In an Agreed Statement of Facts, Mark Smich admits his presence on a test drive with Igor Tumanenko. Smich was identified in a photo lineup May 15 and arrested one week later on May 22
These are my Feb 4 notes, not a transcript. All quotes are accurate but lots of dialogue is missing. The key parts are all here
Dellen Millard has switched from his white shirt into a blue shirt with white stripes. Mark Smich has also changed from a white shirt to black and white checks, but kept the same dark gray v-neck sweater on top. The courtroom is about 80-90% full.
The schedule calls for 9 or 10 witnesses to appear today.
First up is Omar Palmili, a slim, fit-looking man wearing a grey suit and pink shirt. He had a 2007 Dodge 3500 special edition, extended cab, metallic black pickup truck with leather interiors and a 5th wheel for sale. It was in very good condition and advertised on Autotrader.
A potential buyer called to ask why he was selling the truck.
“I explained at that time I wasn’t using it because I have another one, basically it was sitting in my parking lot,” Palmili said. “He answered, ‘Oh it’s sitting in the parking lot’…I was a little surprised because of the tone of voice.”
Palmili had to ask the caller twice what his name was. “He had a very deep masculine voice. I believe he was mumbling the name or lowered tone and I couldn’t get it right.”
It sounded like Evan, Ethan or Avan to Palmili.
He and the caller made arrangements for a test drive two days later on Sunday, some time between 3:30 and 4:30. The potential buyer was supposed to call when he was on his way, but when Palmili didn’t hear from him by 4:30, he took a nap. He missed a later call from the potential buyer.
Palmili tried getting in touch with ‘Evan’ a few times more times after that but could never reach him.
On cross examination Millard’s lawyer, Nadir Sachak, poses a bunch of questions about the truck and its location in the parking lot before picking apart Palmili’s testimony about the caller’s name.
“You didn’t say, sir, you seem to be mumbling or it appears you’ve changed the tone of your voice?”
“It wasn’t so suspicious because you made arrangements to see him the next day?”
Sachak gives Palmili a copy of the statement he made to police.
“‘He lowered his tone of voice when he gave his name’ — does it say that in the statement?”
What about how he somehow changed his tone of voice, asks Sachak.
“No it doesn’t say.”
“What it does say and I want you to correct me if I’m wrong is, ‘I told him I’m not using the truck, that it’s just sitting in my parking lot. He said, ‘Oh, it’s just sitting in the parking lot.’”
“This was statement when your recollection was most accurate … as time goes on, your memory suffers a bit?”
Sachak wraps up and Mark Smich’s lawyer Tom Dungey takes over.
“I take it you’ve never been involved in anything like this before,” he begins.
“The reason you remember about this person mumbling, lowering his voice, you asked him twice” what his name was?
“Prior to this, you had no problem.”
“One of the reasons you remember is because you asked him his name again?”
“He never said to you in clear loud English, ‘My name is Dellen, my name is Millard?’”
“That’s the only time he mumbles?”
Shortly after, it’s a wrap for Palmili. The next Crown witness arrives. It’s Arthur Jennings, 60-something, shaven head, grey goatee, glasses, Mom jeans, tie, striped shirt. He has a bit of an aging biker look going on.
Jennings says a cheerful good morning. Crown prosecutor Brent Moodie establishes that in 2013 he had returned to school to study supply chain management. The school was supposed to try to get him a job placement, but they didn’t succeed so he approached his son-in-law, Shane Schlatman, who worked for Dellen MIllard at the Millardair hangar at Waterloo International Airport.
What was Shane’s role, asks Moodie.
Pretty much everything when Dell wasn’t there, says Jennings whose placement began on Feb. 6, 2013.
As for Jennings, he usually worked a six-hour day. There was another guy who would sometimes help Shane with cars and some Colombian contractors that worked for Millard doing construction, but after they left it was just Dell, Shane and Jennings.
Any airplane work, asks Moodie.
“No absolutely not,” says Jennings.
He explains he did whatever MIllard wanted done and worked on rebuilding his own personal golf cart when there was nothing else to do.
“You brought your own golf cart,” asks the prosecutor
“I would work on my golf cart. Dellen wanted (Shane) to build an electric bike so Shane was on that. Spencer might work on one of his cars. Dellen wanted a trailer built.”
“Would you work on your golf cart frequently?”
They never really knew when Dellen would show up, says Jennings.
“Dellen would say ‘hi.’ I would say ‘hi.’ We never really got into personal conversation.”
Monday May 6, 2013 was just a normal work day mostly spent working on the trailer.
There was no set routine. Jennings usually brought coffee and donuts for Shane. They put their lunch boxes away. He worked til about 4, then went home.
The next day, as was his habit, he went to his son-in-law’s house for coffee, to chat with his daughter and see his grandkids. It was a beautiful day, and he had decided to take it off. He told Shane as they were drinking their coffee. Then, Shane’s phone dinged, a text coming through.
“The look on Shane’s face was pretty shocked, surprised.” It was a text from Dellen, says Jennings. When he went out to his car, he says he got the same message: “Airport politics no one goes to the hangar today, not even just to grab something.”
Later that day, Jennings saw a report about Tim Bosma going missing on the news.
“You’re a truck guy?” says Moodie.
“I am, yes. The running boards were chrome and steel.”
“Why did that catch your eye?”
“It just did, didn’t look normal. A normal truck wouldn’t have it. It looked nice.”
The next day, Jennings recounts, he went back to work, brought coffee and donuts, put his lunch away, had a chat and then headed to the washroom.
“There was a black Dodge pickup sitting on a green tarp on the floor. My exact words to myself were, ‘Oh my God, could that be the truck?’”
He recognized the chrome running boards, he says.
“My son-in-law was told not to come to work which really perked my interest. It was very unusual. He was expected to be at work no matter what.”
Jennings stayed away from the truck all Wednesday. “I was uncomfortable,” he told the court
The next day, he says, Shane told him Dell had purchased the truck from someone in Kitchener.
When he first saw it, Jennings testified, “except for the back bench seat, everything else was out of it.” The plates were gone too. There were some paint cans on the tarp.
Jennings went home and discussed the situation with his wife, who also couldn’t believe what he was telling her.
The next day, he took a photograph of truck and the VIN number, he tells the court.
He phoned Crimestoppers in Brantford and gave them the last six digits of the VIN and asked them to check if it was Tim’s truck. “That’s all I can tell you right now,” he said. “I will call you back if you check those VIN numbers.
“I was pacing, going outside, having 15 cigarettes.Iwas hoping beyond hope it was not the truck and Dell was not involved … She said, ‘Yes, it is the truck. Where is it? Please tell us where it is.’
“I went into shock. I went inside my pickup truck and vomited because I was that upset. I was upset for everybody.”
He phoned his wife but didn’t talk to Shane. “I knew Shane and Dellen were so close that I didn’t want to cause a rift between them.”
By that night, his daughter knew something was going on. Shane came to his house and blew up, he told the court. Then Shane left.
On Friday morning, there were more coffee and donuts at work just like on a normal day. “I didn’t know how far up this went. I didn’t want to bring harm upon myself or my family,” said Jennings. “It was better just to stay off to the side and let’s see what happens.
“We were working on the trailer project that day. Shane was adamant it had to be done. When Dell wanted something, Shane made every effort to get it done.”
By Friday, something had changed, however. The black truck was gone, the tarp was gone and the giant trailer that sat outside the hangar was also gone, Jennings said.
After lunch, he went to Home Depot to get some boards they needed for their renovation of another trailer. When he came back, Shane and Dell were in the office area, where Jennings said Dell lived.
“Dell was looking at me. Shane would look at me, turn his head. They were having a heated discussion,” he told the court.
Then Millard came over and told him to get all his stuff and go home. “That’s when I later found out that the police had been there,” Jennings testified.
“He wasn’t angry, just calm, same old Dell. It really had me confused.”
