Sharlene Bosma had to choke back tears in the witness box Monday as she testified before a packed Hamilton courtroom that she had told her husband to go on a test drive with two men — a drive that he would never come back from.
It was May 6, 2013, and Tim Bosma was waiting for a prospective buyer to come look at the truck he was trying to sell online.
- Tim Bosma's death: How did the investigation unfold?
But it was late, it was dark, and no one had yet shown up at their Ancaster, Ont., home. Around 8:30 p.m., after putting his young daughter to bed, Tim turned to his wife and asked for advice.
"When they come, should I go with them?" he asked her.
"I said, 'Yes you should, because we want the truck to come back,'" Sharlene testified, her voice warbling, as the trial began Monday for Dellen Millard and Mark Smich, the two men accused of first-degree murder in connection with her husband's death.
After breaking down for a moment and sobbing in the witness box, she soldiered through with an explanation of how the rest of the night played out.
'The Crown intends to prove that on this date, Tim Bosma was abducted, shot and incinerated by the two accused." – Assistant Crown attorney Craig Fraser
Not long after, two men did arrive, she said.
"[Tim] had a big smile on his face and he just said they were going to go on a short test drive and they'd be right back," she said in Superior Court in Hamilton.
With his wife and downstairs neighbour Wayne De Boer watching, Bosma and two men got in the truck and went slowly up the couple's driveway.
Sharlene and De Boer told the court that they had a strange feeling about the whole situation. The two men barely looked at the truck before getting in, they said. It was also getting dark, and it seemed like an odd time to go on a test drive.
So De Boer made a joke in an attempt to defuse the situation. "That was weird," he said to Sharlene. "That might be the last time we ever see him."
Accused plead not guilty
Sharlene's testimony swung from lighthearted at one moment to sorrowful at the next.
When she was describing how she and her husband met and the life they were building, it was with a smile.
But when she was recounting the events of the night Bosma vanished, she couldn't keep her composure.
For the first time Monday, the Crown gave an overview of the graphic details of its case against Millard, 30, of Toronto, and Smich, 28, of Oakville, Ont.
Both men have pleaded not guilty.
The Crown alleges that Bosma was abducted and shot at close range inside his truck, while his body was incinerated hours later at Millard's airplane hangar in Waterloo, Ont.
There were blood splatters in Bosma's truck and bone fragments were found inside the portable incinerator used to dispose of his body, assistant Crown attorney Craig Fraser told the jury during his opening address.
Millard's fingerprints were found inside and outside the truck, the Crown says.
"The Crown intends to prove that on this date, Tim Bosma was abducted, shot and incinerated by the two accused," Fraser said.
Fraser told the jury there is also security camera video that shows Bosma's truck towing a large animal incinerator called "The Eliminator" to Millard's airplane hangar. The Crown alleges Bosma's body was burned there in the early-morning hours of May 7.
Not long after that happened, the Crown alleges, Millard told his employees at the airport hangar, via text message, not to come to work the next day.
"Airport politics. No one goes to the hangar today. Not even just to grab something," Fraser said the text read.
Frantic search for missing husband
The next day, one of Millard's employees saw what he believed was Bosma's truck in the hangar. He took pictures of it, and sent them to Crime Stoppers.
"The truck the employee saw in the hangar was Tim Bosma's truck," Fraser said. That truck was later found inside a trailer in Millard's mother's driveway, the Crown alleges — with parts of the interior stripped and burned.
Over the course of Sharlene Bosma's testimony on Monday, she laid out her frantic search for her husband on the night of May 6. Calls to his phone went to voice mail, while texts went unanswered.
According to the Crown's timeline, by the time Sharlene got home after 1 a.m. the next morning, Bosma was likely already dead.
During the Crown's opening address, Fraser also laid out parts of its case against Smich, who allegedly told his girlfriend that he had tried to sell the weapon used to kill Bosma, and when he was unsuccessful, buried it in a wooded area.
Millard wanted witness to change testimony, court hears
Fraser also told the jury that key parts of the Crown's case were found in the bedroom of Millard's girlfriend. His girlfriend, Christina Noudga, is being tried separately on charges of accessory after the fact and will be a witness in the Bosma case.
Fraser said that when investigators searched Noudga's bedroom months after Millard was arrested, they found letters he had written to her while in custody.
In them, Millard wrote that he wanted "a key Crown witness to change his evidence," Fraser said, and Noudga was asked to reach out to him in an effort to make that happen. "This was a person Mr. Millard believed was a friend, and someone he believed he could convince to change his statement," Fraser said.
According to Fraser, the letter read, "If he knew his words were going to get me a life sentence, he would change them. Show him how he can, and he will change them."
The Crown also says a DVR with security footage was found inside Noudga's bedroom. It was from Millard's airplane hangar, Fraser said, and shows Millard and Smich in the hangar around 1:30 a.m. on May 7, 2013 — which is when the Crown says Bosma's body was burned.
CBC's Adam Carter is reporting live throughout the trial, and you can follow his coverage each day. Here's a recap of Monday's proceedings: