Wayne Millard Preliminary Hearing – Jan. 4, 2016

The preliminary hearing for the Wayne Millard murder trial gets underway today at the Toronto West aka Jane and Finch courthouse.

On January 18th, jury selection for the Tim Bosma murder trial begins in Hamilton.

I’ve put together a list of the best background articles on the murders of Tim Bosma, Laura Babcock and Wayne Millard here.

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

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.

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Murder or suicide: The investigation into the death of Wayne Millard

The Toronto Star had a great article yesterday on the disappearance and death of Laura Babcock, and how the police conducted or failed to conduct their initial investigations. The case was handled by 22 Division, which also looked into the sudden death of Wayne Millard, another investigation which, in my opinion, raises serious questions and which I wrote about in April. That death in November 2012 was originally deemed a suicide, but some of the new facts that have come to light make it hard to understand just how this could have happened and why Wayne Millard’s body was released for cremation so quickly. Let me elaborate:

  1. The Toronto Sun reported more than a year ago that Wayne Millard was shot in the eye. This is, to say the least, unusual. (And given that this info. was leaked to the Sun by a police officer, it would seem to indicate that someone in the force wasn’t happy with the initial investigation.)
  2. Wayne Millard is alleged to have been killed with a trafficked gun. This info. was originally reported by the Hamilton Spectator and then backed up further by a report in the Toronto Star. How on earth did the original investigators miss this?
  3. A source who was on the scene at the Millard family home the night police investigated the death, said that those present included Dellen Millard, his mother and Wayne’s ex-wife, Madeleine Burns, and Dellen Millard’s ex-fiancee, who cannot be named due to a publication ban. As far as I can tell, these are the only people police initially questioned about Wayne Millard’s death. They did not talk to anyone at the multi-million dollar business he had just launched nor do they appear to have spoken to others with whom Wayne Millard had regular, even daily, dealings.
  4. Mark Smich had been living in the basement of the Etobicoke house Wayne and Dellen shared before Wayne’s death. It’s not clear whether police were aware of this or talked to Smich.
  5. Wayne’s family members were not told the cause of his death. A cousin and his aunt were not even notified he had died.

As much as there are many unanswered questions about the investigation into Laura Babcock’s disappearance, there are also questions about the Wayne Millard death, which need to be answered as well.

Dellen Millard, who has been charged with his father’s death, is pleading not guilty and none of the charges against him have been proven in court.

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

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.

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Toronto police investigations into the deaths of Laura Babcock and Wayne MIllard

I have a new article in the Grid about the Toronto police investigations into the deaths of Laura Babcock and Wayne MIllard:

This past Thursday, there was a major breakthrough in the puzzling murder case of Tim Bosma, the Ancaster, Ont., man who put his Dodge Ram truck up for sale online last spring, went for a test drive with two prospective buyers, and never returned. The young father’s tragic death was one of the biggest stories of 2013, but for months there had been almost no news. The accused killers—Dellen Millard, the heir to an aviation company, and his friend Mark Smich—had both pleaded not guilty; the case was slowly winding its way through the courts.

 

Those who have been closely following the case weren’t expecting to hear much more until the trial begins in 2015. I had become increasingly pessimistic about whether two linked investigations by Toronto police involving Millard would ever yield results. So it was a huge surprise last Thursday when he was charged with two more first-degree murders: that of his father, Wayne, whose 2012 shooting death had been initially ruled a suicide; and that of Laura Babcock, a friend of Millard’s who went missing in 2012. (Smich is also facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of Babcock.)

Read the whole thing.

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Before Tim Bosma: The original investigations into Laura Babcock and Wayne Millard

Dellen Millard was accused of killing Tim Bosma in 2013. Then last week, he was charged in two more murders dating back to 2012—which raises the question: if Millard had been in custody sooner, would Bosma still be alive?

This past Thursday, there was a major breakthrough in the puzzling murder case of Tim Bosma, the Ancaster, Ont., man who put his Dodge Ram truck up for sale online last spring, went for a test drive with two prospective buyers, and never returned. The young father’s tragic death was one of the biggest stories of 2013, but for months there had been almost no news. The accused killers—Dellen Millard, the heir to an aviation company, and his friend Mark Smich—had both pleaded not guilty; the case was slowly winding its way through the courts.

Those who have been closely following the story weren’t expecting to hear much more until the trial begins in 2015. I had become increasingly pessimistic about whether two linked investigations by Toronto police involving Millard would ever yield results. So it was a huge surprise last Thursday when he was charged with two more first-degree murders: that of his father, Wayne, whose 2012 shooting death had been initially ruled a suicide; and that of Laura Babcock, a friend of Millard’s who went missing in 2012. (Smich is also facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of Babcock.)

