"Speculation" surrounding the accused in the case of a Hamilton, Ont., father found dead after taking two men on a test drive is unfairly poisoning the suspect's image, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Deepak Paradkar said some media reports and police statements are turning public opinion against his client, Dellen Millard, and could threaten his right to a fair trial.
"I hope it doesn't taint the jury pool because people are watching this carefully and we just want open-minded people, people who are liberal in their thinking and step back and think, 'Let's not rush to judgment in this, let's look at this fact by fact,"' he said in a phone interview.
"Clearly if somebody is leaking little bits of information... trying to implicate my client, then obviously it's not fair to my client," he said.
Charged with first-degree murder
Millard, 27, is charged with first-degree murder, forcible confinement and theft of a vehicle in the death of Tim Bosma.
Bosma, 32, disappeared May 6 after leaving his home to take two men on a test drive in a pickup truck that he had posted for sale online. Police have said his charred remains were found on Millard's property in Waterloo Region.
Toronto police have confirmed that in light of Millard's arrest, they have reopened investigations into his father's death, which had been considered a suicide, and the disappearance of a Toronto woman with whom he was reportedly linked.
"Toronto police homicide squad is investigating both of those cases — the missing woman, Laura Babcock, and Wayne Millard's death," spokeswoman Const. Wendy Drummond said Tuesday.
"We can't come to any conclusions, obviously, however they are being looked at," she said.
Millard had 'tight relationship' with father, lawyer says
CBC has reported that in addition to Bosma's remains, unknown remains were found on Millard's farm and cited sources as saying police were working to determine if they are human or animal. Hamilton police would not confirm or deny the reports.
"The investigation continues and at this point there is no confirmation that other remains have been located," spokeswoman Const. Debbie McGreal-Dinning said in an email Tuesday.
Paradkar said his client hasn't been charged in either of the Toronto investigations and isn't required to address accusations "for which we have nothing but conjecture."
Still, he noted police interviewed Millard last year at the time of his father's death and concluded it was a suicide.
"We're confident that is exactly what it was," he said, adding Millard had a "very, very close, tight relationship" with his father.
He said police have not contacted him regarding Babcock, calling the alleged link between Millard and the missing woman "entirely speculative."
Without access to television or other media, Millard has been largely sheltered from the reports and is instead focusing on the long legal road ahead, Paradkar said. The lawyer previously said it could be months before Millard gets a bail hearing.
At least two other suspects are sought in Bosma's death — a second man police say went along for the test drive of Bosma's 2007 Dodge Ram pickup and one or more who they say followed behind the truck in another vehicle.
A memorial service for Bosma is planned for Wednesday at a Hamilton banquet hall.