Jury selection begins in Tim Bosma murder trial
Co-accused Dellen Millard and Mark Smich were both in the courtroom
Almost 200 prospective jurors filed in one by one in front of Justice Andrew Goodman on Monday, as jury selection started in the trial of two men who are accused of killing Ancaster, Ont.'s Tim Bosma.
Dellen Millard, 30, of Toronto, and Mark Smich, 28, of Oakville, Ont., were both in the courtroom and watching as each person explained whether or not they could serve for the duration of the trial — which is now estimated to take about four months.
Millard and Smich are both charged with first-degree murder in connection with Bosma's death.
Though jury selection is being held in the John Sopinka Courthouse's largest courtroom, the room was still totally packed. Over a dozen reporters were lined up outside the room hours before the proceedings began.
Justice Goodman excused some prospective jurors because of their age or health issues. Others couldn't serve because of financial hardship or work.
One woman said she couldn't serve because she suffered from narcolepsy.
"I'd fall asleep," she said.
Four others had to be excused because of ties to the trial. Two people identified themselves as friends of the Bosma family, while another man said his daughter is in the same class as Bosma's young daughter. One other person said they were a teacher who had taught a family member of the Bosma family.
Most people, however, said they would be able to serve on the jury should they be selected.
Justice Andrew Goodman thanked the jury pool for "doing its civic duty," and emphasized the importance of being a juror.
"Serving on a jury is one of the very few responsibilities of being a citizen of this great country," Goodman said. "It will be your task to consider the evidence and decide whether the accused is, or are, guilty or not guilty."
Goodman also instructed anyone who is chosen for the second round of jury selection to ignore media reports about the case, which has drawn significant attention since news broke about Bosma's disappearance.
The 32-year-old vanished on May 6, 2013, while trying to sell his truck. His charred remains were found days later.
Millard and Smich both sat in the courtroom Monday, and watched each prospective juror as they spoke. Millard wore a grey suit jacket with jeans. The long braid he has sported in his last few court appearances has been cut.
Smich wore a thick grey sweater with jeans, with his hair cropped short and slicked to one side. Neither man spoke during the proceedings.
Monday was just the first day in what is expected to be a long selection process. Up to 1,800 prospective jurors have been called in the case.
Two weeks have been set aside for jury selection, with evidence expected to be presented starting Feb. 1.
Jury selection continues Tuesday.
CBC News will be in the courtroom throughout the proceedings. Follow reporter Adam Carter on Twitter for updates.