TORONTO — Three times, Dellen Millard has heard a judge declare him guilty of first-degree murder — first for killing a stranger on a test drive of a truck, then for killing a former girlfriend who was getting in the way and, on Monday, for shooting his own father in the eye while he slept.
For the first time, however, he displayed what passes for a rush of emotion from the typically stoic man.
This conviction formally makes him a serial killer, generally defined as three planned murders over time but, for many, both among his victims’ families and even among Millard’s closest friends, there seemed little doubt about that.
Outside of court, Clayton Babcock, father of Laura Babcock, who Millard killed in 2012, with his wife, Linda, and with Hank and Mary Bosma, parents of Tim Bosma, who Millard killed in 2013, emphasized that point.
“It’s been proven that not only have the Bosmas and ourselves lost a loved one, the Millard family must live with the fact that this heinous individual murdered his own father.
“We believe that everyone knew he was guilty of more than two murders when it was revealed in Laura’s trial that in a letter to Dellen Millard, (his girlfriend) Christina Noudga lovingly stated, ‘My sweet serial killer,’” he said, referencing a note police found in Noudga’s bedroom, apparently the start of a letter to Millard.
Millard, 33, the heir to a decimated aviation dynasty, almost got away with it.
Wayne Millard, 71, died in his bed Nov. 29, 2012, after a bullet passed through his left eye and nestled in his brain. Toronto police initially classified his death as a suicide.
Ontario Superior Court Judge Maureen Forestell, in her ruling, said the physical evidence suggesting Wayne Millard pulled the trigger himself with a finger or thumb of his left hand as he lay on his side as “awkward but possible.”
It was not until police had charged Millard for the murder of Bosma that his father’s death was re-examined. In her detailed decision, Forestell dismissed all doubt about what happened.
Court heard that Millard discovered his father’s body when he returned to the house they shared on Maple Gate Court in Etobicoke. He saw blood but didn’t touch the body to check if he was alive or dead and, instead of calling 911 for an ambulance or police, he called his mother, Madeleine Burns.
He waited for his mother to arrive and she called 911.
(His mother and father had split when Millard was about eight years old, Millard earlier told the National Post.)
Millard told police he slept at the home of his friend, Mark Smich, the night before he discovered his father’s body.
There was some evidence that might support that — Smich said Millard slept over and Millard’s credit card was used to pay for pizza delivered to Smich’s house. Millard’s truck was at Smich’s house all night and one of his two phones was there as well.
That was all a sham, Forestell ruled.
“It was fabricated to conceal his involvement in the death of his father,” she said.
Forestell found as fact that Millard had previously bought the .38-calibre revolver police found beside Wayne Millard’s body on the black market. Millard’s second phone was also detected near the home early that morning. A witness, Smich’s girlfriend, said Millard left the house that night without his truck to go on a date. It was to be kept quiet because it was not with his girlfriend.
“In the hours before his father’s death, Dellen Millard set up a false alibi by leaving his truck, phone and credit card at Mark Smich’s house. He travelled to the area of his father’s house and then returned to Mark Smich’s house hours later. He lied to the police when he told them that he ‘stayed’ at Mark Smich’s house.
“The only reasonable inference to be drawn from these facts, which I find are proven, is that Dellen Millard left the Smich home and went to his father’s home where he carried out a planned and deliberate killing of Wayne Millard.”
She said the evidence was circumstantial and that each individual piece, by itself, would not lead to a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
“These individual facts, however, viewed cumulatively, support no other conclusion,” Forestell said. “To conclude that this constellation of circumstances — the false alibi, Dellen Millard near the Millard home and the use of Dellen Millard’s gun — occurred coincidentally on the day that Wayne Millard was killed would be ‘irrational and fanciful’.”
As Forestell neared the end of her decision, lengthy enough she needed several pauses for water, and the direction towards a finding of guilt became clear, smiles started breaking out around the spectators.
Millard, with neatly cut hair and wearing a white collared shirt and grey blazer, however, started scowling; his jaw tightened and his brow furrowed.
After the verdict, he threw his head backwards against the glass of the prisoner’s box and looked at the ceiling, then leaned forward, his elbows on his knees, his head down. Some thought they saw him cry, although as he was led away his eyes were not red or watery.
As a police officer placed him in handcuffs, Linda Babcock stood watching him with a look, not of joy, perhaps, but a smirk, suggesting a rare moment of satisfaction in her unremitting anguish.
And as Millard was led out, she gave him a slow, deliberate clap.
Prosecutor Ken Lockhart said the Crown will be seeking a rare third consecutive life sentence for Millard, who is already ineligible for parole for 50 years for the Bosma and Babcock murders.
His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 16.
• Email: [email protected] | Twitter: AD_Humphreys