While the Hamilton Police have been handling the investigation into Bosma’s death, Toronto Police Services has jurisdiction in Babcock’s and Wayne Millard’s alleged murders. Family and friends of Babcock have voiced concerns about how TPS dealt with her case. Journalists have also been critical. Even the typically cop-friendly Toronto Sun criticized homicide detective Mike Carbone for praising the Babcock investigators as “thorough” and “very diligent,” given the evidence of delays and confusion in the investigation.

Since last May, when I started covering the story of Dellen Millard, I have spoken extensively with friends and relations of his alleged victims and filed several access to information requests to better understand the process the police undertake when dealing with missing persons and suicides. My research raised serious questions about the investigations, whether basic protocols and procedures were followed, and, more significantly, whether Bosma’s death could have been prevented.

Laura Babcock, a 23-year-old recent graduate from the University of Toronto, disappeared in the summer of 2012. In the months before her death, her life started falling apart. Friends say she was struggling with mental illness, using recreational drugs, and moving from temporary home to the next. According to police, she had also begun advertising her services online as an escort. In late June, she met up with her ex-boyfriend Shawn Lerner, who loaned her his iPad so she could look for work, and he paid for her to stay at a west-end hotel. Then, in early July, she went silent. Lerner reported her missing to Toronto police on July 14; her parents followed up not long after.

Last December, I met up with Lerner at a north Toronto food court. He stressed to me that from the time he walked into the 32 Division police station near Yonge and Sheppard to report Babcock missing, no one seemed to care—allegations he’s made previously in the media. The officer on duty agreed to take the report, but Lerner says that he laughed at the suggestion that it might be possible to trace the iPad loaned to Babcock and accused Lerner of playing CSI. Then Lerner brought up the fact that Babcock had been using drugs. “As soon as they heard about the drugs, that’s when they just wrote her off,” he said.

Babcock’s cellphone bill shows that the last eight phone calls she made after she disappeared were to Dellen Millard. Babcock’s parents and Lerner have repeatedly stated that they gave the bill to police. They also followed up with Sgt. Stephen Woodhouse, the officer in charge of the investigation, but Lerner says the officer did not return his emails and that his voicemail was often full. (In a May 2013 National Post story, Woodhouse said that the original investigators were not aware of the relationship between Babcock and Millard, and that her phone records were not brought to their attention at the time.)

Dismayed by the lack of response, Lerner, who has acted as a kind of unofficial spokesman for the Babcock family, contacted Millard himself. Lerner still has the text messages he sent to the accused killer, who he knew casually through Babcock. In one text, Lerner wrote that he was not making accusations but trying to get information. Millard responded almost immediately to suggest a meeting.

When the two men met for coffee the next day, Lerner said that Millard initially denied having spoken with Babcock. But after Lerner produced the phone bill from his bag, Lerner said that Millard changed his story, saying Babcock had contacted him looking for drugs. Lerner says he passed this information on to Woodhouse.

By spring of 2013, the investigation into Babcock’s disappearance had pretty much stalled. Woodhouse had been transferred to another position. When asked about the case by theNational Post in May of that year, he said, “In a city of three million people, where do you start? We did the standard press release and put her picture out there…. We followed the leads that we had.”

In early June 2013, shortly after he was put in charge of the Babcock and Wayne Millard cases, homicide detective Mike Carbone spoke at a press conference. He made no mention of the major case management (MCM) system, which was implemented in Ontario in the late ’90s in response to the policing and communications failures revealed in the wake of the Paul Bernardo case. According to the TPS Policy and Procedure manual, the relevant pages of which were obtained through a freedom of information request, in any missing-persons case where foul play is suspected, the officer in charge must ensure that “a Major Case Manager is assigned to conduct the investigation in compliance with the Ontario Major Case Management Manual.” Police appeared to have not suspected foul play in the disappearance of Babcock, despite the fact she’d been missing for months, had left her passport with her parents, and had not made any financial transactions nor used her health card or phone since June 2012.

To the astonishment of reporters at the news conference, Carbone said that officers had only become aware of Babcock’s phone records in May 2013 as a result of the arrest of Millard for Bosma’s murder. Carbone later contradicted himself, saying that “at some point [during the investigation into Babcock’s disappearance] the officers from 22 Division would have conducted searches on her telephone and discovered those records.” When a reporter then asked if officers had ever spoken to Millard, Carbone replied: “I don’t believe the police interviewed Millard at the time.” I contacted Carbone a few weeks after the news conference and asked him to clarify this point, but he declined to comment due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.

babcock-bkgd-878x494

Laura Babcock’s phone bill showed her last eight phone calls before she disappeared were to Dellen Millard

On Nov. 29, 2012, 22 Division police in Etobicoke were alerted by a 911 call to investigate the shooting death of 71-year-old Wayne Millard at the home he shared with his son, Dellen. Just before he died, Wayne had completed the building of a new, multimillion-dollar Millardair operation at the airport in Waterloo, Ont. A pilot by training, he had inherited the family aviation business and planned on running the new venture, which he called Dellen’s project, with his only child.

