Transcript 158: Dellen Millard & Mark Smich - Rich and Ruthless (Part 2) | Canada

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Our cases have been researched using open source and archive materials. It deals with true crimes and real people. Some parts are graphic in nature and listener discretion is advised. Each episode is produced with the utmost respect to the victims, their families and loved ones. 


Today’s show is the second episode of a two-part case. We recommend you listen to our episode Dellen Millard and Mark Smich – Rich and Ruthless (Part 1) before listening to Part 2.


71-year-old Wayne Millard, a retired pilot, an heir to his family’s aviation dynasty, went to sleep in his Etobioke home on Wednesday night the 28th of November 2012. 


After a rough patch following his father Carl’s death in 2006, things were looking up for Wayne. Carl left him the family fortune – and the legacy of a once-booming business. Although Millardair – a cargo transport service – was declared bankrupt in the early nineties, the family’s wealth was intact. They owned many properties in Ontario, both residential and commercial.


At the beginning of 2012, Wayne closed up shop at Toronto’s Pearson Airport, when the lease expired on Millardair’s hangar. However, he secured a spot at Waterloo International Airport where he oversaw the construction of a multi-million-dollar hangar. The hangar would serve as a workshop for repairs and maintenance. Wayne was excited about the new direction the family business was going, and looked forward to building something with his son, like his father did for him.


However, Wayne would not live to fulfil his dream. Emergency services were called to his home at 6am the following morning and found Wayne in bed, with a gunshot wound to the head. It was his son, Dellen who found him and told police that his father had been suffering from depression. Conclusions were drawn and his death was considered a suicide.


It was a tragic story, of a twenty-something heir who had lost his friend and mentor, a formidable father. But less than two years later, the world came to know what really happened to Wayne Millard in the unforgiving early morning hours of that November morning.


>>Intro Music


In 2012, 27-year-old Dellen Millard was living it up in Toronto, spending his family fortune on drugs, alcohol, wild parties and road trips. He dropped out of college to join his father in running the family business, Millardair – a household name in aviation.  


The young Millard spiced up his suburban life with off-road racing and travelling. As a teenager he could already fly helicopters and airplanes and kept fuelling his love of adrenaline-fuelled sports into adulthood. His travels took him to Mexico one year, where he competed in the well-known Baja off-road race.

From the outside in, Dellen Millard was a fun-loving guy, who entertained friends at his home and always had a beautiful woman by his side, like his girlfriend at the time, Christina Noudga. His best friend, an aspiring rap-artist and drug dealer, Mark Smich was always around and often crashed in the basement of Millard’s Etobioke home. 


To keep themselves entertained, Millard and Smich went on ‘missions’. Their close friends knew what they were up to but preferred to turn a blind eye. During these missions, they

stole plants, farming equipment, anything that posed a challenge. They didn’t need any of the items they stole and Millard definitely did not need the money. They stole for fun, for the thrill it gave them.


And that was how they spent most of their time. Millard had some presence at work, the new Millard hangar at Waterloo Airport, but it was clear that his father Wayne was the one in charge. This means there was no great pressure on Dellen Millard to perform professionally, and his main focus was on his life outside of work.


He spent time with his friends and his girlfriend Christina. They had an open relationship, and Millard was not ashamed to admit that he was not faithful to her. There was one young woman with whom he had an on-off fling for a while. Millard met Laura Babcock on a night out in downtown Toronto. 


Laura, in her early twenties, was a bubbly young art and drama student at the University of Toronto who always seemed to have limitless energy. They dated casually for about a month, but when no serious relationship came to pass, they kept in touch as friends. There was speculation that their sexual relationship did not stop after Millard started seeing Christina Noudga. If you want to put a label on their relationship: they were friends with benefits.


Laura was stepping into adulthood and decided to move on from her casual relationship with Millard. She had met a nice guy, up-and-coming businessman Shawn Lerner, and their relationship was good for Laura. Millard was still in Laura’s extended circle of friends, but she did not see him as often as before. Shawn was a stand-up guy, unlike the unpredictable party-boy Millard.


But things were not meant to be, and after a year and a half, around Christmas time of 2011, Laura and Shawn broke up. The break-up was amicable and they remained good friends. So much so, that he organised her 22nd birthday party in the February after their split. On the guest list were Laura’s ex-fling Dellen Millard, whom she called Dell, and his girlfriend, Christina Noudga. Because of Millard’s relationship with Laura, Christina didn’t like her all that much. And the feeling was mutual. Neither of them let an opportunity slide to put the other one down. It was a year after this birthday party that Christina sent a taunting message to Laura. It said:


“Happy birthday. A year ago today, I slept with Dellen.”

