Laura Babcock Murder trial Week 5, Wednesday

Live coverage from inside the courtroom at the ongoing Laura Babcock murder trial, happening in Ontario Superior Court in downtown Toronto. Dellen Millard and Mark Smich have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. They're being tried in front of a jury.

    Hi there, we're standing by outside the courtroom at the Laura Babcock murder trial. Things are expected to get underway at 10 a.m. ET.
    The jury has arrived, and so has witness Andrew Michalski.
    ICYMI Here's what he said yesterday:

    Dellen Millard asked friend to keep tabs on Laura Babcock, jury hears

    CBC NewsOne of Dellen Millard's former friends testifies in court that he was asked to keep tabs on Laura Babcock in the months before she vanished in the summer of 2012.
    Millard begins, "Good morning Andrew."
    Michalski, "Hi Mr. Millard."
    Millard asks if Michalski has been paying attention to media reports, he says he hasn't.
    Millard, "We used to be best friends. We haven't spoken in more than four and a half years."
    Michalski, "Correct."
    Millard asks Michalski to pull up one of the statement he gave to police.
    Millard points out that Michalski was questioned in this one statement about inconsistencies in previous statements.
    Millard, "You're here to give facts, not your opinion... I'm interested in things you've actually heard, seen or actually done."
    Millard tells the court the two met in 2008 and bonded over video games.
    Millard says, "I"m a chef, I'm a helicopter pilot. I worked in the video game industry for a short period of time. I took make up artistry - specifically for Halloween, faking injuries. When someone tries to pin down my background story, they will get a number of different answers."
    Michalski answers, "yes."
    Millard puts a photo on one of four large flat screens. It shows a group of young men. Both Millard and Michalski are in it, they're standing next to a Hummer and a Jeep. 
    Millard calls it one of their "off-roading adventures." He adds, "we had a lot of fun."
    Millard points out he had six vehicles, and he let the guys drive them. But he says, Michalski was the only one he trusted to actually take them.
    Millard now hands out a booklet to the jury. There aren't electronic copies, so the public gallery can't see the photos. Millard talks about the first one - it shows a yellow Jeep.
    "That girl in the picture, that's not Christina Noudga, is it?" Millard asks.
    "No," Michalski answers.
    Millard tells the court this was the Jeep they used in the Baja race in Mexico. 
    Millard talks about this trip to Mexico. He says it's not dangerous for the drivers. Michalski agrees.
    Millard says this is where he found Pedo, his dog. "A stray that I just scooped up in my arms. He would accompany me often."
    Michalski, "Everywhere."
    Millard shows the court a photo. We see a red hood in the left corner, with a yellow sticker. There is Baja 500 written on the side mirror.
    There are two men in the background. Millard is one of them, he's talking to a border guard.
    Millard says he often had trouble at the border. 
    "We were searched very thoroughly," Millard says. "I always had issues at the border, I always got searched." 
    Michalski, "Correct."
    Millard now shows the court a text conversation, from July 29, 2012.
    It begins with Michalski asking if Millard can teach him how to fly. Millard says he'd trade services with him - Michalski could do some plumbing work, while Millard teaches him how to fly, and cover the cost of gas. 
    Michalski, "I need to fuckin build my credit back Im gonna get royally fucked.... let's build a bike first."
    Michalski is in Winnipeg at this point, where he was working as a plumber.
    Michalski then texts about a girl, asking for advice. 
    Michalski doesn't remember which girl.
    Millard writes, "take a deep breath. hit reset on your emotions bro. think about today and tomorrow, not yesterday." 
    At the same time, they talk about Veld, a music festival. 
    Millard later writes - about the girl - "girls will test you always, sometimes they bitch, sometimes they apologize."
    Millard tells the court he often offered this kind of advice to friends.
    Millard continues to go through this text conversation - they talk about girls. Christina Noudga, and a woman named Jen. 
    MIchalski, "You just wanna have good sex... Merry (his spelling) a stripper!"
    Millard says, "You're talking about my relationships with women - just chasing girls around for sex?"
    Michalski, "Yes."
    Justice Michael Code interrupts, "I'm having a real hard time seeing where this is all going. This is of no relevance to this trial. Maybe you can try and get to the point?"
    Millard starts to speak. Code cuts him off, "Get to the point."
    Millard carries on with this text conversation. 
    Justice Michael Code has taken off his glasses, and rubs his eyes. 
    Millard changes topics now. He pulls up a photo of his father's firearms license and asks "Is this a photograph of my father?" 
    Michalski says, "Yes it is."
    Millard hands out another booklet to the jury - again no electronic copies so I can't see them myself, but Millard talks through them with the witness.
    There is a photo of the hangar, Millard says "We had a big party to celebrate your birthday."
    Another is of a helicopter, Millard says "I took you up in that, for a couple of joy rides?"
    Millard changes topics now to substances use: drinking, marijuana, vaping, and some cocaine -- on a handful of occasions, he says.
    "Did I lose control or get angry?" Millard asks. Michalski says he did not.
    Millard says towards the end of their friendship, he stopped drinking altogether. Michalski agrees. At the same time, Michalski stopped smoking marijuana. 