Until last week, police had released scant information about his death. At the Babcock news conference in 2013, Carbone declined to answer questions about who had phoned 911 or found the body. He also refused to confirm newspaper reports that Wayne had been shot in the eye. He did, however, praise the police who looked into the death and classified it as a suicide for their “very thorough” work.

The Toronto Police Service protocols for investigations of suspected suicides emphasize “the need to remain vigilant for the possibility of foul play…[when] the only witness or person present at the time of death or finding of the body is an intimate partner past or present.”

Again, foul play does not appear to have suspected. Investigators never contacted executives at Millardair, according to Al Sharif, a consultant to the business. And the only relatives who appear to have spoken to police are Dellen and his mother. Wayne’s aunt, June Neill, wrote a comment on his online obituary that she had not been told about her nephew’s death or about the reception in his honour. (She died in February 2014.)

Complicating matters is the fact that the people Dellen did inform about Wayne’s death were told that he had died of an aneurysm. They only learned that it was a suspected suicide after the Bosma murder. I’ve spoken to more than a dozen people about Wayne, and not one has said they could imagine him killing himself.

The Babcock disappearance was not the first time Dellen Millard’s name had been brought to the attention of authorities. But since TPS has released only the barest details about their investigations into the deaths of Babcock and Wayne Millard, it’s not known whether they checked for and knew about Dellen’s previous contacts with police, or just didn’t see them as significant.

In 2009, a former tenant at Dellen’s west-end Toronto rental property —who was engaged in a dispute with him before the Landlord Tenant Board at the time—reported to police that she had found Millard and his friends tampering with the engine of her car the night before her hearing. A few years back, a neighbour of the Millards (who asked not to be identified) complained to police that Dellen and his buddies sped dangerously down the child-filled street. (Nothing came of these complaints.) According to a November 2013 article in theToronto Star, Millard had once been stopped by police and issued a contact card—the tattoo on his wrist that read “ambition” was recorded at the time, a detail that led police to him in the Bosma case.

This past September, on a fine Monday morning, police descended once again on Dellen Millard’s farm, near Cambridge, Ont., where Bosma’s remains had been found months earlier. This time, though, they were searching for evidence related to the disappearance of Babcock. There were Toronto homicide detectives, uniformed officers from the local Waterloo force, forensic technicians in lab coats, and an OPP HAZMAT team with oxygen tanks strapped to their backs and gas masks covering their faces. The road was lined with fire trucks, buses, and vans carrying television news crews.

Soon after this search, the OPP confirmed that  it was in charge of the three Millard-related investigations under the auspices of the major case management system. As part of their responsibilities, they also began dealing with the press. In November, lead Det. Insp. Dave Hillman spoke to me frankly and openly about how major case management works and why everything crime- and justice-related seems to drag on for so long. But he declined then to provide any new information about the state of the individual investigations, which continue to be run by the Toronto and Hamilton police.

When I visited Toronto police headquarters in February to pick up some documents, I dropped by the media office to try once again to find out if there was anything at all they could tell me about the initial handling of the Babcock and Wayne Millard investigations. Would it be possible, for example, to say whether detectives looking into Wayne’s death knew about Dellen allegedly messing with his tenant’s car? Or could police explain why Wayne’s body was released for cremation when the coroner’s office said in May that the investigation into his death was still open?

Spokesman Mark Pugash politely explained that it simply wasn’t possible to provide answers. If a review of a criminal investigation is ever deemed necessary, it doesn’t take place until the criminal investigation is settled. Disciplinary actions don’t run concurrently.

There is little doubt the developments of the past week will have an impact on this story. Now that Millard has been charged with the murders of his father and Babcock, both cases are back in the headlines. It will be difficult to ignore any irregularities in the investigations. Was standard protocol followed? If not, will anyone be held accountable? And what are the Toronto police doing to ensure oversights don’t occur? The families and friends of the victims, and all the people of Toronto, have a right to know.

New information from Wayne Millard about the Millardair Kitchener operations

This email was given to me by an unimpeachable source. It was sent in August 2011 from Wayne Millard to a friend. It’s not really enough material for me to write a new story, but I thought it would be of interest to those still following the Tim Bosma case and the prosecution of accused murderers, Dellen Millard and Mark Smich:

