A flame shooting out from a trailer illuminated the outside of the MillardAir hangar just hours after slain Hamilton man Tim Bosma disappeared, court heard Wednesday at the trial of two men accused of first-degree murder in his death.
That was just one of the images the jury saw as forensic video analyst Michael Plaxton returned to the witness box and showed security camera footage detailing key moments in the Crown's case — starting with the early morning hours of May 7, 2013, in and around the hangar.
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Bosma left his home around 9 p.m. on May 6, 2013, to take two men on a test drive of a truck he was trying to sell. The Crown alleges he was shot inside his truck and then his body was incinerated.
Dellen Millard, 30, of Toronto, and Mark Smich, 28, of Oakville, Ont., are accused of killing Bosma, 32, who lived in the suburban Ancaster area of Hamilton. Both men have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in Ontario Superior Court.
The jury watched video that showed an SUV and a pickup truck, consistent with Millard's SUV and Bosma's truck, in various locations between Bosma's home and the MillardAir hangar at the airport in Waterloo, Ont.
Plaxton's presentation on Wednesday started with footage that showed a pickup truck towing a trailer that arrived at the MillardAir hangar at 12:19 a.m. on May 7, 2013. A dark-coloured SUV followed right after.
Plaxton said there's not enough detail in the video to definitively say that it was Bosma's truck. The best he could say is it's a pickup truck with the running lights on. He also couldn't say for sure that it was being followed by Millard's Yukon SUV.
2 men seen inside hangar
From 12:35 a.m. on, the truck and the SUV are seen in grainy security camera video moving around the hangar. (For a complete account of those movements, view Plaxton's court presentation here.)
Then the jury saw video taken from a security camera installed inside the hangar, where two men and a dog can be seen at 1:33 a.m. Plaxton said he could not definitively identify the men.
He also said one of the men seen inside the hangar on video had "a satchel of sorts." A satchel was seized from Millard's home.
Then, at 1:44 a.m., security camera footage shows a large flame above the trailer parked outside the hangar.
"I described it as a flame because of the way it illuminates. An electric light would just turn on," Plaxton said. The jury saw photos comparing the video when the SUV was towing the trailer to the trailer with the livestock incinerator called The Eliminator on it.
Bosma was missing for more than a week before burned remains were found on an Ayr, Ont., farm owned by Millard. Earlier in the trial, the Crown told jurors it is believed the remains belonged to Bosma, though tests could not confirm that.
Lights come on in hangar
At 2:30 a.m., security video showed the pickup truck being moved into the hangar. At 3:23 a.m., the main lights come on in the expansive building.
Video from 3:54 a.m. shows a figure who appears in a doorway at the hangar and moves toward the trailer. There is a brief flare of light from the area of the trailer at the bottom, followed by another flare from the top.
More movement is subsequently seen around the door, and at 7:02 a.m. the SUV leaves the hangar. At this point in the video it's light enough to say the vehicle can be identified as a dark blue Yukon or Tahoe with no hubcaps.
Plaxton testified that Millard's vehicle was a Yukon with no hubcaps.
Court also saw footage taken from an apartment complex at 30 Speers Rd. in Oakville. On May 7, 2013, at 7:57 a.m., Smich's girlfriend, Marlena Meneses, is seen entering an elevator on the 11th floor and then hanging around the building's front door.
At 8:01 a.m., a blue Yukon arrives at the building, footage shows. A man gets out and greets Meneses, before they get into the vehicle and leave.
Assistant Crown attorney Tony Leitch told the court we will "hear later on in the trial" about what she did that morning.
The jury also saw footage of a red Dodge pickup truck driving to the hangar on May 9, and then leaving towing a large trailer that looks different from the one outside the hangar in the earlier video, from which flames were observed. Plaxton said the truck was consistent with a red Dodge pickup that Millard owned.
Court later saw security camera footage showing a truck towing a large trailer later that night near Millard's mother's home.
The jury has previously heard that Bosma's truck was found inside a trailer located in the driveway of the home of Millard's mother in Kleinburg, Ont.
In cross-examination, Millard's lawyer Ravin Pillay asked Plaxton about how digital video recorders are "prone to clock error over time." Most of the videos Plaxton was working with in the case had time-stamp errors, sometimes by three to four hours.
"When you encounter security camera video, you have to be very careful with attempting to fix a time that's out on the video, fair?" Pillay asked. Plaxton responded yes.
Nothing in notes about time-stamp error
Pillay asked Plaxton about video that was seized from Super Sucker Ltd., a business near the Ancaster Fairgrounds, which he said showed an SUV consistent with Millard's Yukon following a truck consistent with Bosma's truck on Trinity Road in Ancaster.
Plaxton was told the time-stamp in that video was off by about three hours — but that it had been fixed by the time he examined the digital recording system, so he couldn't independently verify that.
Plaxton didn't say who reported to him that the time was off, or when. "You make no reference in your report to the source of the reported time do you," Pillay said.
Pillay's cross-examination also revealed that there are images of a truck "consistent" with Bosma's truck in security camera video taken from Super Sucker Inc. in Ancaster that weren't shown in Plaxton's report.
"You can't say this is not the Bosma vehicle returning?" Pillay asked.
Plaxton responded he could not.
Robert Plaxton's security camera presentation
Robert Plaxton's security camera presentation (PDF 73KB)
Robert Plaxton's security camera presentation (Text 73KB)
CBC reporter Adam Carter is in the courtroom each day reporting live on the trial. You can view a recap of his live blog here: