TORONTO – A witness at a murder trial says he sold one of the accused a gun days before a young Toronto woman vanished.
Matthew Ward-Jackson says he pleaded guilty to the gun transaction with Dellen Millard that took place in early July 2012.
The Crown alleges Millard and Mark Smich killed Laura Babcock because she became the odd woman out in a love triangle with Millard and his girlfriend.
The prosecution contends the pair burned her body in a commercial animal incinerator that was later found on Millard’s farm near Waterloo, Ont.
Millard, 32, of Toronto, and Smich, 30, of Oakville, Ont., have both pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the presumed death of Babcock, 23.
Ward-Jackson could not recall many details about the gun sale and was often evasive about the numerous phone calls and text messages with Millard in July 2012.
Babcock disappeared on July 3, 2012. No one has heard from her since that summer and her body has not been found.
Ward-Jackson, who also goes by his rapper name Ish, told court Wednesday that Millard showed interest in a gun that had come into his possession.
He later changed his testimony and said he figured Millard would want a gun because he was a “manly man, interested in cars, girls, maybe firearms.”
The Crown walked Ward-Jackson through a series of text messages police recovered from Millard’s phone.
One discussed a .32-calibre gun, that Ward-Jackson described in a text to Millard sent at 8:14 p.m. on July 1, 2012, as “a really nice nice compact piece.”
“Did you write that text?” asked Crown attorney Jill Cameron.
“Me or my butler,” Ward-Jackson said.
“You had a butler?” Cameron asked.
“Yup. Somebody that I paid to help me manage my life … but I did arrange this deal,” he said.
Ward-Jackson said the gun was empty when he arranged the deal with Millard. He said he didn’t provide Millard any ammunition.
The Crown asked Ward-Jackson repeatedly if he could recall the numerous calls and text messages that phone records showed — the contents of most were not recovered.
“I truthfully don’t recall many of them, this is several years ago and I’ve been incarcerated for four years,” Ward-Jackson said.
He told court he was testifying against his will. The Crown continued to press him on the gun deal.
“Did you ever ask why he needed a gun?” Cameron asked.
“No, it’s none of my business, I have no right to ask him that,” Ward-Jackson said.
Court also heard about an agreed statement of fact that a .32-calibre gun was recovered at Millard’s home with his DNA on the handle.
The trial continues Thursday.