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Millard, Smich murder appeals reopen wounds for victim’s family, 10 years later

It’s been more than 10 years since Linda Babcock’s daughter was killed, a decade of highlights and memories she says were stolen by the men who killed her child.

When Delenn Millard and Mark Smich appeal in Ontario Superior Court starting Monday, they will be eligible to have their sentences reduced for multiple murder convictions by reducing their parole ineligibility periods to 50 years and 25 years.

Babcock says when that happens, he will feel like justice for his daughter, Laura Babcock, will also be stolen.

“He’s not getting any justice,” Linda Babcock said in an interview.

“My feeling is that if you point a gun and shoot somebody, then you do it to somebody else, that’s two murders and they should be treated (as such).

A panel of Ontario Court of Appeal judges is scheduled this week to hear appeals by Millard and Smich over their high-profile murder convictions. Laura Babcock and: Tim Bosma. Millard is also appealing his conviction for his father’s murder. Wayne Millardan aviation chief whose death was initially ruled a suicide.

Delenn Millard and her one-time close friend Smich were sentenced to life in prison and consecutive, not concurrent, parole terms of 25 years for each first-degree murder conviction.

Smich would not be eligible for parole for 50 years, Millard for 75 years.

Then, in a case brought by Quebec City mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette last year, the Supreme Court ruled that those types of convoluted conditions constitute: cruel and unusual punishment.

Millard and Smich are now serving 25 years in prison without parole.

After five days of listening to their appeals, Babcock said he felt all the horror of the past resurfacing.

“It’s devastating for us,” he said. “Plus, once we turn 25, we have to start attending parole hearings and giving a victim impact statement.”

In June 2016, a jury convicted Millard and Smick for the first time in the murder of Bosma, 32, whose body was burned in a furnace when he took the two men out for a test drive in his pickup truck in May 2013.

The Crown claimed the same furnace was used to dispose of the body of 23-year-old Laura Babcock, theorizing that Millard was motivated to kill her one-time lover to resolve a love triangle with his then-girlfriend.

Babcock went missing in July 2012. His last eight phone calls were to Millard, and police tracked his phone’s movement to Millard’s home. Babcock’s phone stopped ringing cell towers a short time later.

His body was never found.

Toronto police have also reopened an investigation into Wayne Millard’s death shortly after charging his son with Bosma’s murder. Delen Millard said she found her father dead in his home with a bullet through his eye. A jury found Millard guilty of first-degree murder in his father’s death, and a judge sentenced him to a third consecutive sentence.

Wayne Millard (left), Laura Babcock (center) and Tim Bosma (right) are seen in these pictures.

He had to serve 75 years before he could apply for parole, the longest consecutive sentence in Canada, shared only by a handful of other convicted mass murderers.

Calls for tougher sentences are an understandable reaction from victims’ families, said University of Ottawa professor and expert in criminal and constitutional law Karisima Mate.

But decision makers, he says, should consider that the legal system should be strongest at times when it is under pressure to adopt the most punitive forms of justice. Its cornerstone is the ability of people to change.

It also doesn’t take away from the reality that a person serving a life sentence may never be released from prison, and even if released, that release is limited, Maten said. Parole is not guaranteed and if granted with conditions.

A parole board, for example, will consider a person’s behavior in prison. Last week, Millard pleaded guilty to assault for his role in the alleged stabbing of another inmate in December 2021.

“A lot of people will spend the rest of their lives in prison,” Maten said.

Delen Millard (left) and Mark Smick (right) are seen in these pictures.

Smich’s written arguments on appeal in the Babcock and Bosma cases cast him as the victim of two allegedly biased trials that failed to distinguish between what he claims was weak evidence against him and a strong case against his co-defendants. He is asking the court to throw out his convictions and order new trials.

In Babcock’s case, for example, he argued that the evidence against him was based largely on his actions after the crime, arguing that the judge failed to properly instruct the jury on how to determine his level of responsibility for the premeditated and premeditated charge. murder. Part of his appeal in Bosma’s case will challenge the admissibility of rap songs he wrote that were used as evidence against him at trial.

The Crown argues that the judges properly and carefully instructed the jury on the long and complex case, while fairly balancing the interests of Smich and Millard.

Millard’s complaint in the Babcock case, prepared by his attorney, alleges in part that the judge improperly denied him a delay to obtain an attorney, undermining his right to a fair trial.

The Crown argues the judge was correct in denying the adjournment, pointing to a review that found Millard had been repeatedly helped by the court to obtain a lawyer, expressed a desire to represent himself, had money to hire a lawyer and still had plenty of time. get one after being denied a reprieve.

Millard is representing himself in an appeal for those convicted of murdering Bosma and his father. The court confirmed Friday that it had not received written arguments for Bosma’s and Millard’s appeals.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 12, 2023.

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