Here is the letter of support Madeleine Burns wrote in support of her son Dellen Millard for his sentencing hearing:
My sweet serial killer.
Those were the words Christina Noudga wrote in the jottings police seized from her bedroom on the day she was arrested in April 2014. Her notes, or whatever they were, were taken along with the letters Millard wrote to her from jail.
Police were gobsmacked. They couldn’t believe what they had found.
“Everything happens for a reason,” said one officer who worked on the case. It took a year to arrest her, he explained, but what a trove of evidence Noudga stashed over that period.
Millard’s letters and Noudga’s notes first came to light at Noudga’s bail hearing in the summer of 2014, after she had spent just over three months in jail charged as an accessory after the fact in the murder of Tim Bosma. Parts of what she wrote were revealed at the Bosma murder trial, but other parts have remained under wraps due to standard publication bans that prevent the early release of evidence discussed at bail hearings, pre-trial motions, and, in the case of jury trials, sessions where the jury is not in the room.
It was not clear whether Noudga’s musings were rough drafts of letters to Millard or actual letters that he had returned to her or simply notes she wrote for herself.
Her lawyer at the time, Paul Mergler, told the court that “Sweet Serial Killer” was a line from a Lana Del Rey song, which it is indeed.
In her notes, Noudga also made a list of what she believed to be the potentially damning evidence against her boyfriend. One of the more gruesome and still inexplicable things she wrote was “limbs cut off without hesitation.”
When that ugly phrase was read out in court at the bail hearing, a pregnant friend of the Bosmas fled the room in tears.
Yet despite this and other evidence that suggested Noudga knew she was helping Millard get away with murder, the judge at her bail hearing appeared quite sympathetic to her. He opined on how she was a smart young woman who could get back to her studies if released. While the terms of her original bail were strict, they were gradually relaxed. By the time she testified at the Bosma trial, she no longer had to wear her ankle monitor.
Many questions have been raised about why Noudga was never called to testify at the Babcock trial. Online rumours abound that she had cut some kind of secret deal.
Nothing could be further from the truth, which was that no one wanted to put her in the witness box. The Crown felt able to make its case without her and who knows what she would have said if called to testify.
Millard wanted the opportunity to cross examine his former lover, but he wasn’t prepared to call her as a witness himself, which would have left him having to play by the strict rules of direct examination while the Crown got to do an aggressive cross
The deal Noudga made just over a year ago to plead guilty to obstruction of justice is not well understood. Her original lawyer was smart to arrange a judge-alone trial. Middle-aged male judges often go soft on pretty young women. A reporter friend of mine calls this well documented phenomenon “the chick discount.” The more vulgar lawyer term is a “pussy pass.”
At Noudga’s conviction and sentencing, I was taken aback when the judge (not the same one from the bail hearing) announced there wouldn’t have been enough evidence to convict her. Assistant Crown Attorney Craig Fraser had just finished saying it was a strong circumstantial case, the judge had not heard the evidence, and, yet, there, he was comfortably asserting it wouldn’t have been enough to convict and telling Noudga to make nicer friends.
It made the Crown look very smart for making the deal it did. After all who would want to go through weeks of what Fraser called “soul destroying” evidence and testimony for the same result? The Bosma family didn’t.
While Noudga likes to use social media to show herself having a great time, the truth is a little more complex. She cares enough to monitor what people are saying and mock it on her Instagram. There is no indication she feels an ounce of remorse.
She aspires to be a doctor and was admitted to a Polish medical school. At some point, she will probably get married and jump at the chance to change her unusual and distinctive name. Google will not make the connection. She will likely disappear.
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Earlier today I was listening to reviews of the new HBO series, Deuce. It reminded me of an interview I did with Harry Reems for the McGill Daily and which I found online. Le voilà:
Harry deep-throats it
by Ann Brocklehurst
Harry Reems, the male lead in Deep Throat and porn star emeritus, sits unnoticed in Gertrude’s. The small crowd of transsexuals, gaudily made-up drag queens and body
builders milling around the pub get all the attention.
A former McGill student working as a receptionist In the hotel In which Reems Is
staying identifies him for the press.
“Do you know who that is?” she asks. “Harry Reems.”
“The Dally has to Interview hlm. I was talking to him earlier. He’ll probably give you an interview If I ask him. “Let me try.”
She hurries across the room to talk to a slim man In jeans and a light blue T-shirt.
