The widow of Tim Bosma delivered an emotional statement outside a Hamilton courthouse Friday, after learning that the two men accused of killing her husband three years ago will both face life sentences with no chance of parole for 25 years.
“Today has been a very long awaited day for our families. For over three years, we have waited for justice for Tim,” Sharlene Bosma told a crowd of cheering supporters.
“For three years, we have been in and out of this courthouse, forced to look at and breathe in the same space with the utter depths of depravity in our society. We have had to endure being near the two men that walked down my driveway on May 6th, 2013 and took away the bright life in our lives that was Tim.”
Bosma said it was the “unspeakable evil acts” of Dellen Millard, 30, of Toronto, and Mark Smich, 28, of Oakville, that led to their conviction, despite the accused calling the charges against them “unfair.”
Tim Bosma, 32, went missing after taking two men for a test drive of a truck he had listed for sale online. His disappearance made headlines across Canada and sparked a massive week-long search that saw more than 100 police officers scouring Millard’s properties in the Waterloo Region.
Millard, the heir to an aviation empire, was arrested before Bosma’s charred remains were found. Smich was arrested more than a week later, just hours before a memorial service that saw hundreds pay tribute to the Hamilton man.
“What is unfair is that now that this chapter is over, we have to truly begin building our lives. What is unfair is that regardless of all that has transpired in the courtroom today, one thing will never change for us,” Sharlene Bosma said.
“There is one absolute constant for us: This does not bring Tim back and he will still never come home. For Tim’s murderers, their life sentence begins now and ours began over three years ago when they murdered Tim.”
Prosecutors in the Bosma case have alleged Millard and Smich – then a drug dealer – planned for more than a year to steal a truck, kill its owner and incinerate the body.
The trial, which began hearing evidence on Feb. 1, has pitted the two former friends against each other as each man said the other had carried out the fatal shooting.
Gasps of relief rang out in the Hamilton courtroom Friday as Justice Andrew Goodman read the verdict against Millard and Smich, who both pleaded not guilty to the charges. The jury deliberated for five days before coming to a decision Friday afternoon.
The conviction carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years, which means Millard and Smich won’t be eligible for parole before 2038 after being credited for time already spent in custody. Both men declined to comment when given the chance to speak to the court.
Bosma said that despite enduring “a life sentence without Tim,” friends and family have “learned to collectively laugh again, to smile and embrace what we still have.”
“We have memories — a lot of very beautiful memories. For myself, I made a choice a long time ago. I choose to remind myself that through everything that has happened in the last three years, I am blessed. I still have much for which to be thankful,” she said.
“I was fortunate enough to have spent four and a half years with a wonderful man, who, for three of those years, I got to call my husband. He chose me and I’m always going to mourn what we’re never going to have, what we’re never going to be able to share together. But I will celebrate what we were able to have because every one of those moments count.”
Bosma said she felt honoured to have a beautiful child with Tim, calling their daughter a “miracle baby in so many ways,” and said she was grateful for the time her and Tim spent together as a family.
“While Tim may have been stolen, that time never will be,” she said.
“We are all thankful for the village of people that surround us all. They have supported us, loved us, upheld us in prayers and in their actions. Our families as a whole have been so very blessed by our communities.”
Bosma said friends endured her “late night incoherent sobbing phone calls” and provided a “listening ear” while staying with her “night after night.”
“They dropped everything to comb through every possible road and street in this province when Tim went missing. For my daughter and I, they are our other family.”
She added the Bosma family also has “unending gratitude” to police, victim support networks and the Crown lawyers assigned to the case.
“They have all worked so hard to achieve justice for Tim. It is through their hard work and perseverance that we are here at this moment,” she said. “It was their long days, long nights, and even longer weekends spent away from their families that we were able to achieve today’s verdict.”
Bosma said words could never fully express how much appreciation the family has for all of those involved, adding that “each and every one of them will forever hold a special place in our heart.”
Crown lawyer Tony Leitch told the crowd outside the courthouse that although he felt “very good” with the result of the trial, he was just doing his job.
“I just want to profoundly thank the jury, they’ve worked very hard and they’ve done justice for Tim Bosma,” he said.
“I want to thank the police and I want to thank my colleagues and everyone involved in the case. We worked very hard, but it was all worth it because Tim Bosma was a good man and he deserved everything we gave.”
Leitch said he didn’t know what convinced the jury beyond a reasonable doubt of Millard and Smich’s guilt, but said he was just glad the conviction was made.
“I think it was the right result, as I say justice has been done in our community,” he said.
“We thank all of you for being with the Bosma family during this very difficult time and we really appreciate the coverage of the press and we really appreciate everything that the Bosma family did to support this case.”
Bosma said the family had “an abundance of thanks for the jury,” who she said “gave so much of themselves” during the more than four month trial.
“I cannot imagine how stressful and difficult this has been on them. We have prayed for them every day and will continue to do so as they re-enter their lives. May you all be blessed,” she said.
“Over the last three years, we’d only begun to learn to rebuild. To learn to move forward, carrying Tim with us. Now, the real work begins because our story does not end here.”
With files from The Canadian Press