TORONTO – A twice-convicted killer on trial for allegedly murdering his father, whose death was initially ruled a suicide, said his dad was depressed, an alcoholic and under a great deal of stress because of a new aviation business the two were working on together, court heard Monday.
Prosecutors showed a 55-minute interview of Dellen Millard with two police detectives hours after Wayne Millard was found dead in his home on Nov. 29, 2012.
Dellen Millard, 32, has pleaded not guilty for first-degree murder of his father. The case was re-opened after he was arrested for the murder of Hamilton man Tim Bosma in May 2013.
Dellen Millard told detectives his father had depression, but never sought treatment for it.
“He carried some great sadness with him throughout life that I never knew – he never wanted to share that with me,” Dellen Millard said in the interview with police.
Earlier that day, Millard told police he came home and found his father dead in his bedroom at about 6:30 p.m. He told police the last time he saw Wayne Millard alive was the previous day at about noon.
Both Millards were in the final stages of re-launching Millardair, taking it from a company that rented out aircraft hangars to an aircraft repair operation at a new hangar at the Region of Waterloo International Airport.
Dellen Millard said he saw his father dead with blood on the pillow. He said he left the room, got his phone and called his mother, Madeleine Burns.
“She started screaming on the phone,” Millard said with a sniffle. He said he stayed on the phone with her until she arrived from her home north of Toronto. Then Burns went inside the house alone for about 10 minutes, then returned outside to her son and called 911.
VIDEO: Convicted killer Dellen Millard on trial in the death of his own father
Dellen Millard told detectives the business was causing a considerable amount of stress to the elder Millard and it had “more than a chance” of failing.
He said Wayne Millard had “a very strong liver” because he “drank lots.”
“I don’t like to say the word alcoholic, but it fits, he was a regular drinker, like every night,” Dellen Millard said.
Det. James Hutcheon was one of two detectives who interviewed Millard and also investigated the home.
He said the coroner, Dr. David Evans, examined Wayne Millard’s body “and advised me the suicide appeared to be suspicious.”
Hutcheon said he notified homicide about the case, but was told by a homicide detective they wouldn’t go to the scene, but would “follow up in the morning.”
Hutcheon said Burns, Wayne Millard’s ex-wife, was shaken but Dellen Millard’s demeanour was different.
“He was very calm, and didn’t appear upset at all,” he said.
The coroner testified earlier Monday that he believed there was a “reasonable chance” Wayne Millard killed himself, but noted it was possible someone else pulled the trigger of the gun found beside the man.
He said he ruled the death a suicide within two days of Millard’s body being found in his home in late November 2012, and stuck by his findings in his final report more than six months later despite knowing Toronto police had re-opened the case.
VIDEO: Dellen Millard, Mark Smich guilty of murdering Laura Babcock
“Looking at the scene, the trajectory of the bullet, the position of his left hand, the powder marks on his hand and his pillow, it would appear this death is consistent with suicide,” Evans said.
An autopsy found Wayne Millard died from a bullet to the brain that entered at his left eye and became lodged in the back of his head on the right side, Evans said.
“The soot on the hand and what I saw on the pillow and how his left hand was, I thought there was reasonable chance he had done this himself,” Evans said, but added that he had never seen a bullet through an eye in a suicide case.
Crown attorney Jill Cameron asked Evans if someone else could have pulled the trigger of the gun found.
“At the time, I felt it was more consistent with a suicide,” Evans said.
“In retrospect, one can say that’s a possibility.”
Evans noted, however, that he believed Wayne Millard may have turned the gun around to point it at his eye and pulled the trigger with his thumb.
The trial heard that when Evans entered the bedroom, he followed the trail of blood on Wayne Millard’s bed to a black gym bag on the floor and saw a revolver when he moved it – something police hadn’t noticed. Then he looked closer at the blood on Millard’s face, he said.
“I noticed the left eye was absent,” Evans said, adding that the death occurred at least 18 hours before he completed his investigation at about 11 p.m.
Court documents show Dellen Millard’s DNA was found on the gun’s handle. Last year, a gun trafficker pleaded guilty to selling Millard the revolver.
Dellen Millard was charged in his father’s death in April 2014.
Millard and his friend Mark Smich have been convicted of first-degree murder for the deaths Bosma and Toronto woman Laura Babcock.