Crime ex­pert says residue on pis­tol un­der­mines Mil­lard sui­cide the­ory

Toronto Sun - - NEWS - MICHELE MAN­DEL

At his third mur­der trial, con­victed killer Dellen Mil­lard leans in from the pris­oner’s box, closely fol­low­ing the tes­ti­mony of a crime scene re­con­struc­tion ex­pert who could be his un­do­ing.

Un­like the bungling po­lice of­fi­cers who first came on the scene and bought the sui­cide story, Det.-Const. Grant Suther­land doesn’t be­lieve the gun­shot residue in­di­cates that Mil­lard’s father shot him­self on Nov. 29, 2012.

From the way Wayne Mil­lard was po­si­tioned on his blood-soaked bed, it would have taken a con­tor­tion­ist to hold the grip of the .32 cal­i­bre Smith and Wes­son re­volver prac­ti­cally up­side down to shoot him­self in the left eye. “I don’t be­lieve that he did,” Suther­land told Crown at­tor­ney Jill Cameron of the sui­cide the­ory. If he didn’t shoot him­self, then some­one else pulled the trig­ger. And prose­cu­tors ar­gue that per­son is his own son, which would make the mur­derer of

Tim Bosma and Laura Bab­cock a triple killer. Mil­lard, 32, has pleaded not guilty in the judge-alone trial be­fore Jus­tice Mau­reen Forestell. He’s cur­rently serv­ing two con­sec­u­tive life sen­tences. In 2014, a year af­ter Mil­lard’s ar­rest for Bosma’s mur­der, Suther­land was called in by Toronto homi­cide de­tec­tives to re­visit the sui­cide of the sus­pect’s father. Asked to re­view the scene pho­tos and au­topsy re­port, the ex­pert with the firearms anal­y­sis and in­ves­ti­ga­tion unit said he no­ticed early on that there was some­thing about the gun­shot residue stain­ing on the pil­low that didn’t make sense.

Mil­lard told po­lice he found his 71-year-old father dead in the fam­ily’s Etobicoke home. The wealthy avi­a­tion scion was ly­ing on his left side, his right hand tucked un­der his face, his left arm out­stretched. The gun was found nearby on the floor.

Court has heard the younger Mil­lard had pur­chased the Smith and Wes­son sev­eral months ear­lier from gun dealer Matthew Ward Jackson and that his DNA was found on its grip.

Suther­land opened the ev­i­dence box and held up the small wood-han­dled re­volver, ex­plain­ing how the bul­lets dis­charge from the six-cham­ber cylin­der and the blow back soot they leave be­hind.

If his father had shot him­self with his left hand, as the orig­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tors had con­cluded, Suther­land said he would have ex­pected to see the dark stain on the op­po­site side of the pil­low from where it was. There also would have been gun­shot residue on the se­nior Mil­lard’s left hand

— but there was none.

At the Ontario Po­lice Col­lege in Novem­ber 2015, Suther­land ran a se­ries of video­taped test fires to see what po­si­tion it would take to end up with the same pat­tern of gun­shot residue found on the dead man’s pil­low. He used the same re­volver found at the scene and a sty­ro­foam head and man­nequin arms to try to repli­cate Mil­lard’s po­si­tion when the muz­zle had been placed at or very close to his left eye.

“Very few sui­cides are by gun­shot to the eye,” Suther­land noted be­fore de­fence lawyer Ravin Pil­lay stood to ob­ject. Pil­lay is ex­pected to ar­gue that none of this ev­i­dence should be con­sid­ered by the judge.

The po­si­tion of the re­volver that most closely re­sulted in the same gun­shot residue pat­tern had the gun on its left side, the bar­rel point­ing to­ward the top of the pil­low, he tes­ti­fied. It wasn’t im­pos­si­ble for Mil­lard’s dad to have held it like that in his left hand, but it would be up­side down, “very, very dif­fi­cult” and “very un­likely.”

The prose­cu­tor asked him to demon­strate.

By the end, the of­fi­cer looked like a pret­zel — and the Crown at­tor­ney’s point had been made.

Mil­lard’s lawyer is set to cross-ex­am­ine Suther­land on Fri­day.



A gun found at Wayne Mil­lard’s house.

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