Tim Bosma trial
'Should I steal from the a------ or the nice guy?'; Millard's roommate testifies at Tim Bosma murder trial
Andrew Michalski, a witness at the Tim Bosma murder trial, after getting his Baja Desert Racing tattoo in 2011 along with Dellen Millard and Shane Schlatman. (Facebook)
HAMILTON, Ont. — Two days before Tim Bosma vanished while on a test drive of a truck he was selling online, one of his accused killers, Dellen Millard, was looking at a Kijiji ad offering a black Dodge Ram 3500 pickup for sale, court heard.
Millard showed the ad on his computer screen at his Toronto home to his roommate and friend, Andrew Michalski, and then asked Michalski a question.
“He asked me if he should steal it from the a------ or the nice guy?” Michalski, 26, testified Tuesday.
The testimony brought gasps from the packed courtroom.
While Michalski said he had no idea who was who, there seemed an immediate recognition in the body of the court — crowded by Bosma’s family and friends — that Bosma would be the nice guy in that purported dichotomy.
The jury has heard that Bosma left his Hamilton, Ont., home in his diesel-powered pick-up with two strangers on May 6, 2013. Prosecutors allege he was shot inside his truck and his body then burned in an animal cremator.
Jurors also heard testimony that before Bosma disappeared, two men test-drove similar trucks, including with a seller who was an intimidating man who testified earlier that two would-be buyers grew nervous when he told them he was a former Israeli soldier.
Smich’s lawyers earlier agreed that Smich sat in the rear seat of the pickup on the test drive with the former soldier.
Both Millard and Smich have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in Bosma’s slaying.
Millard’s search for a diesel pickup truck did not surprise Michalski — he knew about Millard’s need for such a vehicle and knew time was running out to get one.
Michalski was a co-driver with Millard in their ill-fated off-road desert race in 2011 in Baja, Mexico. The gruelling 800-kilometre race ended just 24 kilometres into it when Millard wrecked his souped-up Jeep.
Pulling the Jeep and racing equipment in a long, covered trailer to Baja was expensive because Millard’s Dodge Ram 3500 was gas-powered not diesel. Michalski knew Millard wanted a diesel truck before their next attempt at the Baja, scheduled for later that same month, Michalski said.
“We were just getting ready to head out in May, which was the next race,” Michalski said.
Michalski said he didn’t like Millard’s question about who to steal from.
“I told him to f--- off,” he testified. “I didn’t think he needed to steal a truck.”
He testified that Millard and Smich told him the next day they had taken a truck for a test drive but didn’t steal it.
“Dell said they didn’t steal the truck because Mark was sick … that was their excuse for not stealing the truck.” They were going to see another truck later.
Dellen Millard, accused of murder in the death of Tim Bosma, is seen at the Baja desert race in 2011 in a photo taken by friend Andrew Michalski. (Facebook)
The morning after Bosma’s disappearance, Michalski said he received an early morning phone call from Marlena Meneses, Smich’s girlfriend.
“Marlena was worried about mark,” Michalski said in a May 7 text message to Millard, shown in court. “Just wanted to figure out where he was.”
“He’s with her,” Millard replied.
“She called me at 6 in the morning asking where he was if I knew we’re [sic] you were,” Michalski texted back.
“Marlena’s a child & worries too easily,” Millard replied.
When Michalski saw Millard later that day, he asked his friend if they got the truck. He said yes, Michalski said.
Later that week, May 10, the day Millard was arrested in the Bosma missing-person case, Michalski said he received a phone call from Smich. He sounded in “panic mode.”
“He said that they got Dell and I should get all the drugs out of the house,” Michalski said. He assumed Smich meant Millard had been arrested for stealing the truck; he hadn’t made any connection to the search for Bosma, he said.
Michalski said he gathered drugs from the house, put them in a backpack, put it in the trunk of his car and parked his car on the street.
Over several calls, Smich asked him to contact a mutual friend, Matt Hagerman, who has previously testified, and get a tool box Millard had given him and take the bag of drugs and the toolbox to him in Oakville.
Soon, Michalski heard the news that Millard’s arrest was in the Bosma case and he “immediately panicked,” he said.
Michalski and Hagerman drove to Oakville, dumped the items in a secluded stairwell and told Smich where there were, he said.
“I didn’t want to directly meet with Mark and hand it to him,” Michalski said. “When I saw the news, I didn’t want to see him, I didn’t want to make contact with him. We needed to find a place that was neutral for us.”
Another series of text messages between Millard and Michalski were shown the jury, dated April 5, 2013.
“2013 is gonna be all business. 2014/15 will be for inventions!” Millard texted his friend.
“Need to make some money first,” Michalski replied.
“About 100,000 a month, and I’ll be out of the hole,” said Millard.
“Challenge accepted,” said Michalski.
The Millardair hangar, the largest at Waterloo airport, owned by Dellen Millard. (Court exhibit)
“I do t [sic] really have the choice to accept or decline (unless I want to take up residence under the gardener) it’s what it is and it much happen,” replied Millard.
“Lets do it,” replied Michalski.
On the stand, Michalski explained that Millard needed money to stay in the hangar.
“I knew he had a mortgage on the hangar he had to pay off and he wasn’t getting any money in,” he said. Millard’s lawyers have previously suggested Millard had plenty of money and assets and had no need to resort to stealing a truck when he could buy one.
Court heard, however, that Michalski and Hagerman both helped Millard and Smich steal a Bobcat construction loader from a work site and take it to the hangar. Hagerman said there were other such “missions” that Millard ran to steal construction gear.
Michalski returns to the stand Wednesday.