part of larger network of ultra high speed (low latency) wireless dish communications sites which will support the UK financial services industry. The low latency network being developed will be very high speed and is critical to enable competitive trading undertaken on an automated basis. The value of such trading runs into the millions each day and without such networks, City based financial institutions would find themselves at a disadvantage compared to other world financial centres. At best this would result in reduced profits, but at worst could mean financial institutions relocating from the UK.

2.5 The proposed new communications dishes at the existing communications site at Bulbarrow Hill is absolutely critical to meeting this low latency microwave networkand ensuring that London remains the world’s leading financial centre and hence a major contributor to the UK GDP. It is for this reason that achieving sustainable growth in the UK Financial sector and embracing new infrastructure requirements such as low latency communication networks is embodied in the former and present Governments UK growth agenda.

From Section 3, OPERATIONAL NEED – BULBARROW HILL:

3.3 The height of the mast, at 70m, and its geographical and topographical position on Bulbarrow Hill, make it an ideal technical solution for Vigilant’s requirements as it provides a direct and unobstructed path towards suitable other communication tower locations in the low latency network. These links form part of a transatlantic route that will run overland from Cornwall, Devon and Dorset (to/from the US) to the City of London and thereafter to routes across theChannel into Continental Europe, linking with financial centres there, particularly Frankfurt.

3.6 This is an important financial and operational benefit, as it executes the principle that the smallest number of radio sites connected by dish links will ensure lowest latency times due to shorter travel time for trading information. In the millisecond trading environment, this is very important to the successful operation of these low latency networks in the UK and will ensure that the UK securities and trading markets and wider Digital Economy remains highly efficient and globally competitive.

From Section 7, SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS:

7.1 In summary, the application seeks full planning permission for the installation of additional electronic communications apparatus that will form a critical role in Vigilant Global’s low latency network. This network, which supports the UK’s financial services industry, provides a nationally important communications infrastructure route linking the UK to USA and Europe.

These quotes strike me as especially interesting given that the FBI has now reopened its investigation into how media companies transmit government data to investors. The Wall Street Journal reported in January that one of the reasons the multi-year investigation had finally been shut down was because the government had concerns about whether it could prove in court that a time advantage for a trader of a sliver of a second—as little as a few thousandths—was enough to conduct profitable trades on confidential information.

Seems like someone should get hold of a copy of the Arqiva document not to mention the TABB Group’s estimates.

Despite its multi-year investigation, the FBI has never found any wrong-doing and no charges have been laid against anyone. There is no indication at all that anything illegal has ever taken place.

Based on my research, certain players in media lock-ups had a completely legal speed advantage.

Dellen Millard: Four articles that shed light on Dellen Millard, accused murderer of Tim Bosma

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Here are four articles that provide insights into the character and motivations of Dellen Millard, the 27-year-old man accused of murdering Tim Bosma.

Suspect in Tim Bosma’s death was always ‘a little different’ and did ‘odd stuff’ at private school, classmate says

And one of the odd things he did was to seek attention by eating dog biscuits straight out of the box. This is a great Dellen MIllard profile from the National Post. Read all

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 Spectator:

(Tim Bosma’s) killer is someone who is exploitive, abusive, lacks any empathy and is a risk-taker.

The murder deviates from what is typically seen in the car theft racket, he said, where excessive violence is not the norm.

“This is too elaborate to steal one truck; to have these allegations of multiple people involved, multiple attempts to access a truck.”

What doesn’t add up, he said, is why anyone would murder for a truck. And “is the crime incongruent with the person charged?”

Read all

Tim Bosma’s murder may have been “thrill kill”: source

The Sun has someone in the police leaking information to them. This article appeared early on in the investigation:

Police are looking into a small, “close-knit group of friends” that hung around together.

Dellen Millard, charged with first-degree murder, was part of that group.

“Social media was a big part of their activities,” the source said…

…On one hand, this murder had the look and feel of something out of the movie Fargo, but a police source said a new TV show , The Following, may be closer to it.

The show depicts a number of people following a leader involved in nefarious activities, including homicide.

Read all

Declining Dynasty: More about Dellen Millard and his father Wayne

This is my article from the National Post dealing with, among other things, the mysterious death of Wayne Millard

In his role as a business development consultant to Millardair’s new Waterloo airport venture, Al Sharif was happy to have only limited contact with Dellen Millard, the boss’s son and the guy in charge of hangar construction. As far as Mr. Sharif and other executives at the company were concerned, Dellen and his red mohawk spelled trouble.

“I thought he was just a spoilt little brat who had his way all his life and didn’t appreciate what his father was doing for him,” said Mr. Sharif. “He was an impediment to the hangar operation” who didn’t meet his deadlines, almost never arrived at work before noon, and refused to clear his collection of cars, jeeps, hot rods, jet skis and personal airplanes from the business premises.

Read all

Declining Dynasty: The Family of Accused Killer Dellen Millard

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Wayne Millard with young Dellen Millard

Wayne Millard with young Dellen Millard

I have a story on the Millard family and Millardair’s new Waterloo business venture in today’s National Post. It doesn’t seem to be online yet, but I’m sure it will go up eventually. Here’s the link.

