Wayne Millard has an unlikely ally standing witness for him — the mother of a woman his son murdered.
Every morning at Dellen Millard’s first-degree murder trial in the death of his father, Linda Babcock walks into the courtroom and takes a seat on the opposite side of the room to the man who killed her daughter, Laura.
For weeks at the end of last year, Babcock sat through a trial that outlined the gruesome details of how Dellen Millard and his friend Mark Smich killed her daughter before incinerating her body in the summer of 2012.
Now Babcock is doing it all over again — this time for a man she never knew.
“I’m here to see justice done for Wayne Millard,” Babcock told CBC News.
“We are there for Wayne Millard just so the judge can see that his death means something to a lot of people.”
The death of the 71-year-old was originally ruled a suicide. He was found at his home at 5 Maple Gate Court in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke with a single gunshot wound through his eye on Nov. 29, 2012.
It’s a day-to-day thing. It will be for the rest of our lives.– Linda Babcock
Dellen, his 32-year-old son, was charged in his father’s death after police started investigating the murders of Tim Bosma, a father and husband from Hamilton, and Babcock’s daughter, a Toronto woman he had been involved with.
Millard is currently serving consecutive life sentences for those slayings. He has pleaded not guilty to killing his father at the judge-alone trial being held in Superior Court in Toronto.
Graphic evidence difficult to watch
Though Babcock has attended every day of this trial, it hasn’t been easy. Seeing Millard sitting in the prisoner’s box each day, tapping out notes on a laptop, is excruciating.
And though the evidence doesn’t pertain to her own family, it has been no less gruesome. In the trial for her daughter’s murder, court heard all about a love triangle between Millard, Babcock and Christina Noudga, Millard’s girlfriend.
Text messages between Millard and Noudga were displayed across screens in the courtroom, comparing Babcock’s daughter to herpes. In one instance, Millard wrote, “I will remove her from our lives.”
In that trial, there was little physical evidence — Laura Babcock’s body was never found. This time, there’s plenty. Graphic photos of Wayne Millard’s autopsy and the scene where his body was found have been shown in court on several occasions.
Millard, 32, faces a charge of first-degree murder in his father’s death.(Court exhibit)
One particularly graphic photo from the autopsy showing Millard’s obliterated eyeball up close sent one spectator running from from the courtroom on the day it was shown.
“Seeing the gunshot repeatedly was very difficult,” Babcock said.
But she has been resolute in the face of all that violence, and is doing so with a cast of supporters who sit with her in court each day.
An unlikely source of support
Support can come from unlikely areas, too. Babcock shared a hug with Millard’s uncle, Robert Burns, on the day he testified at his nephew’s trial. Burns, who once said in court that he thinks his nephew is a “sick, twisted prick,” made sure to stop on the way out of the courtroom and offer some comfort to Babcock.
“It’s family, friends, and all the support — and all the friends who come down every day,” Babcock said.
A single bullet was found lodged in the brain of 71-year-old Wayne Millard.(Court exhibit)
Though she likely won’t have to sit through those sorts of details much longer. The trial’s judge will rule on the admissibility of testimony from a key Crown witnesses on Friday, after which the Crown is expected to close its case.
Then, it will be up to Millard’s lawyer, Ravin Pillay, to divulge whether or not he will be calling defence witnesses.
If he elects not to, the trial will move to its final stages with closing submissions.
That will leave Babcock without a courtroom to visit each day. Instead, her focus will be on learning to cope, knowing that her daughter is gone.
“It’s a day-to-day thing,” she said. “It will be for the rest of our lives.”