 

To which Laura replied:


“That’s fine. I slept with him a few weeks ago.”


Laura stood her ground, but at the time, she wasn’t in a good place. She had suffered from some mental health problems for years, specifically anxiety and depression. By the summer of 2012, her mental health had deteriorated to the point that she was agitated. Her parents asked her to be a bit more considerate and NOT come home at 2 or 3 am every morning. Her dad recalled:


“Laura was frustrated. She seemed to be agitated, couldn't sit still.”


Because of friction with her parents about her independence, Laura decided to leave home, and couch surfed, while she was looking for her own place. To save up some money, she occasionally worked as a paid escort. She was young and beautiful, and used her acting skills to charm her clients. She told her friends that she didn’t sleep with them and only accompanied them on dates in exchange for money or other privileges – one client allowed her to stay at his home for a couple of weeks. Shawn Lerner recalled a conversation he had with Laura about her job. 


“The way she explained it to me, it was sort of . . . men looking to have a pretty girl on their arm. She may have believed it. I was obviously not convinced that might be all there was to it.”


Laura’s friends were concerned about how much Laura was changing right in front of them. Although few of her close friends saw her in person as often as before, she was in constant contact with everyone, sending texts and making phone calls. She had many fractured relationships in her life, and the bickering between her and Christina Noudga continued as well. In a text to Millard’s roommate, Andrew Michalski, Laura said:


“Ya Dell’s def not a fan of me. He told me he told Christina when he slept with me before. Erg these people cause [so] much unwanted drama for me, and bring me into it.”


After another text exchange between Christina and Laura, Millard stepped in and texted Laura, asking her to stay away from him. Then he SMSed Christina about Laura, and said:


“First, I am going to hurt her. Then, I will make her leave. I will remove her from our lives.”


On April 19, 2012, Christina replied to Millard with this message: 


"I don't know why, but when you say things like, 'I'm going to hurt her, make her leave, remove her from our lives,' I feel really loved and warm on the inside."


Less than two months after this text conversation, Laura Babcock disappeared without a trace. 


Because Laura had not quite been herself in the months leading up to her disappearance, no one realised that she was missing straight away. However, her ex-boyfriend, Shawn Lerner was concerned. He was the only person Laura accepted help from during this time. He arranged accommodation for her and made sure she had food. One night in June 2012 he put her up in a hotel, paying attention to detail, like making sure it was pet-friendly, because he knew Laura had her dog, Lacey, with her. 


When Laura did not respond to Shawn’s attempts to contact her, he visited her parents to ask if they had heard from her. They realised that no one close to Laura knew where she was, and she had not reached out to anyone. Deeply worried, her parents contacted all her friends, hoping to find their daughter. When Laura’s itemised phone bill arrived, they showed it to Shawn, hoping he would recognise some of the numbers Laura had phoned. 


Shawn saw that the last eight phone calls Laura made before she came up missing, was to Dellen Millard. In fact, they had been in constant contact, with more than 110 phone calls and text conversations. Shawn reached out to Millard via text message, politely asking him if he knew where Laura was:


“I’m not looking to point a finger at anyone but we’re concerned about Laura and it looks like you were the last person to correspond with her.”

Millard didn’t reply. Only after Shawn sent another couple of messages did he come back to him, simply saying that he didn’t know where she was. On Shawn’s insistence, Millard agreed to meet him for coffee. They met at a Starbucks on July 27th and Millard theorised that Laura’s disappearance was probably related to a new habit she had picked up. He claimed that she was addicted to cocaine. According to Millard, Laura was pestering him for drugs, and when he refused to give her any, she ended all contact with him. He suggested that Shawn was wasting his time looking for her.


But Shawn didn’t buy Millard’s story. He knew Laura was going through a rough time and he also heard from others that she was using drugs. However, she knew she could always come to him, and since they met, they had never been out of contact for longer than a couple of days. Shawn had an unsettling feeling that something had happened to Laura.


Convinced that Millard knew more than he was letting on, Shawn went to police with Laura’s phone bill. Her parents had reported her missing, but police did not seem too concerned. Laura was a young woman, who had left home on her own volition. She had mental health problems, was taking drugs and worked in the sex industry, albeit as an escort. They felt that Laura did not want to be found.


It would take one year and two murders, before Laura’s case moved forward. On the 6th of May 2013, 32-year-old Ancaster family man disappeared after allowing two men to take his truck for a test drive before buying it. As you’ve heard in part one of this case, Tim Bosma’s remains were found in an incinerator on a farm owned by Millard’s family. 


