Wayne Millard was no reclusive shut-in, business associate says
Millard's son Dellen is on trial for his father's alleged murder
Dellen Millard says his father was a depressed, reclusive alcoholic. But Cam Harrod, a business associate, says that's not the Wayne Millard he knew.
The 71-year-old's death was originally ruled a suicide back in 2012. He was found at his home at 5 Maple Gate Court in Etobicoke, Ont., with a single gunshot wound through his eye.
The Crown contends his 32-year-old son murdered him. Millard has pleaded not guilty to killing his father in the judge-alone trial being held in Ontario Superior Court in Toronto.
Harrod first met Wayne Millard in 2008. Harrod's company, Hamilton Aero Club, consults and finds set space for movie shoots, and was working with the crew of Amelia, starring Hilary Swank.
The crew had rented the MillardAir hangar, which was located at Toronto's Pearson International Airport at the time, to shoot in.
I just remember being really shocked he'd committed suicide, because the last time I ever spoke to him he was very positive, up, and I had an open invitation to come by any time.- Cam Harrod
"He was a good guy. A great guy. Not your typical wealthy aviation guy," Harrod told CBC News. "I don't want to say he was slovenly, but he didn't really care about his appearance.
"He was just a guy who grew up in aviation. Drove an old vehicle, old pair of penny loafers on, dirty, greasy hair — just a guy."
Harrod and Millard only spoke as business associates during the movie shoot, but reconnected in the months before Millard died.
An open invitation
It was late in the summer of 2012, when Harrod was working on his airplane — a 1940's biplane — at the Guelph Airpark, near Kitchener, Ont. He saw an old Chrysler van pull up. It was Wayne Millard, who Harrod says still remembered him, years later.
MillardAir, his aviation company, was now operating in a new hangar at the airport in Kitchener, and Harrod says Millard told him he was just looking around at smaller aviation circles in the area to keep in touch.
"He said, 'anytime you want to see the building, come on up, we'll do lunch, and I'll give you a whole tour of the place,'" Harrod told CBC News.
Millard visited him one more time at the Airpark to talk shop, Harrod says, but he never got to take a tour of the hangar. By November, Millard was dead — found in his bed with a bullet in his brain.
"I just remember being really shocked he'd committed suicide, because the last time I ever spoke to him he was very positive, up, and I had an open invitation to come by any time," Harrod said.
Case originally ruled a suicide
The crux of Dellen Millard's defence is that his father did, in fact, kill himself. Questions from his lawyer, Ravin Pillay, have painted a picture of Millard's father as a reclusive, depressed alcoholic.
Millard himself said as much in a video statement to police on the night he says he found his father's body.
In the video, he says his father "has a very strong liver" because he drinks so much, and was dealing with a debilitating back problem. He also says his father was stressed about his business, and suffered from depression.
"He had depression in him ... he carried some great sadness with him throughout life, but I never really knew what it was," Millard says. "He never wanted to share it with me."
Court has heard Millard's mother, Madeleine Burns, described her ex-husband in a similar way.
The investigating coroner on the case, Dr. David Evans, testified those statements did colour his view of the evidence.
"At the time, I thought it was more consistent with a suicide. In retrospect …" Evans said at one point during his testimony, before Millard's lawyer quickly objected, interrupting what the doctor was going to say.
Harrod said Wayne Millard never seemed anything close to reclusive to him, considering he made contact with him twice, out of nowhere, just before he died.
"A recluse wouldn't be coming back a second time to the airport," he said.
Millard's trial resumes Thursday morning for its fifth day, with testimony from Marlena Meneses.
She was Mark Smich's girlfriend at the time of Wayne Millard's death. Smich was found guilty alongside Millard for the murders of Hamilton's Tim Bosma in 2013 and Toronto's Laura Babcock in 2012.
Both men are currently serving consecutive life sentences.
Meneses was a key Crown witness during both of those prosecutions.
According to court documents, the Crown plans to introduce evidence that Meneses remembers Dellen Millard left Smich's house "under peculiar circumstances for several hours" on the night his father died.