Bullet's journey into Wayne Millard's brain described at son's murder trial
Forensic pathologist tells court that Millard likely died immediately after bullet fired
A crumpled bullet pulled from Wayne's Millard's head when he was lying on an autopsy table confirmed what investigators already suspected — a gunshot had obliterated his eyeball and killed him, almost instantly.
Graphic images of the 71-year-old's autopsy were flashed across screens in a Toronto courtroom Wednesday, as the first-degree murder trial of his son, Dellen, hit its ninth day.
Forensic pathologist Dr. Jayantha Herath spent the morning in the witness box describing how a bullet was fired into Millard's eye socket at close range before coming to rest in the right parietal lobe of his brain.
"I would say he would die immediately, within seconds," Herath said.
Pictures of the body proved to be too much for some in the courtroom. One person quickly left at the sight of Millard's exposed eye socket, while others audibly gasped.
Millard's death was originally ruled a suicide. He was found at his home at 5 Maple Gate Court in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke with a single gunshot wound through his eye on Nov. 29, 2012.
His son, Dellen Millard, 32, is currently serving consecutive life sentences for the murders of Tim Bosma, a father and husband from Hamilton, and Laura Babcock, a Toronto woman he had been involved with.
He was charged in his father's death after police started investigating the disappearances of Bosma and Babcock.
Millard has pleaded not guilty to killing his father at the judge-alone trial.
Millard's eye likely closed when he was shot
Herath's testimony shed more light on exactly how Wayne Millard died. He said that Millard was shot at extremely close range, and that his eye was likely closed when he was shot.
"[The gun] was either partially touching or about a centimetre away from the eye," he said. Suspected gunshot residue was found on Millard's face and on his tongue — it had travelled through the inside of his skull, court heard.
Herath also testified that according to his physical exam, it didn't appear that Millard had drugs or alcohol in his system. A coroner previously testified that Millard did have a blood alcohol level over the legal limit — but he also said that could be due to decomposition.
In his cross-examination, Millard's lawyer, Ravin Pillay, suggested fatty tissue levels in Millard's liver could suggest "chronic alcohol abuse." The pathologist agreed that was possible.
Herath said he requested a toxicology screen for the case, but it wasn't done because an "expert panel" decided it wasn't necessary.
"They met and decided not to do it," he says. But, Millard's blood was collected and stored.
He also testified that investigators had told him that Millard was dealing with mental health issues.
"According to his ex-wife, he had some bouts of depression," Herath said in court.
Crown case close to finished
An agreed statement of facts submitted by the Crown and defence Wednesday fills in some of the blanks in the case.
The documents contain Dellen Millard's credit card statement for November of 2012.
The Crown alleges Millard slept over at the Oakville home of his friend, Mark Smich, the night of Nov. 28 — and also that he left for several hours just after midnight on Nov. 29. Cellphone records show one of Millard's phones travelling from Oakville to his father's home in Etobicoke, Ont., that morning. That's when, the Crown alleges, Millard killed his father.
Smich's girlfriend, Marlena Meneses, previously testified that Millard stayed at Smich's one night in 2012 and left for a period of time, but she could not recall a specific date.
She did, however, testify that Millard left his credit card behind when he left so she and Smich could order pizza.
Millard's credit card statement shows a charge to a Pizza Pizza in Oakville, Ont., on Nov. 29.
A crime scene reconstructionist will testify Thursday, and it is expected that Millard's lawyer will challenge the admissibility of his evidence.
The manager of the Region of Waterloo International Airport is expected to testify Friday.
Assistant Crown Attorney Jill Cameron told the judge Wednesday that the Crown expects to then close its case.
- Follow along with a recap of the CBC's live blog from inside the courtroom below. On mobile and can't see it? View the live blog here.