Officer tells Tim Bosma’s murder trial she found bones in incinerator on accused’s farm
HAMILTON — Family members of a slain man dissolved in tears Wednesday as a police officer told court about finding bones inside an incinerator – a substantial apparatus emblazoned with the words “the eliminator” – on a farm owned by one of Tim Bosma’s accused killers.
Sgt. Annette Huys’s testimony left much of Bosma’s family, including his widow, Sharlene, weeping as the forensics officer methodically pored over photographs of the remains found in the incinerator just days after Bosma disappeared.
“When I first looked down I saw a bone,” Huys told court as she described opening the latch on the massive machine that she measured at 3.5 metres tall.
Huys testified she was on the farm owned by Dellen Millard in Ayr, Ont., to execute three search warrants as officers continued their hunt for Bosma.
Millard, of Toronto, and Mark Smich, of Oakville, Ont., have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in Bosma’s death.
At the same time the Bosma family broke down in the Hamilton courthouse, Millard stared at Smich, as he often does, looking him up and down for 10 seconds. Smich didn’t look back.
Bosma disappeared on the night of May 6, 2013, after taking two strangers on a test drive of a black Dodge Ram pickup truck he was trying to sell.
His body was found more than a week later burned beyond recognition. The Crown alleges Bosma was shot inside his truck and his body later burned in an incinerator.
Huys told court she had sent photos of the bones to a forensic anthropologist at the University of Toronto, Tracy Rogers.
“Her preliminary opinion was, it was human,” Huys said.
She described how she and Rogers – who is also expected to testify – painstakingly worked at the farm over three days analysing the contents of the massive incinerator.
Huys said Rogers worked inside the incinerator and would pass pieces out, describing it as “bone or not bone.” Huys would catalog and wrap the bone fragments in foil for further analysis.
She also told court she was led to the incinerator along with two other officers after stopping a motorbike rider who was wheeling around the property.
Earlier Wednesday, Chaz Main told jurors he was riding his bike on May 10, 2013, when he came across a “big redneck smoker” on the sprawling property.
Main said the incinerator was on a heavy duty trailer with a large propane tank. It was so unusual, he testified, that he took a photograph so his friends would believe what he found.
Court saw that photo, which shows the words “the eliminator” in red letters on the black machine.
Main testified that when he returned to the sprawling farm the next day for more riding he was stopped by police officers scouring the property as they searched for Bosma.
“I told them about very odd activity and a big redneck smoker in the woods and an excavator in the swamp,” Main said.
Two other Hamilton police officers, meantime, testified they were on Millard’s farm that day executing search warrants in an effort to find Bosma, his belongings and his truck. Millard had been arrested a day earlier.
“It looked like a large barbecue to me,” Sgt. Philip Peckford said of the incinerator.
Main said after speaking with Sgt. Michael Benjamin Adams, he rode his dirt bike back to a stand of trees to show the officers the incinerator. After that, he showed the officers the other machinery – an excavator and a “skid steer” that were stuck in a swamp on another part of the property – and they came across several large “burn spots” where the ground had been scorched.
“Looking at the sheer size of it,” Huys said. “There was a real possibility that someone could be inside of it.”
So she opened a small door at the bottom, but couldn’t see much, so she jumped up onto the trailer and opened the latch and saw the bone. There was a smaller bone underneath that one.
By the end of her examination of the incinerator with Rogers, they had identified dozens of bone fragments.
The trial continues Thursday with the cross examination of Huys.
© 2016 The Canadian Press