On May 14th 2013, Dellen Millard was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the Tim Bosma Case. His wingman was taken into custody a week later and faced the same charges as Millard. Soon after their respective arrests, their friendship became soured.  Millard threw Smich under the bus, claiming that he was the one who had killed Tim. Smich in turn insisted that he had no motive for killing Tim and that it was Millard who had pulled the trigger during the ‘mission’ of stealing Tim’s truck.


With both men behind bars, the prosecution set out to build a case against them. Investigators found mountains of physical evidence against both men in the Bosma case but realised that this crime was only the tip of the iceberg. This was not the first time that Millard’s name came up in an investigation. They revisited the missing person’s case of Laura Babcock and opened up a whole new can of worms.


The information supplied by Shawn about Laura’s last phone calls were re-examined, and police were stunned. Cell phone data also showed that, shortly before her disappearance, Laura had arranged to meet up with Dellen Millard. On Tuesday afternoon, July 3rd, she jumped on a train to Kipling Station, Toronto, from where Millard picked her up and took her to his house.


The last time Laura’s phone was used, was at Millard’s home, at 7pm on that same day, when Laura checked her voicemail messages. Shortly after, Millard texted Mark Smich to tell him that he said he was on a ‘mission’ and would be back in an hour. From this point on, calls and texts continued to flow into Laura’s phone, but she never replied to anyone. This was completely out of the ordinary because Laura always had her phone with her, and she ALWAYS responded.


The day after Laura disappeared, Millard took an ominous photo with his phone: in his backyard was a blue tarp, rolled-up, with his dog next to it. Police concluded that Laura’s body was inside the tarp. Millard then went to work and asked a Millardair engineer to build an incinerator, but it didn’t work all that well. So, he decided to purchase an industrial incinerator, called The Eliminator. The tagline stipulates that it is a ‘Small & Large Animal Cremator’. On 5 July – the Eliminator was delivered to the Millardair hangar at Waterloo Airport. A Google search on Millard’s phone shows that he wanted to know at what temperature cremation is done. He sent a text to Mark Smich saying:


“BBQ has run its warmup. It’s ready for meat.”


A short while later, he took a photo of Mark Smich, outside the Millardair hangar, holding an incinerator rake: a wannabe rapper, turned grim reaper. A video shows red sparks, as the incinerator burns, what we now know was – Laura Babcock’s body.


Even though Laura’s body had not been recovered, police had enough evidence to charge both Millard and Smich with her murder. And it was time to take a second look at another death connected to Dellen Millard: the suicide of his father, Wayne, four months after he killed Laura. 


Dellen Millard was the one who found his father’s body on the morning of 29 November 2012. 71-year-old Wayne Millard had a gunshot wound in the eye and it appeared as if he had taken his own life. In the video of Dellen Millard’s police interview, he speaks calmy and controlled. He explains how he came in through the side door of the house and walked to his room to get a sweater. Then he went to the kitchen for a snack and realised his dad was still in bed, which was odd, as Wayne was an early riser. He went into the main bedroom, where he saw his father on the bed, covered in blood. 


Millard told police:


"He carried some great sadness with him throughout life that I never knew – he never wanted to share that with me." 


When news of Wayne’s death became public, his son wrote an obituary in the Toronto Star, with one quasi-philosophical comment after the other. He said this about his father:


"He was patient and stubborn. He admired Christ, Gandhi and Lindbergh. He believed animal welfare was a humanitarian effort. He was a good man in a careless world. He was my father."


As far as everyone knew, Dellen Millard was the dutiful son grieving the loss of his father, and people pitied him. And Millardair and a new captain at the helm. Dellen did not proceed with his father’s new aircraft maintenance business, inf fact he did not seem to do much for the business at all. Instead the multi-million-dollar hangar at Waterloo Airport became a storage facility for Dellen’s expensive toys, like off-road vehicles, a helicopter, a plane… And then the things he collected on his ‘missions’ – he even stole a bobcat construction vehicle. For the rest, he squandered his family’s money on parties, drugs, and well, whatever he wanted to spend it on.


After Millard was arrested for Tim Bosma’s murder, Millardair employees came forward and informed police that Wayne Millard and his son had many disagreements about the family business. Wayne was also concerned about his wayward son and had threatened to cut him off financially. They admitted that they were suspicious when they learnt of Wayne’s suicide.


One can ask why police were so quick to rule the millionaire’s death a suicide, when there was clearly more to the story. The thing is, Dellen Millard had an alibi when his father died. However, when police saw who had provided the alibi, they realised something was up. Millard claimed that he was at the house of his constant accomplice, Mark Smich, that night, a claim that Smich confirmed. Although Millard left items like his truck, his keys and a cell phone at Smich’s house, he had another phone with him, one that indicated his arrival at his father’s home in the early morning hours of November 29th.