He collected his tools, his golf cart, yet another trailer Shane was going to build him, and a meat smoker. He gave the key fob for the hangar back to Shane.
“I felt like a mouse in a trap,” he said. “I didn’t know if someone was going to come in and whack me. I had no idea. I didn’t know what was going on. I packed up all my stuff drove it home.”
“At some point Mr. Jennings, you go to police — why?”
“I wanted to be proactive not reactive.I didn’t want myself or son-in-law involved. And I knew we weren’t. I knew it was better to tell my story before they made me look like I was part of the crime and I wasn’t. He wasn’t.”
Jennings also testified that he had met Mark Smich half a dozen times at the hangar including the week of May 6th when Smich was there one day with Millard. Asked which day, he replied: “It had to be Wednesday because Thursday was a bad day.” He said Millard had given Smich a weird look that day.
On other occasions, Smich and his girlfriend came to work at the hangar. He and Jennings occasionally chatted superficially on their smoke breaks.
Ravin Pillay handles the cross for Millard.
Monday May 6, it was a normal day, he asks Jennings.
“Pretty much, yes.”
“No one mentioned it would be shutting down the following day?”
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.”
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?”
Nothing out of the ordinary, asks Pillay.
“Not when I first get there, no.”
“The truck was immediately apparent?”
“Your heart sank? You got a gut feeling?”
“Yes I did.”
“You said, ‘Oh my God?’”
“Yes, it was quite a shock.”
Pillay asks how big the hangar was — 50,000 square feet?
“I just know it was a big hangar and it was hard to wash by myself with a mop.” (Jennings mentions several times in his testimony that he was required to wash the entire hangar floor.)
“No attempt to conceal the truck?”
“You become very suspicious?”
“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?”
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?”
“You talked to Shane about the truck?”
“Thursday night, yes.”
Jennings testifies that the reason he was given as to why Millard’s vehicles were stripped down is that he had an allergy to mould.
He also said Shane was intending to quit on Friday because he didn’t want to be involved in anything.
Asked about Smich, he said he and his girlfriend did whatever Millard wanted them to do. “They showed up with Dell and they left with Dell … Mark did what Dell wanted him to do. I didn’t pay any attention to what they were doing but it was obvious he was helping Dell.”
Jennings told Dungey it was made clear to him that others’ work assignments were “none of my business … it was made quite clear to me what my position was.”
“How was it made clear to you?”
“My son-in-law. it was a work relationship. it’s strange to understand.I didn’t ask questions. I didn’t want to.”
“Did you ever see any work done on airplanes?”
People worked on “cars or construction dell wanted done in building, putting up walls stuff like that.”
There was “nothing got done in that hangar without Dell having control?”
“You never saw Mr. Smich there without Dell?”
“You are agreeing with me?”
“He had to be there or give permission to be there?”
After hours, “I wasn’t allowed near that building. After I left, just common knowledge you don’t go back until the morning.”
“This is not a criticism, but you were hesitant to put you name forward?”
“For the safety of Shane, my daughter and my grandkids…I just knew that I didn’t want to be involved and wanted to discuss it with my family and make sure my family was the same. It was a primal instinct to protect my family.”
Igor Tumanenko is the day’s final witness and one I’ve been waiting to see a long time. He is the guy who went on the first test drive with Smich and his tall buddy, and identified the Ambition tattoo. He’s tall, fit, broad shouldered, barrel chested and has a fantastically thick Russian accent. He’s wearing a long-sleeved grey t-shirt, jeans and trainers. He was trying to sell his Dodge Ram truck on kijiji and Autotrader. He wanted to replace it with a cube van.
He met up with the test drivers on Sunday May 5 at his apartment building in North York near Bathurst and Steeles. “Two fellows show up just from nowhere,” he says, adding that he didn’t know where their car was parked. The three men shook hands
The tall guy gave his name as Evan, not Ivan the Russian name, Igor remembers.
Smich — who Dungey admitted Thursday, in an agreed statement of facts, was present for the test drive — was “not hiding but never in front of me,” said Igor.