The story focuses on Wayne Millard and his mysterious death.

If you have any information on any of the different angles relating to this story and Tim Bosma’s horrific murder, I would like very much to hear from you. You can reach me at ann.brocklehurst@gmail.com or @AnnB03 on Twitter.

In the meantime, here are the first two paragraphs from my article:

In his role as a business development consultant to Millardair’s new Waterloo airport venture, Al Sharif was happy to have only limited contact with Dellen Millard, the boss’s son and the guy in charge of hangar construction. As far as Mr. Sharif and other executives at the company were concerned, Dellen and his red mohawk spelled trouble.

“I thought he was just a spoilt little brat who had his way all his life and didn’t appreciate what his father was doing for him,” said Mr. Sharif. “He was an impediment to the hangar operation” who didn’t meet his deadlines, almost never arrived at work before noon, and refused to clear his collection of cars, jeeps, hot rods, jet skis and personal airplanes from the business premises.

CSIS hacking story appears in National Post

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The Post picked up my story on the CSIS hacking.

I’m still perplexed by the comment from Tahera Mufti, a media liaison officer at CSIS, who said the websites are fine, when they clearly aren’t. I can only think of two explanations:

  1. The charitable explanation: CSIS fixed the sites after I first posted about the problem here and the search engines just haven’t caught up.
  2. The non-charitable explanation: CSIS really does not understand the nature of the problem and didn’t see they had been hacked.

I also learned on the weekend that developer Sean Walberg had noticed the Viagra spam as far back as January. He took a screenshot of the hacking that shows it differently from my examples.

Screen shot 2013-04-29 at 2.58.02 PM

Sean Walberg’s screenshot of the CSIS hacking

On Friday, you could still see this kind of result by viewing the Google cached versions of the infected www.csiscareers.ca pages but now those pages show a 404 message, which indicates to me that CSIS is actively clearing this up. As of this afternoon, Yahoo cached pages still show the infection, which makes sense since Yahoo (which is powered by Bing) doesn’t crawl as often and is slower to take account of changes.

Wattpad, What Pad, WTF Pad???!!!

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Wattpad is a bit of a tech darling as of late. Not only does it have the venture capital crowd on its side, it’s also got Margaret Atwood. In fact, credit where credit’s due, Atwood’s the one who coined the name “what pad,” which inspired WTF pad, whch sounds a lot like making reading and writing social, which is what Wattpad’s supposedly about. Or one of the things Wattpad might be about.

Except nothing about Wattpad, beyond the fact that it seems to have some very solid traffic and useage stats, makes much sense. If you don’t believe me, just go to their site and see if you can figure it out. I can’t and I’ve been dropping in once a year for a while now.

Although he makes a valiant attempt, this interviewer (I believe it’s Michael Healy)  seems equally perplexed by Wattpad. It’s almost as if he should have subtitles that read, “I don’t get it.”

In an attempt to get its story across, Wattpad often describes itself as wanting to do for writing what YouTube does for video. But that analogy doesn’t work for me for a number of reasons that I’ll only go into if someone asks.

Publicly at least, the Wattpad business model seems to be if we keep building it and they keep coming, we’ll find a way to monetize it. Think Twitter and Facebook. Fair enough, but we’re all still thinking about Twitter and Facebook, wondering if the former’s even profitable and if the latter’s ever going to live up to the hype.

Wattpad CEO Allen Lau is on the record for being a fan of  free and freemium (see video for just one example) and for talking — not all that clearly — about transactional relationships (the old way) versus gifting (the new way). Although at one point in his video interview he seems to advocate the write-for-free, sell-the-t-shirt-and-souvenir-book model, during the question period, he says he doesn’t want to get into the shrinking paper book market. It’s confusing if not contradictory.

For a company that’s all about story sharing, Wattpad either doesn’t have a very good story to tell, or they do but they’re not about to share it, which is kind of strange given that they’re hiring a PR manager when they’re not ready to divulge the plot.

In the past, I’ve called BS on some bizarre internet media companies — including Geosign which may have suckered U.S. venture capitalists out of a large chunk of the $160 million they invested — and I’ve turned out to be right. But I have a tendency to be overly sceptical and not see what I don’t know — like how Google was going to make a profit. Cough, cough.

In the case of Wattpad, I do think there’s a potentially viable business and this quote from the video (approximately 26 minutes in) is a clue, or one clue at least , to what the business model that Lau declines to talk about, might be.

A lot of people believe that on the internet we are going to get rid of all the middle men. I don’t think so. If you look at YouTube they are still a middleman, but the role of the middleman is quite different from the traditional world. (With the old model) the middleman is basically the gatekeeper, they would control the flow from the content creation side to the end user side. But for digital or for internet companies that role is changing. We are no longer the gatekeeper. We are the facilitator.We want to remove and reduce the friction between content creation and content consumption.

Lau also puts a lot of emphasis on being first and how one mega-player often reigns supreme on the internet in industries where competition used to be more vibrant. He cites Amazon and book-selling as an example.

