Mark Smich says his co-accused, Dellen Millard, "looked like a lunatic" after he shot Tim Bosma.
Smich, 28, began testifying Wednesday as the defence opened its case in the first-degree murder trial being held in Superior Court in Hamilton.
The Oakville man said he wasn't in Bosma's truck when the shooting happened. He told the jury he was following the vehicle in Millard's Yukon that the two had driven to the Bosma home in the Hamilton suburb of Ancaster.
The two vehicles drove for a short while before Millard, who was driving Bosma's truck, swerved to the side of the road and stopped.
When Millard got out of Bosma's truck, Smich said he appeared to put what looked like a gun into a satchel. He said he did not know that Millard was bringing a gun to the test drive.
"He just said, 'I'm taking the truck' and goes and grabs some stuff from the back. When I got out, I walked around, and I seen a bullet hole in the window and Mr. Bosma laying with his head against the dashboard."
That revelation was the first firsthand account of what may have happened to Bosma that the jury has heard.
"He looked mad, like a lunatic. Like something came over him," the witness testified.
Both Smich and Millard, 30, have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.
Testimony hits Bosma family hard
Smich's recounting of what allegedly happened on the fatal test drive appeared devastating for the Bosma family listening inside the courtroom, with Bosma's mother Mary running from the room, and his widow Sharlene crying with her head down. Bosma's mother didn't return.
"The way that it went down was not how it was supposed to go down," Smich said. "Any criminal activity we've done together, no one's ever been harmed." He testified the "plan" was for the two to "scope out" Bosma's truck, and then come back later to steal it.
Smich said Millard was "very forceful," and told him to get the licence plates for his red Dodge truck out of the SUV and put them on Bosma's truck. Smich said he did.
"I felt like I had no choice. I was scared," Smich said.
Smich said he then accompanied Millard to his farm in Ayr, Ont. He told the court that Millard told him to check the gate and make sure they weren't being followed.
"When I got back, then I seen Mr. Bosma laying on what appeared to be some sort of a sheet," Smich said. "The passenger-side door of the truck was open. There was blood all over the whole left side of Mr. Bosma around his head.
"He proceeded to open the hatch of the Eliminator. He asked me ... he told me to help him put Mr. Bosma into the Eliminator, and I told him I can't. I didn't want to go anywhere near that ... I told him it was because of my shoulder." Smich previously testified he had a lingering shoulder injury at the time.
Millard then let out a "huff" as if he was irritated, Smich said, but he didn't specify how Bosma's body got into the incinerator. He later said that he did not burn Bosma.
Stripping Bosma's truck
The two men then drove to Millard's hangar at the Waterloo airport, Smich said, where Millard instructed him to strip out the inside of Bosma's truck and then wash it with a hose.
"He went and turned on the Eliminator," Smich said, adding that he "tried to stay as far away as possible" when Millard was using the Eliminator at the hangar.
In the following days, he said he and Millard burned the parts stripped from Bosma's truck. He said he kept talking with Millard because he didn't want to "raise suspicion" and make Millard think he was going to "call the police or something."
On May 9, Millard "panicked" after a conversation with Arthur Jennings, who previously testified at the trial, Smich told the court. He is Shane Schlatman's father-in-law, who has also testified.
He and Millard then moved Bosma's truck into a trailer and drove it out of the hangar, he said. On the way, they talked about Jennings. "He believed that Arthur Jennings called the police on him. That's why he wanted to move Bosma's truck." Jennings had called Crime Stoppers, court has previously heard. He is the only person out of several witnesses with information related to the case who attempted to relay it to police.
Dungey asked Smich why he didn't call police, even after Millard was arrested. "I didn't go to the police because I guess I was in denial," he said. "I did not kill Mr. Bosma. I was scared, I was confused."
Smich also said he didn't want to screw up his sister's upcoming wedding because his family "means the world to him."
"Mr. Bosma meant the world to his family," Dungey said. "I understand that," Smich responded. Smich spoke confidently and calmly with a deep voice thorough much of his testimony — but paused and spoke much more softly any time he said Bosma's name. Millard watched his onetime friend testify intensely, while taking notes.
Smich says he sold drugs to Millard
Earlier in the day, Smich told the court he met Millard when he sold him drugs back in 2008. He told the courtroom that his role changed over the years from being Millard's drug dealer to a close friend.
"Somebody gave him my number when I was selling drugs and he called me randomly," Smich said. "I met up with him and sold him some drugs — that's when we first met.
"As time went on, our bond was stronger, and I felt ... he was like a brother to me. He was like family, like a bigger brother," Smich testified.
Smich's lawyers began their case after more than three months of testimony and over 90 witnesses called by the Crown.
Millard's defence team has indicated it will not be calling witnesses and the accused won't testify. An accused person cannot be compelled to testify.
With extra security inside the courtroom, Smich also revealed several thefts he and Millard were involved in that the jury has not yet heard about, including a wood chipper and several storage trailers.
Bosma, 32, vanished on May 6, 2013, after taking two men on a test drive in a pickup truck he was trying to sell. Investigators later found charred human remains, believed to belong to Bosma, in a livestock incinerator on Millard's farm in Ayr, Ont.
You can read a recap of the day's proceedings from CBC Hamilton's Adam Carter in the blog below. On mobile? View it here.