Tim Bosma case: emotions, tears inescapable at jury selection

A brutal, yet unrelated, murder. Cancer. Close ties to the victim's family. These were just some of the reasons people were excused from the jury pool Tuesday in the trial of two men accused of killing Ancaster, Ont.'s Tim Bosma.

Co-accused Dellen Millard and Mark Smich in courtroom as jury selection continues

This artist's rendering shows Toronto's Dellen Millard (left), Oakville's Mark Smich (centre) and Justice Andrew Goodman (right) as jury selection in the Tim Bosma case got underway. (Pam Davies)

Though the early stages of jury selection can seem routine, heavy emotions were on display Tuesday as the process continues for the trial of two men accused of killing Ancaster, Ont.'s Tim Bosma.

For the second day, a parade of potential jurors went before Justice Andrew Goodman in Superior Court in Hamilton to explain whether or not they could serve on the jury of the trial, which is expected to take four months.

One man said he couldn't because he had lived through tragedy. "My son was brutally murdered," he said before being excused. "This is bringing up a lot of things for me, and I don't think it's going to help me."

Another man said he and his wife were caring for his mother, who has cancer. "She's been diagnosed with being palliative, so we don't know how much time she has left," he said, before also being excused.

A woman also left the courtroom in tears after describing her son's autism spectrum disorder. She too was excused.

Through it all, Dellen Millard, 30, of Toronto, and Mark Smich, 28, of Oakville, Ont. sat in the courtroom and watched each prospective juror present his or her case.

Millard and Smich are both charged with first-degree murder in connection with Bosma's death.

Three more people were excused from the case for knowing the Bosma family or knowing people who are expected to be called as witnesses.

"I am an Ancaster resident and I have very strong feelings about this case," said another woman, who was deferred to another trial.

And for the second straight day, a person was excused for being related to a special constable in the courtroom.

Justice Goodman thanked the jury pool for "doing its civic duty," saying that though being a juror can feel like an inconvenience, most would find it to be an "interesting, challenging and rewarding experience."

It's most important, he said, that jurors approach the case with an open mind.

"[The accused] are presumed to be innocent unless and until they are proven guilty," he said.

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.

Two weeks have been set aside for jury selection, with evidence expected to be presented starting Feb. 1.

Jury selection continues all week.

CBC News will be in the courtroom throughout the proceedings. Follow reporter Adam Carter on Twitter for updates.