Clairmont: As his accused killers face trial, please remember Tim Bosma

News Jan 16, 2016 by Susan Clairmont The Hamilton Spectator

Tim would be 35 now.

He would be watching his little girl blow out six birthday candles. He would be celebrating wedding anniversaries with his soulmate, Sharlene, and enjoying their dream home in Ancaster. His parents, Hank and Mary, would brag about how well their doting son turned out.

That's how it ought to have been.

Instead, on Monday, the trial of Tim Bosma's two accused killers begins. Dellen Millard, 30, and Mark Smich, 28, are charged with first-degree murder.

[The tragedy leading to the Bosma trial]

Tim disappeared on May 6, 2013 after taking two men out for a test drive in the truck he was selling. His charred remains were found on a farm owned by Millard.

Tim's abduction and murder deeply affected this community. The trial of his alleged killers is highly anticipated. Folks everywhere, it seems, are talking about it.

The last time Hamilton had a murder trial that so gripped our city, it was 1977 and Jon Rallo was in the prisoner's box. The courtroom was packed when the city hall manager was found guilty of killing his wife, Sandra, and their two small children, Jason and Stephanie. 

Before that, it was Evelyn Dick. In 1946 people lined up out the door to get a seat to hear the salacious details of the femme fatale's relationships and the dismemberment of her husband, John. She was found guilty, but the verdict was overturned on appeal. She went on trial again in 1947 for the murder of her infant son, Peter, whose body was found in a suitcase in her attic. She was again found guilty and served 11 years in prison.

On Monday, the Bosma case gets underway and jury selection begins.

Hank and Mary will be in the courtroom, as they have been probably a hundred times since Tim vanished. Sharlene will have to stay away because she is expected to testify.

There is no legal standing for victims in a murder trial. There is no lawyer representing Tim or his family. This, like all homicide cases, is the Crown vs. the accused. 

[Bosma trial: Jury selection and court attendance]

In a world where the public is entertained and enthralled by endless depictions of homicide detectives and criminal lawyers, forensic experts, amateur sleuths and rightfully and wrongfully convicted killers, it is a very real danger that as this trial proceeds over the next four months — and perhaps beyond — that Tim will become an abstraction. That he will be, somehow, less real than the flesh-and-blood players who will appear in this courtroom drama every day.

I encourage you to pay attention to this trial. To care about this trial. To remember we are lucky enough to live in a country where everyone has a right to a fair trial. I invite you to learn the evidence in this case and scrutinize our legal system. 

And I hope you will, at all times, remember Tim.

Susan Clairmont’s commentary appears regularly in The Spectator. sclairmont@thespec.com

905-526-3539 | @susanclairmont

Clairmont: As his accused killers face trial, please remember Tim Bosma

News Jan 16, 2016 by Susan Clairmont The Hamilton Spectator

Tim would be 35 now.

He would be watching his little girl blow out six birthday candles. He would be celebrating wedding anniversaries with his soulmate, Sharlene, and enjoying their dream home in Ancaster. His parents, Hank and Mary, would brag about how well their doting son turned out.

That's how it ought to have been.

Instead, on Monday, the trial of Tim Bosma's two accused killers begins. Dellen Millard, 30, and Mark Smich, 28, are charged with first-degree murder.

It is a very real danger that as this trial proceeds over the next four months — and perhaps beyond — that Tim will become an abstraction.

[The tragedy leading to the Bosma trial]

Tim disappeared on May 6, 2013 after taking two men out for a test drive in the truck he was selling. His charred remains were found on a farm owned by Millard.

Tim's abduction and murder deeply affected this community. The trial of his alleged killers is highly anticipated. Folks everywhere, it seems, are talking about it.

The last time Hamilton had a murder trial that so gripped our city, it was 1977 and Jon Rallo was in the prisoner's box. The courtroom was packed when the city hall manager was found guilty of killing his wife, Sandra, and their two small children, Jason and Stephanie. 