The answer is affirmative. Reems has consented to the Interview but not until later
“And do you know what?” the receptionist asks. “He asked me out.”
“Well are you going?” I inquire, hoping for an exclusive story on the date.
“No! But look he’s coming over here.”
She Introduces me to Reems who tells me to meet him on the set later. “The set” for the filming is McTavIsh Street, Peterson Hall and the Union building garage.
The movie, Reems’ first “clean role” is called Squad. Reems plays a get tough vice
squad officer who has just finished tidying up one metropolis and has moved on to clean up another. His title is Chief Maclean. His underlings call him “Mr. Clean”.
In the scene being filmed a gay beach party has just been raided and a bus load of the merry makers are being taken to vice squad headquarters.
Reems, who is not part of the scene, talks about the films. Squad is an all Canadian venture and Reems is the only non-native cast member.
He likes Montreal but finds he’s not as recognized here as he is south of the border.
As for his future In film, Reems hopes to make more “non-adult” movies. A highly
publicized suit against him for his supposed role In the distribution of Deep Throat has
caused him alot of personal anguish and he has no desire to repeat the experience.
The suit, however, has made Reems a household name and something of a folk hero.
He admits, though, that the frequent learlng remarks and off color jokes sometimes get to him.
Reems has had problems with the press: “They always ask the same questions, again and again.
’Do you feel exploited?’ ’How do you keep it up when you’re filming?’
“I wish that just once some one would ask me something really Interesting. Then they
would have a really good story.”
“Well what do you want to be asked,” I inquire. Reems won’t tell. “It’s up to you to figure It out,” he says.
“Alright then, have you kept In touch with Linda Lovelace? Do you know what she’s doing these days?”
Reems hasn’t heard from his notorious Deep Throat co-star ‘but he’s heard through the grapevine that she’s married to a gynecologist in Arizona.
“It’s true,” says Reems. “I’m not kidding.”
A co-star backs him up.
“Yeah I’ve heard the same thing,” he says.”But I heard she was living In Nevada.”
A student In a tennis outfit Interrupts and asks Reems to autograph his racket cover.
“My girlfriend will get a big kick out of It,” he says.
Reems signs the cover “keep on strokin’, love Harry Reems.” Later that evening another student asks for Reems’ John Hancock. He signs “keep It up, Harry Reems.” And when Reems is asked how he likes Montreal he replies: “Montreal, I lust you Montreal.”
After about ten minutes the originally ebullient Reems becomes fed up with the
interview. He’s angry because I don’t know the details of his background and his court trial.
He’s angry because I’m a reporter. “The press sometimes exploit me. But I’ve never felt exploited by any of the films I’ve made,” says Reems.
He retreats Into his furnished van. The interview is over.
Postscript: Harry Reems died in 2013
One of the first things people say about this case is, “But there’s no body” to which I usually respond, “Are you one of those people bothered by the fact there’s no body?” because I’m not.
To my mind, if someone disappears, and it’s completely out of character, they’re almost certainly dead. And please be clear here, I’m not talking about the classic “he went out for milk and never came back” scenario, where someone has reasons to want to start a new life. I’m talking about people who would be extremely unlikely to voluntarily disappear based on past behaviour.
I definitely think this is the case for Laura Babcock, who was close to her friends and family, even if she was having going through a rough stage in her relationship with her parents. She was a prolific texter and used social media daily. Her friends say it was very important to her to stay in touch.
By all accounts, Laura was not the type to decamp to Vegas on her own. And when you consider that, after her disappearance in the summer of 2012, that she never again used her bank and health cards, the inescapable conclusion is that she was dead.
I will admit that I find myself quite impatient with people who can’t accept this. I do understand that that most of the time their hope comes from a good place, namely not wanting to believe the worst or that something evil has happened. But in other cases, the motivation for claims that Laura Babcock is alive is far from benign. For reasons of their own, there are people who make it a habit to be contrarian in the most obtuse possible ways.
All that said, there’s no denying it’s way harder for prosecutors to prove murder without a body since a body can provide all sorts of evidence. A big piece of the puzzle is missing when there’s no body.
The special challenges of “no body” cases are the focus of this website called — what else? — www.nobodycases.com — which is run by a former prosecutor, Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase aka the “No Body” Guy. He took a special interest in the topic when he worked on a no body case. I haven’t read the site, but I’ve heard him interviewed and found his insights very helpful. If you’re curious about how no body cases proceed, you might want to check it out.