Almost a year before police discovered human bones inside an incinerator on a farm owned by Dellen Millard, the Millard Air employee who ordered the device was exclaiming his approval for it in emails, the trial into the death of Hamilton resident Tim Bosma heard Monday.
Shane Schlatman, who worked for Millard, ordered an incinerator dubbed The Eliminator on his boss's behalf in June 2012, the Ontario Superior Court trial of Millard and Mark Smich was told.
Millard, 30, of Toronto, and Smich, 28, of Oakville, Ont., have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in connection with Bosma's death.
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Bosma placed an ad online to sell his truck on April 28, 2013. He went missing on that May 6 after his wife, Sharlene, said Bosma took two men on a test drive.
Four days later, Millard was arrested at gunpoint in Mississauga. Police announced that Bosma's remains were found on May 14, 2013. Millard was charged with murder the next day.
On May 22, Smich was arrested and charged with murder.
On Monday in the Hamilton courtroom, jurors were read an email from Schlatman to William Penner, who handles Canadian distribution for the animal incinerators: "Received the unit on Thursday. Wow! Very impressive," the email said.
"A quick question. Do you know the amount of gas it would take to run the unit for say one hour? Or for a complete burn of five hours? Just trying to figure out tank sizing."
Penner described the specifications of the unit sold to Millard Air. An SN500 Eliminator incinerator was found on a farm in Ayr, Ont., owned by Millard.
Human bones found
Forensic tests determined human bones were found inside the incinerator. The Crown alleges Bosma was burned in the incinerator after being shot and killed at close range inside the Dodge truck he had been trying to sell online.
The SN500 incinerator is intended for animals up to 227 kilograms, Penner testified. The unit seized from Millard's farm weighs 2,722 kilograms with the afterburner.
It stands 3.2 metres tall with the afterburner attached. Court heard that the main hatch opening is 47 centimetres by 62 centimetres.
One email from Schlatman includes the comment: "The SN500 is working great now. Sounds awesome when the afterburner kicks on!"
In cross-examination, Millard's lawyer Ravin Pillay questioned Penner's knowledge of some handwritten notes that were found on receipts for the incinerator that were seized from the back of Millard's SUV. Penner said he thought he would know if the notes came from someone at his office or not. Pillay disagreed.
"You didn't bring these documents to the police," Pillay said. "You don't know where they've been. You don't know who wrote on them." In the end, Penner admitted he couldn't say with certainty where the writing came from.
Full burn leaves 'bone ash'
Court also heard from Timothy Cook, who owns Eco Concepts, the company that makes the Eliminator incinerators. Assistant Crown Tony Leitch asked how long it would take the unit to burn an animal weighing 170 pounds — about Bosma's weight.
Cook said it would take about three hours to fully burn an animal of that size down to "bone ash."
"That's the only thing that's left, pretty much," he said.
CBC reporter Adam Carter is in the courtroom each day reporting live on the trial. You can view a recap of his live blog here:
Due to an editing error, an earlier headline and photo caption on this story said Tim Bosma's bones were found in an incinerator. In fact, while police have said Bosma's remains were found, in court this week experts said they could only conclusively identify the remains as human.Feb 24, 2016 1:05 PM ET