Police never examined blood-soaked pillow, key evidence was moved, Millard trial hears

Several important items at the crime scene where Wayne Millard's body was found were never seized or analyzed by police, court heard Friday as Dellen Millard's trial for first-degree murder in the death of his father continues in Superior Court in Toronto.

Accused of killing his father, Millard is already serving 2 consecutive life sentences for other murders

Dellen Millard, left, is seen at his first-degree murder trial next to his lawyer, Ravin Pillay. Justice Maureen Forestell, centre, watches as witness Janet Campbell testifies. (Pam Davies)

Several important items at the crime scene where Wayne Millard's body was found were never seized or analyzed by police, court heard Friday as Dellen Millard's trial for first-degree murder in the death of his father continues in Superior Court in Toronto.

On top of that revelation, court heard the alleged murder weapon in the case was moved before it was photographed by investigators — something one police officer said goes against rudimentary crime scene training.

Jeffrey Johnston, a forensic officer with Toronto police, returned to the witness box Friday and was peppered with questions about multiple items that were never fully examined for the case, including the blood-soaked pillow on which Millard's body was found lying.

That same pillow had a black, sooty mark on it that Johnston confirmed was never forensically tested. Another Toronto police officer, Sgt. Richard Nimmo, said that mark could "possibly [be] gunshot residue" — a substance that would almost always become evidence in a murder trial.

But this is no ordinary trial. The death of the 71-year-old Millard was originally ruled a suicide in late 2012. He was found dead at his home at 5 Maple Gate Court in Etobicoke, Ont., with a single gunshot wound through his eye.

The Crown contends his son Dellen, 32, killed him, but the case was only reopened after Millard was charged with the murders of Hamilton's Tim Bosma in 2013 and Toronto's Laura Babcock in 2012.

Millard was found guilty of those slayings and is currently serving consecutive life sentences. He has pleaded not guilty to killing his father.

Case originally ruled a suicide

The key to how the crime scene was treated is how the situation was being viewed by first responders at the outset.

It was originally considered a coroner's case for a sudden death, and not a murder investigation. For a thorough search and investigation of the home to happen, Johnston testified, police would need to come back with a search warrant.

"That didn't happen in this case?" asked Millard's lawyer, Ravin Pillay. "No, it did not," Johnston responded.

Other items, like the blankets found around Millard's legs and the bloody bag the alleged murder weapon was found in were also never tested, Johnston said. Again, that's because it was a coroner's case at the time, and not a homicide investigation, he said. 

The Crown says this gun was found next to Wayne Millard's bed when his body was discovered. (Court exhibit)

Court also heard that only about six minutes of police video from the scene exists — because the camera police were using at the time ran out of batteries.

Another police officer, ​Const. Doug Leonard, testified that at one point during the investigation, the coroner "held up a black Lululemon shopping bag" in which the .32-calibre revolver that allegedly killed Millard was found. 

Nimmo also testified that the photos of the bag and the gun shown in court did not appear to be the exact same location where he first saw the gun.

Generally, police photograph a crime scene as it was found before anything is moved.

Nimmo said he didn't see anyone touch or move the gun, but his expectation as a police supervisor is that no one should move it. 

"It's common sense," he said.

Millard gave no reaction to father's death, officer says

Nimmo was one of the first people on scene the night Millard died, court heard. He spoke several times with Dellen Millard and Madeleine Burns, Millard's mother.

He said Burns seemed very distraught, and often cried during their conversations.

Not so for Dellen Millard, he said — even though his father's bloody corpse was lying just a few metres away.

"I don't recall him having any overt emotional reactions," Nimmo said.

Sgt. Richard Nimmo testified Friday at the first-degree murder trial of Dellen Millard. (Trevor Dunn/CBC)

He also testified to finding what appeared to be pot in the basement of the home, where there was a "strong odour of marijuana." 

After the gun was discovered, Nimmo said, he tracked down Millard — who at this point was sitting outside in his car with his dog. 

"I told him we had located a gun," Nimmo said.

Millard then replied, "Is it a revolver?" Nimmo said. There had been no discussion with Millard about a revolver before this point, the officer said.

"He didn't seem surprised or any other emotions."

The trial continues Monday morning.

You can scroll through a recap of the CBC's live blog from inside the courtroom here. On mobile and can't see it? View it here

adam.carter@cbc.ca

About the Author

Adam Carter

Reporter, CBC Hamilton

Adam Carter is a Newfoundlander who now calls Hamilton home. He enjoys a good story and playing loud music in dank bars. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamCarterCBC or drop him an email at adam.carter@cbc.ca.