Exclusive jailhouse interviews: “I didn’t do it … They might as well accuse me of having been to the moon. There’s nothing real about it.”
By Robert Cribb
From behind a turquoise prison door, Dellen Millard tentatively appears, a tall man in an orange prison jumpsuit, contained behind a thick glass wall.
The doe-eyed 28-year-old smiles as he sits down and picks up a black, 1960s-style phone receiver and places it to his ear.
In his first public interview, Millard, who police say killed Tim Bosma — allegations that have yet to be tested in court — appears nothing like the brash, young playboy cast as the antagonist in a made-for-Hollywood narrative.
His face and story have made international headlines, yet there remain many unanswered questions.
Most notably: did he kill Tim Bosma?
“No,” he says as he makes direct eye contact. “I didn’t do it … They might as well accuse me of having been to the moon. There’s nothing real about it.”
Bosma disappeared on May 6 after leaving his Ancaster home with two men — one of whom police say was Millard — for a test drive of a 2007 Dodge Ram 3500 pickup he had advertised for sale online.
Police allege Millard and an accomplice killed Bosma later that night and burned the body on Millard’s recently purchased farm property near Ayr, Ont., where Bosma’s remains were recovered later that month.
Mark Smich stands accused of the murder along with Millard. Both will plead not guilty at the preliminary trial, which begins next September.
Police have also linked the death of Millard’s father Wayne and missing woman Laura Babcock to the investigation.
In two separate prison interviews with the Star, a reflective and articulate Millard spoke candidly about his life, his aspirations and the stunning fall from grace that took him from a life of wealth to the dreary, institutional seclusion of the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre.
Although he denies killing Bosma, Millard declined to respond to further questions about the case, including whether he was in the truck with Bosma on the night of May 6 and the discovery of Bosma’s body on his farm.
“I’m hesitant to say anything,” Millard says. “This is an adversarial system.”
The day police arrested Millard remains vivid in its retelling.
He woke up early to meet an accountant at his Waterloo Region-based aviation business, Millardair, an empire he inherited from his late father and grandfather.
Millard was fetching financial records for the company when two Hamilton police investigators arrived and started asking questions: His name. His acquaintances. Whether he knew about Bosma’s disappearance. And about the tattoo on his left wrist that reads “ambition.”
It was almost friendly, he recalls. A short while later, they thanked him and left.
Two hours later, while he was driving home, Millard says he was rear-ended as he idled at a red light.
When he got out of the car, he saw more than a dozen people — plain-clothed officers with protective vests — pointing guns at him.
“I was in shock. I can’t pinpoint the feelings,” he says. “It was another world.”
At the time, police charged him with robbery and forcible confinement in Bosma’s disappearance. Days later, after the discovery of Bosma’s burned body on Millard’s recently purchased farm, police added a murder charge.
The story exploded and quickly focused on Millard, who was portrayed as a spoiled young man.
Among the details in the growing story was the disappearance of Laura Babcock, a striking 23-year-old who had a relationship with Millard before she vanished in the summer of 2012.
The most intriguing piece of evidence: several of her final phone calls were to Millard.
Police scoured Millard’s farm for a week this fall in connection to her case and reported no significant findings, just a bunch of barrels, some labelled as kerosene.
The utterance of Babcock’s name in a jailhouse interview brings a knowing glance. But no comment.
He has read some of the media coverage. He knows it has been negative. But he says he’s not that person.
“I shop at Costco. I don’t buy expensive clothes. I’m a bargain hunter. I have one Hugo Boss suit,” he says.
To an outsider, Millard lived a life of leisure. Raised as an only child by divorced parents, he dabbled in various careers but never committed himself to one.
He dropped out of Toronto French School before getting his high school diploma because “there were only a couple of teachers I found interesting.”
It was a correspondence course through a small, alternative school in Toronto called Subway Academy that landed Millard the diploma that his parents insisted he get.
He “blew” money on his passions. He raced in the Baja desert in a customized Jeep he had worked on with his friends. Pictures of his tooling around became media fodder in the days following his arrest. And he blew cash on massive parties that became renowned among his friends.
“I aspired to that image in some ways because people wanted that of me,” he says pulling up his orange sleeves, revealing large tattoos across both arms that read “I am heaven sent” and “Don’t you dare forget.”
“I threw some parties. I tried to make that a reality for my friends.”
His professional resumé depicts an incongruous collection of career aspirations.
He took college courses ranging from makeup artistry to culinary arts to animation, he says.
For a time he bought houses for renovating and flipping — a career path he says abandoned when he realized he was only breaking even. After his arrest, several properties in Millard’s name were transferred to his mother and sold.
Last year, the death of his father, Wayne, brought focus to his meandering path, Millard says.
“He was probably the person I loved most in the world, even more than myself,” he says. “We would have deep discussions. He needed me a lot for the business.”
The cause of Wayne’s death remains a mystery. Police initially deemed it a suicide but have since reopened an investigation.
“People asked me how he died,” Millard says. “I’d say he died of a sudden bleed in his brain, which is what the coroner told me.”
Millard wrote an unusual obituary in the Star two weeks after his dad’s death.
“He was frugal with himself and generous to others. The only people he feared were racists … He was patient and stubborn. He admired Christ, Gandhi and Lindbergh. He believed animal welfare was a humanitarian effort. He was a good man in a careless world. He was my father.”
Flying has always been a Millard way of life. Wayne was an Air Canada pilot before taking over Millardair, a company started by his father Carl.
In 1999, a 14-year-old Dellen made headlines for flying solo in a helicopter and fixed-wing plane on the same day.
Prior to Wayne’s death, Millardair built the new multimillion dollar hangar to rejuvenate the business.
Left to manage that legacy, Millard says he turned his attention to the business — but not without resentment.
“I took it all pretty hard. It was a responsibility I didn’t want at that time. I was angry at (Wayne) for the things I had to do because he wasn’t there to do them.”
He planned to turn the company’s new hangar into a “fixed base of operations” — a kind of hotel for airplanes offering parking space, fuel services and car rentals.
Those plans ended the day of his arrest.
Now he spends his days in his own mind, he says. He volunteered to work in the prison kitchen, “but they won’t let me.” He doesn’t elaborate.
His days in solitary are spent reading and practising yoga.
“I spend time outside the cell in my head,” he says. “I re-enact movies in my head. It was Jurassic Park last night.”
And he devises business ideas.
At the moment, he’s onto an idea about which he’s gained some valuable real-life experience in jail: living in small quarters.
“I’ve been thinking about a project on submarine living spaces. I spend my time thinking, reading, doing things that are useful.”
On his bedside at the moment is the 19th-century book On War by Carl von Clausewitz.
His life, and that of his family, is in suspension, he says.
“You’re an extension of another life,” he says, speaking of his mother, Madeleine Burns, long divorced from Wayne. She is a trained interior designer who has assumed control of the business and properties. “So I’d say it’s been as hard for her as it is for me.”
She visits regularly. But he misses her.
Millard can’t speak to the woman he had been dating for two years because she is on the list of people the court says he may not contact.
But he hopes to one day. “We were in love.”
He also misses his dog, a Mexican street hound he picked up on his travels.
Millard was planning to return to Baja to race his truck next year.
“That’s postponed,” he says, smiling. “You can predict things in life, the way things will go. But plans never go as you expect.”
When a prison guard re-enters the room to signal the end of the visit, Millard shrugs his shoulders and hangs up the phone to leave.
Before disappearing behind the door, he stops and looks back for a long moment, waving once.
His smile has vanished.