Mark Smich had no reason to kill Laura Babcock, his lawyer says in closing arguments
TORONTO – The prosecution in the trial of two men accused of killing a young Toronto woman who disappeared more than five years ago says there are too many coincidences in the case for it to be anything but murder.
Crown attorney Jill Cameron told the jury in her closing argument Wednesday that there is a “mountain” of evidence that Dellen Millard and Mark Smich killed Laura Babcock at Millard’s home and later burned her body in an incinerator.
Cameron says Babcock is dead, her digital footprint vanishing on July 4, 2012.
The pair have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the presumed death of Babcock, whose body has not been found.
The Crown says Babcock was the odd woman out in a love triangle with Millard and his girlfriend, Christina Noudga.
Cameron says Millard and Smich killed Babcock at Millard’s home on the night of July 3, then Millard rolled Babcock up in a blue tarp and took her body to the farm in his father’s van, where he took a photo of it next to his dog.
“Her last footprint was in their company. Think about the improbability of coincidence. It’s almost too many to count,” Cameron said.
“That is no coincidence, that is murder.”
Earlier, Smich’s lawyer told the jury his client had no motive to kill Babcock because he was never part of a love triangle the Crown has said was the reason behind her death.
Thomas Dungey said there’s not one iota of evidence that his 30-year-old client killed Laura Babcock.
“Mark Smich had no involvement with the disappearance of Laura Babcock,” Dungey said in his closing arguments. “There is no evidence to where she is or what happened to her.”
Dungey argued that Smich had no reason for what he’s accused of doing.
“Who’s involved in this love triangle? Allegedly Christina Noudga, Dellen Millard and Laura Babcock,” Dungey said. “Not Mark Smich. He’s not even part of the triangle, not part of the whole motive.”
Court has not heard evidence of any texts or communication between Smich and Babcock, Dungey said. And Smich didn’t buy the incinerator the Crown alleges the accused used, Millard did, he said.
Dungey focused on two pieces of evidence the Crown has used to highlight Smich’s connection to Babcock: her iPad was found in his possession and named “Mark’s iPad,” and a red bag with her name on it was found in Smich’s bedroom. Dungey said text messages in evidence show that Millard gave both items to Smich.
The Crown’s case is based on circumstantial evidence with no concrete proof about Babcock’s presumed death, Dungey argued.
“Is this a novel? Because it sure is fiction,” he said.
The Crown contends the accused burned Babcock’s remains in late July in the incinerator – known as The Eliminator – at Millard’s hangar near Waterloo, Ont. Court has also heard the pair and others worked on making the massive machine mobile by building a trailer to move it around.
LISTEN: 640 Toronto legal expert Joseph Neuberger on the Babcock trialView link »
But Dungey argued that would have been the “height of stupidity” after the pair worked on the machine out in the open at the hangar in front of a bunch of other people.
“If you wanted to kill and incinerate Laura Babcock, you don’t spend a week to build a trailer to do it. The incinerator is there in the hangar. Do the job. Kill her, burn it and get it over with,” he said.
Dungey finished his closing argument by addressing a rap Smich gave in his garage after Babcock disappeared.
“It comes down to a rap, that’s all they got,” Dungey said.
The jury has heard about Smich performing a rap in front of two boys in his garage about “torching” a girl and tossing her cellphone in a lake. The witnesses told court Smich said he did, in fact, burn a girl and dump her body and a cellphone in a lake.
Dungey said both witnesses were adolescents, admitted to being addicted to drugs and smoking marijuana at the time and because of that, their memories are not reliable.
© 2017 The Canadian Press