My theory is that Lau wants to turn Wattpad into some kind of publishing marketplace where writers can use the social network as a focus group, get cover art, hire an agent, get publicity, find translators and much more.  Wattpad would collect commissions and fees from freemium users all along the publishing chain including present partners like Smashwords and Lulu.

Instead of helping writers monetize, which Lau says he doesn’t want to do, writers would help Wattpad monetize by paying for the freemium services they need. While only a handful are ever likely to break even or break out, they’re the ones who’ll provide the bulk of the revenues.

Wattpad has recently been asking published writers to put previously published works on line for free. Those who give it a whirl, like Jon Evans, have access to information about how readers read that they never had before.

Wattpad provides data

Lau  emphasizes the importance of data multiple times throughout the video. He also says on his blog that “the current ebook ecosystem is quite clearly just another bridge product” like Microsft’s Encarta encyclopedia on DVD. “Except for the output, the way ebook is written, edited, published and sold are more or less the same as the old traditional publishing system,” he writes.

That indicates to me that he’s aiming to make Wattpad the new ecosystem. I would be very surprised, however, if Amazon doesn’t understand all this just as well. Not only does Amazon likely have stats on how readers read every single ebook it sells, it’s also got its own publishing house and employs people who understand both traditional and “bridge” publishing models. It’s hard to believe that they wouldn’t understand that “the book” is evolving and that the future will be different.

As for the community aspect, Kindle Direct Publishing could build that out pretty fast and the big social reading sites have strong communities that are older and wiser than Wattpad’s mostly teen audience. They could move into the “new ecosystem” pretty fast if they wanted to.

End of Chapter One. I can now see if anyone’s interested and, if they are,  move on to Chapter Two in the Wattpad saga.

Text messages between Dellen Millard and Lisa Whidden

Whidden was quizzed by Crown Attorney Tony Leitch about the meaning of these messages

Whidden was quizzed by Crown Attorney Tony Leitch about the meaning of these messages. She said Scotty was a friend and she was worried Millard might be sick

Text messages between Dellen Millard and Lisa Whidden — his real estate agent turned lover — were entered into evidence to day at the Tim Bosma murder trial.

Millard is pleading not guilty to the murder of Tim Bosma as is his co-accused, Mark Smich.

Text messages between Dellen Millard and Shane Schlatman

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One of several text message exchanges between Shane Schlatman, who worked at Millardair, and his boss Dellen MIllard

Here are the text messages exchanged between Dellen Millard and Shane Schlatman that were entered into evidence Monday March 21 at the Tim Bosma murder trial.

Millard and Mark Smich are charged with the first degree murder of Bosma. Schlatman worked for Millard as a car mechanic. His testimony will continue next week.

Millard and Smich are pleading not guilty.

Computer examinations for R vs. Millard and Smich

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Evidence shown March 2, 2016 at the trial of Dellen Millard and Mark Smich for the murder of Tim Bosma

Here is the PowerPoint for the forensic examination of computers and related electronics seized from Dellen Millard’s residence in Toronto.

I have removed five slides which I need to redact. I will post them here once the redactions are done.

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Dellen Millard selfie presented as evidence at trial

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Dellen Millard’s selfie helped determined computer ownership, according to an expert witness at the Tim Bosma murder trial

In discussing this Dellen Millard photo, prosecutor Brett Moodie asked the witness, retired detective Jim Falconer of the OPP’s technological crime unit: “Would that be consistent with someone taking a selfie?”

Yes, Falconer answered.

“From your point of view, is that important in finding ownership and usage” of a computer?

“Yes, it’s a popular activity,” Falconer replied.

Falconer was an expert witness at the trial of Dellen Millard and Mark Smich for the murder of Tim Bosma.

Say10 baseball cap found on Mark’s iPad backup

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Pictures outlined in yellow were found only in backup files and not on the physical iPad. Pictures outlined in green were on the iPad and in backup files.

This photo is from evidence presented at the trial of Dellen Millard and Mark Smich for the murder of Tim Bosma.

I will be posting the full PowerPoint as soon as possible.

‘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.

Photos from Christina Noudga bedroom search

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Christina Noudga’s parents’ house in Etobicoke: Hamilton Police went in with a warrant on April 10, 2014

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Police found a DVR listed on their search warrant in the closet of Christina Noudga’s bedroom

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The DVR from Christina Noudga’s closet (police exhibit 7015) was turned over to the forensics officer on the scene

These photos were introduced as evidence on Feb. 23, 2016 at the trial of Dellen Millard and Mark Smich for the murder of Tim Bosma.

Noudga was the girlfriend of Dellen Millard, and the Crown said in its opening address that she will testify at this trial.

She is charged as an accessory after the fact to Bosma’s murder.

In his opening address, which is not evidence, but the case the Crown intends to prove, assistant Crown Attorney Craig Fraser said:

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.

Dellen Millard, Mark Smich and Christina Noudga are all pleading not guilty. Noudga’s trial is set to take place late this year.