Millard told police that he arrived just before 6am, but phone evidence placed him at the house as early as 1am. He also called his mother before he called 9-1-1. At the time, his parents had been divorced for more than 10 years. And in fact, Madeleine made a call to police before Dellen did. She said that her ex-husband had passed away and that there was blood everywhere.


When first responders arrived, they saw Wayne in bed, lying on his right side, with his arm underneath his head. His left arm was outstretched. His pillow was covered with blood and gunshot residue. The gun was next to his body – but the exact position raised suspicion. It was tucked into a Lululemon bag that was in between the bed and the dresser. He could not have placed it there after he shot himself.


However, when Dellen Millard revealed that his father was depressed, and that he self-medicated with alcohol, they wrong conclusions were drawn. At the time of his murder, Wayne Millard was in a relationship with Janet Campbell, who insisted that he was NOT depressed at all. He had back pain, but it was not debilitating. He was active and enjoyed going to work, and he was excited about his new business venture.


Knowing that his son was capable of murder, police also understood the relevance of a vital piece of evidence at the scene: the handgun found next to Wayne Millard’s body did not belong to him, it was trafficked. And once tested, they found Dellen Millard’s DNA on the gun. There were too many things that did not add up: why would a man with good prospects end his own life with a sketchy weapon without leaving a note. Also, with Wayne out of the picture, Dellen stood to inherit a handsome amount of money. Wayne Millard’s cause of death was changed from suicide to homicide. 


Dellen Millard and Mark Smich were charged with the murder of Laura Babcock in April 2014. To the astonishment of many people in Toronto, Millard was also charged with the murder of his father. 


In November 2017, all eyes were on the second Millard and Smich trial. The year before, they were convicted of the first-degree murder of Tim Bosma and sentenced to life in prison. Laura Babcock’s body was never found, and the Prosecution knew there was no room for error in their case. They laid out Millard’s motive for wanting Laura dead: she was causing too much trouble in his love triangle by texting his girlfriend, informing her that they were sleeping together. And he had promised his girlfriend that he would get rid of her.

Both Millard and Smich pleaded not guilty. Smich’s defence claimed that Laura Babcock no longer wanted to live in Toronto and had left the country, chasing her dream to become an actress. Or maybe she ended her own life, seeing as she was experiencing a downward spiral during the summer of 2012. Either way, they claimed that there was no real proof that Laura had died. 

Millard chose to act in his own defence. He was quick to dismiss the motive in the case, and told the jury that he had an open relationship with Christina Noudga, and that both of them dated other people. In one text message Millard showed in court, he pointed out that he suggested his friend, Andrew Michalski had sex with Christina. He also said that he never bought her any gifts, as he usually did when he had a serious girlfriend.  


"How much does Christina mean to me? Is she somebody that I would kill for. Or is she somebody I would offer to my friends? Is she somebody I didn't buy any gifts for? I wouldn't even give her monogamy and exclusivity. In the context of understanding all these relationships, there's no motive."

Millard cruelly put Laura’s father, Clayton Babcock on the stand, asking deeply personal questions about Laura’s mental health, and crossing the line so many times, the courtroom gasped at his audacity. But Clayton sat through it, patiently answering the questions posed to him by his daughter’s killer.


Laura’s family also had to sit through a presentation of sexually explicit text messages between Laura and Millard, that bore no relevance to her disappearance.


In the end, it was his own words, in his own handwriting that came to haunt Millard. The letters he wrote to Christina Noudga while on remand. It was obvious that he was training her to believe something that wasn’t true. He claimed that Laura had suffered an overdose: he speculated she had taken too many of her prescription medication and mixed it with Mark Smich’s Cocaine.


This blew the feeble argument out of the water, the claim that Laura could still be alive and well somewhere. The letters proved that he knew she was no longer alive. And then the mountain of evidence against both Millard and Smich left them with nothing more to say.


Firstly, the cell phone evidence that Laura had plans to meet Millard on July 3rd and then went to his home, proved that he was the last person to see her alive. After checking her voicemail that night, she never used her phone again. Laura’s red duffel bag was found in Mark Smich’s room in Dellen Millard’s house. A tag with her handwritten name and address was still attached to the handle.


