“My Sweet Serial Killer,” wrote Dellen Millard’s girlfriend

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The terms of Christina Noudga’s bail were relaxed so that by 2015 she was back to partying hard. Remorse is not a concept she understands.

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.

Laura Babcock murder trial: What does it mean to have no body?

In the run-up to the Laura Babcock murder trial, which is supposed to get underway in October, I wanted to take some time to address some of the questions and issues that crop up regularly.

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.

Millard-related gun trial starts May 23rd

The Walther PPK pistol used to kill Tim Bosma. At the murder trial of Dellen Millard and Mark Smich, the Crown alleged the gun had been sold to Millard by Matthew Ward-Jackson.

The trial of two of the “Three Matthews” charged with trafficking weapons that allegedly ended up in the hands of Dellen Millard will take place in Toronto on May 23rd.

Based on what i saw at the preliminary hearing, held back in 2015, it promises to be a very  interesting trial. But due to the standard pre-trial publication ban, I can’t say anything about the evidence until the trial gets underway.

Both Matthew Ward-Jackson and Matthew Odlum are pleading not guilty. The third Matthew, Matthew Wawrykiewicz, will be tried separately at a later date and is also pleading not guilty. None of the charges against them have been proven in court.

If you are interested in following this trial, please check out my Indiegogo page.

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Feel free to ask any questions you might have in the comments or email me at ann.brocklehurst@gmail.com

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Crown asks for review of Justice Antonio Di Zio ruling in Matthew Ward-Jackson case

Update July 19, 2016: The discharge is quashed. Ward-Jackson will appear at the Toronto West courthouse on July 28th, where he will be ordered to stand trial.


 

I’m a little late here, but this is an interesting case that deserves to be followed. The Crown’s move to appeal review came on September 9, almost one month to the day after Justice Di Zio threw out all the charges on August 10. When a case is discharged after a preliminary hearing, it means the judge believes there is no reasonable chance of a conviction at trial.

Those charges were: Possess Prohibited Firearm with Readily Accessible Ammunition, Possess Firearm Without a License and Registration, Possess Firearm Knowing that He Did Not Have a License or Registration, three counts of Possess Prohibited Device, Possess Prohibited Weapon in Breach of Prohibition Order, four counts of Fail to Comply with Recognizance, Possess Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking, and Possess Proceeds of Crime.

The firearm in question was a headline-making AK-47.

Unfortunately for Ward-Jackson, despite the discharge from Justice Di Zio, he’s still in the new and newly notorious Toronto South super jail due to another set of charges he faces, allegedly selling guns to Dellen Millard.

There was a prelim for those charges at Old City Hall last month. It was very interesting but remains covered by a publication ban for now. The only thing I’m prepared to tell you is that one of the prosecutors, Jill Cameron, wore red-soled shoes on the first day. Hmm.

If you watch this video closely you’ll see not only the eponymous red shoes but also Joseph Michael Horth aka Spiken Mike taking a ride in a wheel rim. He pleaded guilty to the weapons-related charges back in January, telling the judge at his sentencing that he had found God.

He also testified at the prelim that a guy called John Low had given him the AK-47 as collateral for a small loan and that he had tried to destroy it with a hammer. When that failed he hid it in the crawl space under the house where he was living in Mississauga. Police raided the house and found the gun in January 2014.

Matthew Ward-Jackson is pleading not guilty to all charges against him.