The appearances were short, but drew tears from family and friends of Tim Bosma.
His accused killers, Dellen Millard, 28, and Mark Smich, 26, had separate, back-to-back appearances in a Hamilton courtroom Tuesday for the start of their pretrial.
Both Millard and Smich were remanded into custody, to appear by video for a second pretrial date on Oct. 31.
It was first time many of those friends and family had seen the two men accused of murdering Bosma, said family spokesperson Peter Lowe. After the appearances concluded, many of those friends congregated outside the courtroom crying and sharing hugs, using the tissues Bosma’s widow, Sharlene, handed out earlier inside the courtroom.
Sharlene arrived early and kept her black leather jacket on in the courtroom. Both her parents and their spouses, along with her brother, Tim’s parents and family friends filled the seats in the small courtroom. She clutched a stack of folded tissues. Her mother, Henny, had her arm around her daughter as Smich and then Millard sat inside the prisoner’s box.
Millard and Smich are charged with first-degree murder in connection to the Ancaster man's death in May.
Bosma, 32, had placed an ad online to sell his pickup truck and was last seen taking two strangers on a test drive on May 6. Police announced that his badly burned remains were found about a week later on a Waterloo Region farm belonging to Millard.
Smich, clean-shaven wearing a grey V-neck sweater over a white collared shirt and baggy jeans, was ushered to the prisoner's box first. He kept his eyes straight ahead, away from the public gallery and Bosma’s friends and family. Smich sat during his appearance that lasted just a few minutes, unlike Millard who stood and took one, long glance around the room.
Millard’s appearance was also short, just a few minutes. He had bags under his eyes, but was clean-shaven with well-groomed hair. He wore a black zip-up sweater over a white collared shirt and dark khaki pants.
Sharlene sat in front, directly in ahead of the prisoner’s box. After court wrapped up, she was escorted into a small meeting room in the hallway. She could be heard sobbing from the doorway.
Sharlene pledged to be present at as many court appearances as possible. She didn’t want to comment on Tuesday’s appearance, but waved politely at reporters on her way out, still teary eyed and clutching tissues.
Toronto Police are also investigated Millard’s farm in connection with the case of missing Laura Babcock, a 23-year-old from Toronto who police say had a relationship with Millard. Babcock was reported missing in June 2012. Millard’s farm was extensively searched last month, and police said the search was related to Babcock’s disappearance.
According to cellphone records, her last known calls were to Millard.
Police have also reopened the investigation into the death of Millard’s father, Wayne. His death was previously ruled a suicide.
Smich is in front of the court right now. Clean shaven, grey sweater overtop a white collared shirt. He's keeping his head up #sl— Julia Chapman (@JkChapsCBC) October 22, 2013
He'll be remanded until Oct 31 via video so lawyers can continue to discuss pretrial #sl— Julia Chapman (@JkChapsCBC) October 22, 2013
Court is now over. Quick appearance from both Millard and Smich #sl— Julia Chapman (@JkChapsCBC) October 22, 2013