HAMILTON — Tim Bosma was pacing in front of the TV the evening of May 6, 2013, waiting for two men to come by to see a pickup truck he had been trying to sell for weeks.
“Who comes this late to see a truck?” the 32-year-old Ancaster father said to his wife, Sharlene.
It will never be known if Bosma was having second thoughts or felt something was amiss that night.
In the hours after he took the two men for a test drive, Bosma was shot at close range in the vehicle and his body incinerated, the jury at his murder trial was told Monday.
His accused killers, Dellen Millard and Mark Smich, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in front of a packed courtroom in Hamilton Superior Court.
Bosma’s disappearance and the recovery of his remains made international headlines, and left people thinking twice about buying and selling goods online.
The evening of May 6, Bosma turned to his wife and said, “When they come, should I go with them?” Sharlene testified, tearfully.
“I said ‘Yes, you should, because we want the truck to come back,’” she said, sobbing on the stand and asking for a moment to regain her composure.
Both seated behind their lawyers, Millard, in a white dress shirt and blue jeans, and Smich, in a white shirt with a grey pullover, often looked up at Sharlene while she testified.
At times candid and funny, while at other times taking a moment to wipe away tears, Sharlene spent the first half of her testimony describing her late husband, an “exceptionally skinny” man and “wonderful father” with a big heart and a good sense of humour, who ran his own heating and air conditioning business.
The pair first met online in 2008. “It was a disastrous first date,” she said to laughter in the courtroom. “But a better second and an even better third.”
They were married in 2010, and Sharlene gave birth to their daughter that year, with the plan being to have more kids in the future.
“Tim was very strong in character,” she said. “He had the patience of a saint, because he was married to me.”
It was Sharlene who made the first ad in April 2013 for Tim’s Dodge Ram 3500 pickup. “He was cute, but not always so good with computers,” she said. “That was my job.”
The vehicle had become a financial burden for the couple, who had been living paycheque to paycheque in their early years together, and found themselves on the hook for thousands of dollars in repairs.
“Our biggest issue was the truck kept breaking down and it was costing us to fix it all the time,” Sharlene said.
At first, Tim couldn’t find any takers, so he was overjoyed when he received a call on May 4, 2013 — two days before his disappearance — from a man saying he wanted to come see the vehicle.
He was so keen on getting the truck sold that he wanted to get back to the house at a decent hour from his mother’s 60th birthday celebration that weekend so he could wax and shine it, Sharlene said.
She and the Bosmas’ tenant, Wayne De Boer, testified Monday about seeing two men speak with Tim on the Ancaster property the night of his disappearance — just after he had helped put his daughter to bed — although it was difficult to make them out because it was dark.
The men had walked down the Bosmas’ long country driveway, saying their friend had dropped them off and gone to Tim Hortons. Sharlene found the encounter “very strange.”
But she remembered Tim had “a big smile on his face” when he got in the truck with the other two men, saying he was going for a test drive “and would be right back.”
Sharlene never saw her husband again. After Tim had been gone for more than an hour, she began to panic, calling friends and, finally, the police.
Crown attorney Craig Fraser had told the jury earlier that Bosma’s truck, its interior gutted, was found in a trailer on the property of Millard’s mother in Kleinburg, with gunshot residue and blood inside.
Bosma’s remains, he said, were found in an incinerator on Millard’s farm in Ayr, Ont., used to cremate animal carcasses.
“Dellen Millard and Mark Smich were friends,” Fraser told jurors in his opening address. “They did not know (Bosma). And he did not know them.”
Fraser said the Crown intends to prove that it was Millard who reached out to Bosma on May 4, 2013, and that Millard had also phoned three other men asking about test-driving vehicles they were selling.
He said the Crown has video showing Millard and Smich at a hangar in Waterloo belonging to Millard’s company, Millard Air, while the incinerator burned nearby in the early hours of May 7, 2013.
Fraser said Millard’s girlfriend, Christina Noudga — who has been charged with accessory to murder after the fact — will testify that she helped Millard move the incinerator to a cluster of trees on his farm. He said she was also asked by Millard in letters to pressure a key Crown witness into changing his evidence.
The trial continues.