The taller guy did show interest in the car, jumping around to check the suspension. He told Igor he was planning to tow some race cars to Calgary.
They headed out for a test drive, first with Igor driving and then, after a bit, he handed over the keys to the taller guy. “We had obviously nice conversation,” says Igor. “I told him I am familiar with this engine from Israeli army experience. Shorter guy asks me, ‘What did you do in Israeli army?’ I look at him and I tell him, ‘You don’t want to know what I did there.’”
The taller guy turned and looked at the shorter guy in the back seat, which alarmed Igor as the taller guy was doing 60k on a highway exit ramp, according to Igor.
“Did the mood change,” asks Moodie.
“I would say there was a change of temperature, dynamic inside of car.”
By now, the men were back on Yonge street.
Asked to describe the taller guy, Igor said: “The guy was taller than me but not like basketball player” and “he was skinny not fat like me” and he “was wearing a man bag, I call this Indiana Jones but much smaller, more Hangover like bag.”
On May 7, Igor gave an audio recorded statement to Hamilton police.
“Did you notice any distinguishing features?” asks Moodie.
He describes a tattoo located on the wrist.
“It was saying ambition and it was in a frame.”
“Small or capitals?”
“I think it was capitals.”
“What were you paying attention to? What was the dynamic like? What were you focussed in on?”
“Nothing specific. I pay attention to tattoo. In country where I was born tattoo was a criminal language, another thing I pay attention to… so yes, I pay attention to what it’s saying. It’s very ambition to have ambition on your arm.”
Sachak strolls over to the podium to begin his cross examination. He smiles and and asks, “How are you, sir?”
“Good,” says Igor in his heavy Russian accent.
Sachak makes the point that Igor lives in a very large building at an “extremely busy intersection.”
“People can look at the parking lot from units in building,” he suggests as Igor agrees.
On the test drive, he asks, “you also had normal chit chat?”
Igor says that the tall guy showed knowledge of the truck. “He played with odometer. I just wonder what he’s doing there. It’s not an ipad,” he told the court.
Igor suggested they go on the 407 so the test drivers could check the car.
“He was appreciative?” asks Sachak.
“I don’t know,” answers Igor. “He didn’t buy the truck so I don’t know if he was appreciative.”
Sachak moves on to what happened after the Israeli army comment, coaxing more information out of Igor.
“I see taller guy turn his head and look around. I think, ‘c’mon you need to drive.’”
How long, asks Sachak.
“It was enough for me… 1 second, 2 second, when you’re driving 60 you can not look in the back.”
“Did you say, ‘buddy what you’re doing?’”
No, says Igor.
“It was not so bad for me to start screaming ‘pay attention to the road’ (but) it was there.”
“You want to describe it as a big deal but it was not big deal.”
“i just want to describe what happened.”
“Not only was it not the end of the world, you were not concerned about the glance.”
As the cross examination continues, Igor tells Sachak he remembers the driver adjusting his seat after the Israeli army comment and “moving like a mouse” in his seat.
Sachak asks Igor to look at his original police statement. “I don’t want to nitpick,” he says. But there’s “no reference to him moving like a mouse.”
Things get so heated between counsel and witness that the judge has to intervene. At one point Igor also says to Sachak, “Don’t tell me what I don’t know.”
As he did with Omar Palmili, Sachak is seeking to expose inconsistencies between the witness’s testimony in court and their original police statements. He asks Igor about his police statement:
“You were being honest?”
This statement was made two days after test drive.
“Your memory then was much better than it is in today?”
“Yes and no. When detective called me and they came, second person disappeared. You become a little bit nervous.”
All the statement says, says Sachak, is that after the IsraelI army comment, the two guys exchanged looks — a glance.
There’s nothing about adjusting seats, nothing about moving like mouse, nothing about the temperature changing, nothing about how you were concerned driving off road, the attorney says.
Today is “the first time you mention anything about moving like a mouse.”
“It starts coming back to me like a flash,” says Igor who will return to court on Monday to continue his testimony.