    Millard now pulls up a screen capture that seems to show scores for a video game. 
    Michalski used the nickname, "Stealth Missions."
    Millard was "Zygocyte... I was a team player, right?"
    Smich isn't on the score list. 
    Millard says, "Smich wouldn't play with us."
    Millard clarifies the scores are for the game Halo.
    Millard shows a couple of photos. The first is Michalski with his then girlfriend, in front of a helicopter.
    Millard tells the court, "I took her up for a ride, for her birthday."
    Next photo, Millard and another woman, named Jamie.
    Justice Michael Code asks him to repeat her name.
    Millard answers, "It's not Christina Noudga, who I was dating at the time."
    Code answers, "I got the point Mr. Millard, just trying to keep track."
    Millard shows more photos - moving a mattress in one of the bedrooms in his Etobicoke, Ont. home, then moving a mattress down the stairs into the basement.
    Another of Millard and Michalski, and two girls, playing some sort of video game. 
    Millard, "We were both having sexual relationships with these girls?"
    Michalski answers, "Correct."
    Millard shows the court a screen capture of another text conversation - I can't make out the date, it's from a Samsung phone. 
    Millard suggests Michalski can have sex with Christina Noudga.
    Michalski, "That's ok man she's yours."
    Millard, "yea in the summer will be better. she needs to get into better shape." 
    Millard pulls up another screen capture - one we saw in court yesterday:
    Court Exhibit. Michalski sent this to Millard.
    Millard points out Michalski brought up "bad blood" in the witness box yesterday - between Millard, Babcock and Noudga.
    "I never said, I'm going to go murder this girl, did I?" Millard asks.
    "No," Michalski asks.
    When they met up in August that year, Millard says, "I never said, I killed that girl, or I took care of that girl, did I?"
    Michalski repeats no.
    Millard points out when Michalski returned from working in Winnipeg, in September, Michalski moved into Millard's home.
    Millard, "We were such close friends, I could've brought that up if I wanted, but I didn't?"
    Michalski, "You didn't."
    Millard brings up more text messages between himself and Michalski. 
    This is from June 26, 2012.
    Millard writes Michalski about Christina Noudga and that he "broke it off with her a few weeks ago...Caught her texting other guys."
    Millard asks Michalski, "Was it your understanding there were a number of girls I would see and have relationships with?"
    Michalski, "Yes."
    Millard now shows the court text messages between Michalski and Babcock. 
    We saw this message in court yesterday.
    Babcock wrote: 

    ya dells def not a fan of me. He told me he told xtina when he slept with me before. Erg these ppl cause do much unwanted drama for me. and bring me into it.

    Millard shows more of the conversation now.

    Michalski wrote, "Lolz I told you that christina knew."

    Babcock: "She did know?"

    Michalski: "A long time ago."


