The former girlfriend of a man convicted of killing Hamilton resident Tim Bosma pleaded guilty on Tuesday to obstructing justice in the case.
Christina Noudga was set to stand trial on the charge of accessory after the fact in the murder of Bosma, who vanished on May 6, 2013 after taking two men for a test drive in the truck he was trying to sell.
Noudga's ex-boyfriend, Dellen Millard, was convicted of first-degree murder in Bosma's death in June, along with his friend and co-accused Mark Smich.
The 24-year-old Noudga was arrested about a year after Bosma died and charged with accessory after the fact.
Her three-week trial was set to begin Tuesday, but instead Noudga pleaded guilty in a Hamilton court to the lesser charge of obstructing justice, her lawyer said.
"What is clear and accepted by everyone is that she was totally unaware that a homicide had taken place," Brian Greenspan told The Canadian Press in an interview.
Noudga was given a sentence of time served plus one day, according to a spokesman with Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General.
Noudga's lawyer said his client satisfied the requirements of the one-day portion of her sentence by stepping briefly into custody following her plea. He explained that Noudga was given credit for the four months she spent in pre-trial custody and two years house arrest.
According to an agreed statement of facts in her case, Noudga admitted to removing certain evidence, but had no idea Bosma had been murdered.
Bosma's disappearance captured the country's attention after his family's calls for his return ended with his burned remains being found more than a week later in an animal incinerator — dubbed "The Eliminator" — on Millard's farm near Waterloo, Ont.
Nearly three years later Millard and Smich stood trial, a proceeding that lasted five months, before a jury found the pair guilty.
The Crown alleged Bosma was shot shortly after taking the pair on a test drive from his rural Hamilton home.
Smich took the stand in his own defence and told court Millard "looked like a lunatic" after he shot Bosma inside the truck. In Smich's version of the story, he followed behind in another truck and helped burn Bosma's body because he was terrified of Millard.
In Millard's version of events, which came through his lawyer because he didn't take the stand, he blamed Smich for shooting and killing Bosma.
According to the agreed statement of facts in Noudga's case, she said she cleaned up evidence after Millard was arrested and charged with the theft of Bosma's truck and forcible confinement of the Hamilton father, who was still missing at the time.
She was with Millard when he drove a large trailer to his mother's house in Kleinburg, Ont., a few days after Bosma vanished. The agreed statement of facts said Bosma's truck was in the trailer.
"There is no evidence that there was a discussion between Noudga and Millard as to what was in the trailer, or why it was being taken to Millard's mother's," the statement of facts said.
On May 10, Millard's mother, Madeleine Burns, told Noudga about Millard's arrest, according to the statement of facts.
The two women got together and decided to stay at a hotel to avoid the media. Then both drove back to Burns' home "and together wiped down the trailer hitch and the door locks to remove her and Burns' fingerprints that had been left there in dropping the trailer off the night before."
"Noudga was concerned about being associated with a crime and deliberately and with forethought she wiped her prints and Madeleine's prints from the trailer. This would have had the effect of removing Millard's fingerprints from the trailer locks and hitch," the statement of facts said.
She also admitted to helping Millard move the incinerator from a barn to the bush on his farm.
"Noudga maintains that any acts which may have assisted Millard were done not knowing that Tim Bosma had been murdered," the statement of facts said. "However, her actions may have left the impression that Millard could continue to count on her."
After Noudga's plea, her lawyer said the young woman has "very good prospects" for the future.
"She's completed a bachelor science degree with honours and looks forward to a career in the healthcare profession," Greenspan said. "And at the time of her relationship with Millard, it started when she was 18 and he was 25. And she was his girlfriend between the ages of 18 and 21 and that is an important feature for what happened."