TORONTO – A Toronto man accused of killing his father, whose death was initially ruled a suicide, had bought the handgun found next to his dad’s body from a weapons dealer a few months earlier, his trial heard Monday.
Jim Falconer, a retired forensic officer with the Ontario Provincial Police, took the court through text messages between Dellen Millard and a man who pleaded guilty last summer to selling the 32-year-old three handguns.
In one of them, Matthew Ward Jackson discusses a gun Millard might like, court heard.
“.32 but its really nice compact piece I’m sure ud like it,” Ward-Jackson wrote to Millard in a text on July 1, 2012. “But it’s gonna cost a lil. Thay’ve been prohibited for 30 yrs here now. So u got a very rare thing lucky u.”
“That’s great news!” Millard texted back. Court heard he bought the gun.
The messages were among hundreds found on Millard’s electronic devices and submitted as evidence at the judge-alone trial. Millard has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in his father’s death.
Wayne Millard, a wealthy aviation executive, died of a single gunshot wound through the eye in November 2012, court has heard.
The gun Dellen Millard bought from Ward Jackson – a .32-calibre Smith and Wesson revolver – was later found by a coroner next to the bed where Wayne Millard’s body lay, the trial heard. Documents show Dellen Millard’s DNA was found on the gun’s handle.
The trial has heard that the younger Millard told police he found his father dead on Nov. 29, 2012. He also told police the last time he saw Wayne Millard alive was the previous day at about noon.
An agreed statement of facts filed at the trial by the prosecution shows data indicating one of Dellen Millard’s phones moving from his friend Mark Smich’s house around 1 a.m. on Nov. 29, 2012, to his father’s home where it stayed until shortly after 6 a.m.
Court also saw numerous text messages between Millard and Smich discussing money problems. Millard had been propping the unemployed Smich up, paying for his cell phone bill and giving him spending money.
Earlier Monday, the prosecution tried to put into evidence a photograph of Millard that showed him with a bloody eye. The image, which court heard did not appear to involve real blood, was purportedly uploaded by Millard to a gaming website just two weeks before Wayne Millard died.
Crown attorney Ken Lockhart argued that the photograph, used as Dellen Millard’s profile picture on the gaming site, was not just a coincidence.
He argued a forensic audit of Millard’s computers show the image was taken in 2005, but used between Nov. 10, 2012 until May 6, 2013, the same day Millard killed Hamilton man Tim Bosma.
“If it was suicide, common sense would say this was an upsetting event and that Dellen Millard would not sit there and look at a bloody eye picture for hours on end,” Lockhart said.
But Millard’s lawyer, Ravin Pillay, said the image was too prejudicial and not relevant.
Justice Maureen Forestell, who called the image “gruesome,” sided with Pillay and excluded the image from evidence.
Millard and Smich have been convicted of first-degree murder for the deaths Bosma and Toronto woman Laura Babcock.