Dellen Millard, 32, and Mark Smich, 30, were found guilty this week of first-degree murder in the death of 23-year-old Laura Babcock. Millard and Smich were accused of killing Babcock and burning her body inside an animal incinerator that was called “the eliminator.”
The jury of Canada’s Ontario Superior Court needed less than four days to finalize a verdict in against Millard and Smich. Reportedly, the victim’s family and several jurors reportedly cried as the verdict was announced.
Millard is known for his elaborate lifestyle and is the heir to an aviation company. He’s been known to host lavish pool parties where women outnumbered men by a 2-to-1 ratio and also maintains a range of high-end properties.
Smich and Millard, already serving sentences in a separate case involving the murder of Tim Bosma, were automatically sentenced to life imprisonment for Babcock’s death. It will be 25 years before they are given the chance of parole.
Shane Schlatman, Millard’s former mechanic, purchased one incinerator on behalf of the convicted killer, while a second incinerator was homemade. Schlatman testified in court that he found ash and something that looked like bones inside of the machine that prosecutors claim was used to burn Babcock’s corpse. “I could smell a funny smell. Like rotting. Not nice. There was stuff inside of it,” Schlatman told the jury.
Millard faces an additional trial in March 2018 in the 2012 death of his father, Wayne Millard, which was initially investigated as a suicide.
Babcock, who graduated with a degree in English and drama from the University of Toronto, was last seen in early July 2012 and her remains were never recovered.
During the trial, over 60 handwritten letters Millard sent to his girlfriend at the time, Christian Noudga, were discovered by police and considered key pieces of evidence.
In one letter, Millard talked about “the night Laura disappeared” saying she overdosed in his basement after doing cocaine with Smich. Millard later wrote Noudga, “that was just brainstorming. Forget it.”
Prosecutors claimed that Millard’s motive for the murder was his promise to resolve a love triangle between he, Noudga and Babcock. Jurors learned that Noudga and Babcock feuded over text messages for the affection of Millard.
In April 2012, Millard wrote Noudga about Babcock, “first I’m going to hurt her. Then I’ll make her leave.… I will remove her from our lives.”
Defense attorneys for both Millard and Smich claimed that since Babcock’s body was never recovered, there is no way to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she’s even dead. However, prosecutors presented evidence showing that Babcock and Millard communicated on the phone 110 times in the days before she disappeared.
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