    Millard talks about the night he met Babcock. He says he didn't get her number right away.
    "We drove to a Pizza Pizza, to get her number."
    Justice Michael Code asks when this was. Michalski doesn't remember. Millard answers 2009.
    Justice Michael Code says it's not for Millard to give evidence, he needs to ask the witness. He then tells Millard to move on, it's a  "minor minor detail."
    Millard goes on, "Laura and I had a brief relationship, a couple of weeks, maybe a month."
    Michalski, "Roughly"
    Millard says "the relationship was sexual in nature... early in our friendship, sometime in 2008-2009... Despite that I'd stay friends with Laura. She'd show up at Maple Gate for parties. Not as often as some people."
    Millard asks if it's Michalski's opinion that Millard was still having sex with Babcock in the spring/summer in 2012.
    "It is." He explains he thought that because they would hang out together.
    Michalski says Babcock never told him that directly.
    Millard, "You assumed it... You never saw Laura and I kissing or having sex?"
    Michalski answers, "Never."
    Millard, "It's all an assumption based on the fact that I have a lot of girlfriends?"
    Michalski answers, "Correct."
    Millard shows more photos of him and Michalski, more of them posing next to vehicles.
    Now he shows one of Smich, in Millard's basement. Michalski agrees that's Smich.
    Now we see Michalski with several injuries, Millard explains it was Halloween make up - we heard earlier he took a course in make up artistry. 
    A photo of two vehicles in a driveway. "It's a Jeep I bought for Jennifer. I never bought a vehicle for Christina. Do you recall any gifts I bought for Christina?"
    Michalski answers, "No."
    Millard asks for the morning recess to review his notes. He thinks he's done.
    We're back in 20 minutes.
    Millard says he has a few points left to cover. 
    He brings up text messages from June 13, 2012. Michalski is talking about his girlfriend at the time, Danica.
    Millard reads what Michalski wrote, "I wanna fuck the shit out of her steady all weekend."
    Justice Michael Code cuts him off and says it's unnecessary to read it out loud, and repeats a phrase he's said several times today, "Get to the point."
    Millard says it is unfortunate language, but it shows how they often talked about women. 
    Millard, "You and I were best friends. We worked together well... Mr. Smich and I didn't get along well. But I supported him, I protected him?"
    Michalski answers, "Yes."
    Millard now pulls up a text message he sent to Michalski, from April 2012, which we saw yesterday in court.
    Millard: "if you could keep me updated on where Laura goes out to, thatd be of use to me."
    Millard says now, "It was always apparent Laura had a crush on me."
    Millard, "Andrew did I ever tell you I was trying to keep Laura and Christina from bumping into each other?"
    Michalski, "No."
    Millard says the two women often went out to the same bars.
    Millard has now concluded his questions.
    Thomas Dungey, Mark Smich's lawyer is up. He says he has one question.
    "Mr. Millard didn't like people smoking in the house. Smoking marijuana was fine, but if you wanted to smoke cigarettes, you had to go outside the pool?"
    Michalski answers, "Yes."
    And with that, Dungey is done. I'm not quite sure what he's alluding to, but perhaps it will come clear later in the trial. We haven't heard this before.
    Crown Ken Lockhart is back for re-examination.
    "If Millard told you, 'I killed Laura,' what would you have done?"
    Michalski, "I don't know."
    Lockhart, "You would've called police?"
    Michalski, "Of course." 
    Michalski is done.
    Crown Jill Cameron reads in an agreed statement of fact:
    A 32-calibre revolver was found at Maple Gate in late 2012 and was fully functional... Mr. Millard's DNA was found on the grip."
    A scientist who studied the gun couldn't tell when the DNA got there, but said "DNA can be transferred from one person to an item and then onto another item."
    Crown Cameron shows the jury two photos of the gun.
    The jury has been excused for a moment before the next witness is brought in. I can blog once they're back.
    We're back.
    Crown Jill Cameron calls the next witness, Matthew Ward-Jackson. He wears an Adidas track suit, and his face is covered in tattoos.
    Cameron takes him through his lengthy criminal record, mostly for weapon charges.
    Cameron says she's never met him but worked on cases involving him since 2015.
    "It's been a rough couple of years for me," he says.
    Ward-Jackson tells the court he's here against his will.
    Cameron explains that he's been offered no deal for his testimony today.
    Ward-Jackson says he went to elementary school with Smich.
    Cameron directs him to 2012. 
    Ward-Jackson hung out with his sister, he says, in Oakville.
    He says he only saw Smich "coming and going" but they didn't talk.
    Ward-Jackson points out "Dell Millard."
    He knows him through "the occasional run in."
    He says they were introduced through "their mutual appreciation of vehicles."
    Ward-Jackson noticed Millard's car in a parking lot and went over to compliment it. 
    In 2012, Ward-Jackson says he frequented an apartment near Royal York and Dundas - Millard visited him there, once. Smich never went there. 
    Cameron points out a number of phone numbers, but Ward-Jackson can't remember if they are his. His nickname at the time, he says, was Ish.
    Cameron asks, "Isho?"
    Ward-Jackson says "Isho is a group." He was in the group.
    "An uneducated person may have called me Isho," he explains. "Someone who is not familiar with the lingo of our group."
    Cameron asks about street language.
    She asks, what does "tools" mean?
    He says it can mean firearms.
    She then asks, "what about domes?"
    He doesn't know, he could guess.
    Crown Cameron pulls up text messages to refresh his memory.
    The text conversation is from June 13, 2012.
    Ward-Jackson doesn't recognize the numbers. There are no names associated with them. He doesn't know if the messages are to or from him -- or him period.
    "I don't understand what's going on here."
    Cameron says she's asking if he recognizes the numbers or the conversations. He doesn't.
    Another conversation, July 1, 2012.
    The first message: ".32 its a really nice nice compact piece im sure ud like it."
    Ward-Jackson says he arranged the sale of a firearm to who he believed was Millard or somebody else, he says, he can't be sure "who was on the other end of the phone."
    Cameron shows a photo of the gun we saw earlier.
    Ward-Jackson says, "I can assume it went to Millard."
    He didn't meet Millard.
    He says two women "Shorty and Rabbit" met up with Millard to do the deal. He says he doesn't know their real names. He says it happened at the Dundas address. 
    He doesn't recall the total cost of the gun, but his cut was $800.
    Cameron asks, "You have a gun selling business?"
    Ward-Jackson, "No, I saw an opportunity to make some money."
    He adds the gun "was floating around the neighbourhood so I facilitated the transaction." 
    Ward-Jackson says he never held the gun, it was dropped at the apartment, he then had the two women, this Shorty and Rabbit, help out on the other end of the deal. 
    He testifies the gun was in a bag. 
    Crown Jill Cameron says this is taking far longer than she'd like and asks for the lunch break.
    We're back at 2:30 p.m. ET
    The jury is back, and Ward-Jackson is back in the witness box facing questioning from Crown Jill Cameron.
    She begins by asking him where he lives, he describes a couple of addresses. 
    She brings up the text messages we saw earlier:
    ".32 but its a really nice nice compact piece I'm sure u'd like it."
    Ward-Jackson says it he wrote the above message, or had his "butler" - a friend he paid to help him out - do it.
    Cameron re-asks, who did he sell the gun to?
    Ward-Jackson "I assume it went to Mr. Millard."
    "He showed interest in it, but I'm not sure if it was for him or a third party," he said.
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