Before that, it was Evelyn Dick. In 1946 people lined up out the door to get a seat to hear the salacious details of the femme fatale's relationships and the dismemberment of her husband, John. She was found guilty, but the verdict was overturned on appeal. She went on trial again in 1947 for the murder of her infant son, Peter, whose body was found in a suitcase in her attic. She was again found guilty and served 11 years in prison.

On Monday, the Bosma case gets underway and jury selection begins.

Hank and Mary will be in the courtroom, as they have been probably a hundred times since Tim vanished. Sharlene will have to stay away because she is expected to testify.

There is no legal standing for victims in a murder trial. There is no lawyer representing Tim or his family. This, like all homicide cases, is the Crown vs. the accused. 

[Bosma trial: Jury selection and court attendance]

In a world where the public is entertained and enthralled by endless depictions of homicide detectives and criminal lawyers, forensic experts, amateur sleuths and rightfully and wrongfully convicted killers, it is a very real danger that as this trial proceeds over the next four months — and perhaps beyond — that Tim will become an abstraction. That he will be, somehow, less real than the flesh-and-blood players who will appear in this courtroom drama every day.

I encourage you to pay attention to this trial. To care about this trial. To remember we are lucky enough to live in a country where everyone has a right to a fair trial. I invite you to learn the evidence in this case and scrutinize our legal system. 

And I hope you will, at all times, remember Tim.

Susan Clairmont’s commentary appears regularly in The Spectator. sclairmont@thespec.com

905-526-3539 | @susanclairmont

Clairmont: As his accused killers face trial, please remember Tim Bosma

News Jan 16, 2016 by Susan Clairmont The Hamilton Spectator

Tim would be 35 now.

He would be watching his little girl blow out six birthday candles. He would be celebrating wedding anniversaries with his soulmate, Sharlene, and enjoying their dream home in Ancaster. His parents, Hank and Mary, would brag about how well their doting son turned out.

That's how it ought to have been.

Instead, on Monday, the trial of Tim Bosma's two accused killers begins. Dellen Millard, 30, and Mark Smich, 28, are charged with first-degree murder.

It is a very real danger that as this trial proceeds over the next four months — and perhaps beyond — that Tim will become an abstraction.

[The tragedy leading to the Bosma trial]

Tim disappeared on May 6, 2013 after taking two men out for a test drive in the truck he was selling. His charred remains were found on a farm owned by Millard.

Tim's abduction and murder deeply affected this community. The trial of his alleged killers is highly anticipated. Folks everywhere, it seems, are talking about it.

The last time Hamilton had a murder trial that so gripped our city, it was 1977 and Jon Rallo was in the prisoner's box. The courtroom was packed when the city hall manager was found guilty of killing his wife, Sandra, and their two small children, Jason and Stephanie. 

Before that, it was Evelyn Dick. In 1946 people lined up out the door to get a seat to hear the salacious details of the femme fatale's relationships and the dismemberment of her husband, John. She was found guilty, but the verdict was overturned on appeal. She went on trial again in 1947 for the murder of her infant son, Peter, whose body was found in a suitcase in her attic. She was again found guilty and served 11 years in prison.

On Monday, the Bosma case gets underway and jury selection begins.

Hank and Mary will be in the courtroom, as they have been probably a hundred times since Tim vanished. Sharlene will have to stay away because she is expected to testify.

There is no legal standing for victims in a murder trial. There is no lawyer representing Tim or his family. This, like all homicide cases, is the Crown vs. the accused. 

[Bosma trial: Jury selection and court attendance]

In a world where the public is entertained and enthralled by endless depictions of homicide detectives and criminal lawyers, forensic experts, amateur sleuths and rightfully and wrongfully convicted killers, it is a very real danger that as this trial proceeds over the next four months — and perhaps beyond — that Tim will become an abstraction. That he will be, somehow, less real than the flesh-and-blood players who will appear in this courtroom drama every day.

I encourage you to pay attention to this trial. To care about this trial. To remember we are lucky enough to live in a country where everyone has a right to a fair trial. I invite you to learn the evidence in this case and scrutinize our legal system. 

And I hope you will, at all times, remember Tim.

Susan Clairmont’s commentary appears regularly in The Spectator. sclairmont@thespec.com

905-526-3539 | @susanclairmont