Tim Bosma trial: Widow recalls night her husband disappeared
Christina Commisso and Karolyn Coorsh, CTVNews.ca
Published Monday, February 1, 2016 4:31AM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 1, 2016 7:10PM EST
When Tim Bosma got a call from a man interested in buying his pickup truck, he wondered whether he should go along for the test drive.
His wife, Sharlene Bosma, told a Hamilton court on Monday that she told her husband to go, “because we want the truck to come back.”
Bosma, a 32-year-old father, never came back that night. He disappeared on May 6, 2013, after taking two strangers for a test drive of the truck he had posted for sale online. Police found his body more than a week later "burned beyond recognition."
Dellen Millard, of Toronto, and Mark Smich, from Oakville, Ont., have both pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in Bosma's death.
The trial got underway on Monday, nearly three years after Bosma's charred remains were found on a southern Ontario farm.
Sharlene Bosma became emotional when she took the stand on Monday. She said the couple was trying to have another child when her husband went missing. She described how two men came to their home that night and walked up their driveway before taking off with Bosma in his truck.
Sharlene Bosma recalled seeing the two men outside her house that night, and referred to one of them as “cellphone guy” because he was on the phone with her husband as Tim came outside to greet them.
She testified that she thought it was unusual that the two men arrived on foot in an area where people generally drive. “Cellphone guy” told her husband that they got a ride there, and that the driver was at a Tim Hortons, she testified.
Sharlene Bosma described the two men, and said the other purported buyer, who wore a red-hooded sweater, kept his distance as they checked out the car. She did not speak or “interfere” with the sale. “I let Tim handle it,” she testified.
After the truck drove off, Sharlene Bosma turned to her tenant, Wayne De Boer, who had also witnessed the encounter, and said, “that was weird.” De Boer responded by saying that the “red hoodie guy was sketchy,” she said.
Under cross-examination, Millard’s lawyer Ravin Pillay asked Sharlene Bosma about how closely she had watched the men during the sale. She agreed she had not been paying direct attention.
Sharlene Bosma agreed she had been half-watching the men, saying, “I don’t know what men look at” when they’re buying a vehicle.
During his own testimony on Monday, De Boer described the two men arriving at the house, and said that only “cellphone guy” and Tim spoke. He recalled the same seating arrangement in the truck as Sharlene Bosma had described, saying that Tim was in the front passenger seat, while “cellphone guy” drove and the second man rode in the back.
De Boer said the vehicle sharply cut a corner as it drove off, which stood out to him because in a large truck, the driver would maneuver differently.
Crown prosecutor Craig Fraser said in his opening statement earlier in the day that Bosma was abducted, shot at close range inside his truck and his body was then incinerated.
Fraser said police found the pickup truck at Millard's mother’s home in Kleinburg, Ont., with the seats and cushions ripped out and burned.
Fraser said Bosma's DNA and a significant amount of gunshot residue were found inside the pickup truck.
Fraser also said Millard's fingerprints were found on the inside and the outside of the truck and he was carrying the keys to Bosma's truck when he was arrested.
Fraser said that cell phone records show Millard and Smich were outside of Bosma's home on the day he disappeared.
Trial expected to last four months
Earlier in the day, when the accused were asked if they're ready for trial, Millard, wearing a white dress shirt and dress pants, replied confidently, "yes I am."
Smich, wearing a white dress shirt and a grey cardigan, said "yes" quietly.
A Bosma family spokesperson said Monday morning that the trial was adding to the family’s grief.
“Today is going to be a very tough day for them,” Peter Lowe told reporters outside the courthouse. “It’s going to be a tough time of grieving.”
Seven men and seven women have been selected to the jury, along with two alternates. Jurors have been told that the trial is expected to last four months.
Justice Andrew Goodman excused one juror, who was replaced with an alternate juror.
Goodman instructed the jury not to discuss any details of the trial with others, and not to read anything about the proceedings in the media or via social media.
"It is your job to describe from the evidence that you see and hear what the facts are in the case," he said.
He also explained to the jury the difference between direct and circumstantial evidence and went into detail about the concept of reasonable doubt.
Goodman reminded the jury that the “burden of proof always rests with the prosecution.”
Millard appeared to be taking notes as the judge spoke to the jury, while Smich stared ahead.
Millard, who is the heir to an aviation business, was arrested on May 10, 2013 and charged with forcible confinement and theft of a vehicle.
On May 22, police arrested Smich. Both men were charged with first-degree murder.
With files from The Canadian Press