File illustration by THE CANADIAN PRESS Crown attorney Ken Lockhart, right, questions retired OPP Det. Sgt. Jim Falconer, second from right, as photos are displayed and Justice Michael Code, centre top, Dellen Millard, front, and Mark Smich, red checkered shirt, look on in this artist’s sketch from court in Toronto.

Photo of bones burning in incinerator focus of testimony in Babcock murder trial

TORONTO — A photograph of what appears to be bones burning inside an animal incinerator was the focus of testimony Tuesday in the trial of two men accused of killing a young Toronto woman whose body has not been found.

Scott Rufolo, an archeologist with the Canadian Museum of Nature, testified on behalf of the defence that he believes the objects in the photo found on Dellen Millard’s phone are animal bones.

Under cross-examination from Crown lawyer Jill Cameron, however, Rufolo waffled.

“It’s possible it could be a human radius,” he said, describing one of the forearm bones.

The Crown contends Millard, 32, of Toronto, and Mark Smich, 30, of Oakville, Ont., killed 23-year-old Laura Babcock in July 2012 because she became the odd woman out in a love triangle with Millard and his girlfriend.

They allege the pair burned Babcock in an animal incinerator, named The Eliminator, at Millard’s aircraft hangar near Waterloo, Ont.

Both men have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

Rufolo told court earlier on Tuesday that he believed the photo shows an upper arm bone and shin bone of a deer or goat.

“It should also be stated that I’m offering an opinion based on a poor quality image that is based on patterns of shadow and light,” he said under questioning from Millard, who’s representing himself.

“What I see there is my opinion with what you’d expect with a deer or other animal of related size and doesn’t match easily with human bones, if I have accurately judged the photograph.”

The jury has seen the photo, taken on July 23, 2012, on several occasions.

Millard had Rufolo zoom in close on the photo and go over what he could see in painstaking detail. Babcock’s mother, Linda, winced, closed her eyes and shook her head often throughout the testimony.

Court heard this was Rufolo’s first time giving an expert opinion in court and he did not realize he was going to testify until recently. He said his report was rather casual, did not include precise measurements and he did not bring his notes because of the last-minute notice he was given.

He wrote down his notes on a hotel notepad Monday night, he said.

Millard tried to recover on re-examination, but was cautioned by the judge.

“You’re repeating your questions, now stop it. That’s an order,” Justice Michael Code said.

“Your honour I apologize, this is my first time doing this,” Millard said.

Tracy Rogers, a forensic anthropologist who is an expert in identifying human remains and the effects of burning on human bones, has previously testified the objects in the image appear to be bones from a human arm.

“Based on the shape comparison, one is similar overall to the human humerus, the upper arm bone,” Rogers said. “One looks similar in overall shape and size to a human radius, the end close to the wrist.”

Rogers also could not be certain because she said she was only able to analyse a poor quality photograph.

Babcock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

COVID-19 scare sees Latvia-bound troops turn around, return to Canada

Those on board face another 14 days in isolation

2 dead, 8 hurt in South Carolina nightclub shooting

Police are searching for two suspects

Ponoka RCMP lay charges following home invasion

33-year-old man who arrived on bicycle is in custody

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

P.E.I. reports three new COVID-19 cases, including one seniors’ residence employee

CHARLOTETOWN, P.E.I. — Prince Edward Island reported new COVID-19 cases for the… Continue reading

Even pandemic can’t spoil July

July. Finally. It’s seems like the last three weird months have taken… Continue reading

‘You have to show up:’ NDP MP questions virtual attendance of Alberta Tories

NDP MP McPherson says she’s disappointed Tory MPs haven’t been participating in virtual meetings

Flood warning, mandatory evacuation for people in remote Alberta hamlet

A flood warning has been issued for the rain-swollen Smoky River near the Hamlet of Watino

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, Amnesty, sex worker advocates say

‘We need to make sure the existing laws on the books aren’t enforced’

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $25 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $25 million jackpot… Continue reading

At Mount Rushmore, Trump digs deeper into nation’s divisions

MOUNT RUSHMORE NATIONAL MEMORIAL, S.D. — At the foot of Mount Rushmore… Continue reading

Most Read