POLITICS

Second suspect in test drive killing charged with first-degree murder

05/23/2013 04:00 EDT | Updated 07/22/2013 05:12 EDT
HAMILTON - A second suspect in the death of Tim Bosma, a Hamilton father who took two men on a test drive and never returned, appeared briefly in court Thursday and was charged with first-degree murder.

Mark Smich, 25, of Oakville, Ont., was led in shackles into a Hamilton courtroom Thursday morning and turned his back to the public gallery for the duration of his appearance.

Wearing a brown t-shirt, jeans and white sneakers, the man with a shaved head also had scratches on his left cheek that were visible as he was escorted out of the courtroom.

Smich spoke only to say his name and confirm that he understood an order not to communicate with certain people.

The names of those people are under a publication ban.

Lawyer Tom Dungey said outside the courtroom that Smich will plead not guilty.

"We will be defending this case vigorously," Dungey said. He would not answer reporters questions and asked court security to escort him out of the building.

Court records show Smich has five previous convictions in Milton, Ont., including two for drug possession in 2005 and 2006, two failures to comply in 2006 and one impaired driving conviction in 2009.

He is also facing a charge of mischief for allegedly spray-painting a highway overpass with graffiti.

Smich is being held in custody with his next court appearance on the murder charge set for June 13, the same day the other suspect in the case is to appear.

Toronto resident Dellen Millard, 27, is charged with first-degree murder as well as forcible confinement and theft of a vehicle. His lawyer has said his client will also plead not guilty.

Police allege the suspects are the two men Bosma took for a test drive in the pickup truck he was trying to sell online.

Police are still looking for at least one other person, as a dark blue GMC Yukon belonging to Millard was seen on video following Bosma's truck as he left his home on the test drive on May 6. Police have urged that person to contact investigators.

Bosma's remains were found about a week after he disappeared, burned beyond recognition at a farm belonging to Millard.

Police believe he was killed the same night he went missing, though they have not yet said if he was killed in the truck, on the farm where his remains were found, or elsewhere.

Investigators haven't disclosed a possible motive.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version had an incorrect date for one of Smich's previous convictions.