Our lease expired last april and the Toronto airport authority refused to renew it, which forced me to “remove” the old hangar – i.e. demolish it, at our expense, $600,000. However through a series of good coincident for me (it seemed like an angel was causing  some things to happen) i managed to get $2 million from the airport for them to get ownership of the new hangar, (which they thought they were just going to automatically take over ownership of at lease end) the big hangar where the birthday parties were for my father, which is where air transat operates a maintenance hangar. Well, more good fortune came my way. Kitchener airport practically begged us to build a hangar at an area of their airport they want to develop and offered unheard of conditions for a lease – which we are signing onto this month – i’ve got it here on my desk looking it over, it’s really good. So, the picture is of the land being prepared for the new hangar we will build at kitchener starting this month. It’s going to be 50,000 square feet – 212 x 243’ with a 60’ high taildoor, good for 2 320s or 737s, or 1 757 or airbus 310. But who’s the tenant for this? Another piece of good luck came my way – skyservice airlines went broke last year and i’ve got their top 3 maintence people – who i happen to know from my flying days with Canada 3000, where they were then  –  now writing manuals for transport approval for a maintenance shop ( in today’s lingo, “MRO”, maintenance, repair and overhaul ) to do heavy maintenance on small airliners. The unknown in all this downwind sailing is whether we will get the customers we need. Well, that’s about what is going on – we hope to have the hangar finished this winter. I will send you pictures as it progresses. Hope all is well with you

Over

wayne

Coincidences are funny things

More than a month ago, people like me, who’ve been following the Tim Bosma murder investigation closely, discovered a curious post on ancestry.com. It was from WW,  a 45-year-old Tillsonburg, Ont. man looking for his long lost father, Wayne Millard, which just happens to be the name of the late father of accused Bosma murder suspect, Dellen Millard.

Wayne Millard, who died of a gunshot wound to the head on Nov. 29, 2012 and whose death is now being investigated after originally being classified as a suicide,  was 71 so he could very well have been the father. What’s more, the MIllard family had roots in the area so it’s also possible Wayne Millard had spent time there.

On top of all that, WW first joined ancestry.com in November 2007, the same month that Dellen Millard registered with the Genebase site.

It seemed like a lot of coincidences and a good lead, and not surprisingly members of websleuths.com reported it to the police.

When I finally reached WW in early June, he said he was not aware of the Bosma murder and had not been contacted by police. Both he and his mother told stories that pretty much convinced me the man they were looking for was not Dellen MIllard’s father.

I then travelled to Woodstock to pick up some court documents that I thought might be relevant but which I can’t cite because several are covered by a publication ban. Based on the information in those documents, I did, however, follow up with others, who confirmed WW’s story.

At that point, I decided that, unless some new information comes to light, there was no reason to further pursue the WW connection. Without violating the publication ban, I can only say that there are reasons police might have not felt it necessary to interview WW.

On another note, it is important to remember, there are a few Wayne Millards in Ontario. The Toronto Star erroneously reported that Dellen’s father had bought a house in Ajax, when, in fact, it is owned by another Wayne Millard, totally unrelated to the family and this case — and, for the record, way too young to be WW’s father.

Dellen Millard’s strange obituary for his father Wayne

Wayne Millard with young Dellen Millard

Wayne Millard with young Dellen Millard

One of the first things that drew me to take a closer look at Dellen Millard, the accused murderer of Tim Bosma, was the odd obituary he wrote for his father.

Wayne Millard died on November 29, 2012 of what we now know was a gunshot to the head, but when I first read his obituary this had not yet been revealed and the police had still not reopened their investigation into Wayne’s death, originally deemed a suicide.

I found it strange that the obituary didn’t mention any other family members than Dellen. There was nothing about Carl Millard, the father in whose footsteps Wayne had followed and who he is said to have adored; not a word about Madeleine Burns, Dellen’s mother with whom Wayne supposedly remained on good terms; and no references to his aunts, cousins or the new woman in his life who he was reportedly about to marry. Everyone was excised from Wayne’s life except for the son, who is now being investigated for his father’s death.

Later I learned from the many people that I interviewed for my National Post article on the Millard family, that none of them were informed about the reception at Vinsanto restaurant in Wayne’s honour and that his colleagues at the new Millardair business at Waterloo airport were all told he died of a brain aneurysm. When still others learned through the grapevine or from the newspaper obit of Wayne’s death, they mostly assumed the cause was a heart attack.

At this point, Toronto police are saying next to nothing about their re-opened investigation into Wayne Millard’s death. And, unfortunately, as a relative newcomer to this city, I don’t have the police sources that the veteran Toronto crime reporters do. For this reason, I am asking anyone who could help me track down Wayne’s girlfriend/fiancee to please get in touch with me. You can leave a comment here (mark it confidential if you wish and I won’t approve it for publication) or send an email to ann.brocklehurst@gmail.com. Every little bit of information helps.


November 2016 Update: You can read more about Dellen Millard and his relationship with his father in the book, Dark Ambition: The Shocking Crime of Dellen Millard and Mark Smich.

Dark Ambition is for sale online at McNally Robinson, Chapters/Indigo, Amazon.ca and Amazon.com. Or you can pick it up in your local indie bookstore, Chapters, Indigo, Coles — and at Costco.