Millard’s actions during the first week of July, paint a picture of a pre-meditated murder and a heinous plan to dispose of her body. The day before picking Laura up from Kipling Station, 

Millard bought a firearm from one of his drug-dealer friends. The next day, he purchased a mattress and asked for urgent delivery to his house.  An iPad Shawn Lerner gave to Laura in June, was connected to Millard’s home computer on July 4th and it is reset as ‘Mark’s iPad’ before Millard gave it to Mark Smich.


Then there was the photo of Millard’s dog next to the rolled-up blue tarp in Millard’s backyard and the purchase of The Eliminator. Again, cell phone evidence spoke volumes about both Millard and Smich’s movements in the aftermath of Laura’s disappearance. Texts between them proved that something had happened, and that they were planning on burning something in The Eliminator. A photo was taken with Smich holding an incinerator rake at Millard’s hangar. In the photo, sparks can be seen, popping out of The Eliminator in the background. 


Arguably, one of the most damning pieces of evidence, was a rap song, written on Babcock’s iPad on July 23rd and performed by Smich in Millard’s basement a month or so later. Here are the ominous lyrics:


The bitch started off all skin and bone

now the bitch lay on ashy stone

last time I saw her's outside the home

and if you go swimming you can find her phone.


Millard and Smich were convicted of Laura’s murder 16 December 2017. They were both sentenced to 25 years in prison, to be served consecutively to their sentence in Tim Bosma’s case. 


In an interview with National Post, Millard maintained that it was Smich who had killed Tim Bosma. He claimed that Smich was quote ’30 storeys higher than a kite’ that night and that he had killed Tim in a horrible accident. But instead of going to police, Millard helped his friend to cover-up the murder.


“I set about to hide everything I could. I tried to hide the truck, I tried to cover up all the evidence that I could cover up and in doing that, what I didn’t take into account — certainly there was a million things I wasn’t thinking of — was the police reaction to that.”


In his opinion, it is because he didn’t go to police, that law enforcement launched a witch-hunt against him. Which is why they reopened the investigations into Laura’s disappearance and his father’s death. In his opinion, his was a trial by media, and that the public decided he was guilty even before he went to trial. He claimed:


“Well, the problem is that the hatred came first and the convictions followed. This is how the world works, the world is just an unfair place. And I’m feeling that right now.”


Let’s just remember that Millard is not the victim here: Tim Bosma, Laura Babcock and Wayne Millard were victims. In Laura’s case, her body was never recovered, and once  Millard and Smich were found guilty, prosecution applied for a declaration of death, noting her date of death to be July the 3rd, the very day she went missing. 


But there was one more trial to follow. Dellen Millard stood trial for his father’s murder in a trail by judge only in June 2018. The court heard that Millardair, founded in 1963 by patriarch Carl Millard went bankrupt in 1990. Between 1990 and 2010, the company’s main source of income was from providing hangar rental at Toronto’s Pearson Airport. After Carl Millard’s death in 2006, Wayne Millard took the reigns, and hoped to reignite the strong business with his new venture of aircraft repair and maintenance.


Witnesses told the court that Dellen Millard blamed his father for the company’s financial issues. This text Millard sent to Christina Noudga gave some insight into their father-son dynamic:


“The last time I spoke to him, I told him the company’s financial troubles were his doing and that he was a failure. Usually he tells me not to worry. But this time he said maybe I was right.”

On the 24th of September 2018 Millard was convicted of murdering his father. When the verdict was read – he cried. Justice Maureen Forestell stated:


“I am satisfied that Dellen Millard killed his father by shooting him in the left eye as he slept. I can find no theory consistent with innocence.”


Laura Babcock and Tim Bosma’s parents attended the trial every day. They applauded when the verdict was read. Outside the courthouse Clayton Babcock, flanked by both the Babcock and Bosma families said:


“It’s been proven that not only has the Bosmas and ourselves have lost a loved one, the Millard family must live with the fact this heinous individual murdered his own father. There’ll be not a day in our lives when the loss of Laura, Tim or Wayne won’t be felt.”


It would only be in 2019, seven years after Laura’s death, that her family finally received a death certificate. It states that she ‘Disappeared in circumstances of peril’.


A contentious issue was raised after Millard was charged with Laura’s and Wayne’s murders: why did police not follow up on Shawn Lerner’s tip as soon as the could. He gave them her killer’s name a year before. Shawn wrote a letter of complaint, stating that Toronto police did not open a missing person’s report and that none of Laura’s friends or family were interviewed. 


By the time of Tim’s murder, Millard thought he was invincible – he got away with murder – twice and thought he would do it again – this time a random stranger, who had done him no wrong. Had police investigated Laura’s disappearance when it happened, could it have spared the lives of Tim Bosma – and perhaps even the life of his own father?


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