Top 10 of 2012, #2: Michael Rafferty’s guilty verdict
Published Sunday, December 30, 2012 5:26PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, December 30, 2012 6:07PM EST
From now until Dec. 31, CTV Kitchener is counting down the top 10 local stories of 2012. Catch the countdown every night on CTV News at Six.
It was a story that shocked and captivated an entire country.
On April 8, 2009, eight-year-old Victoria Stafford was abducted on her way home from school.
A massive search and investigation was launched. It was one of the most exhaustive missing-person searches in Canadian history.
Months laters, Tori’s body was found in a farmer’s field near Mount Forest after Terri-Lynne McClintic confessed her involvement in Tori’s abduction and murder.
McClintic eventually pleaded guilty in court and was sentenced to life in prison.
However the Stafford family had to wait almost three years to see Tori’s other killer brought to justice.
Michael Rafferty was charged with first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping. His trial began in March 2012.
Over the next two months the court, and Tori’s family, heard graphic details about the last hours and minutes of her life. The jury heard how McClintic lured Tori into Rafferty’s car, covered her with a coat, and then sexually assaulted and killed her.
Different versions of what happened April 8th – and why – were debated in that packed courtroom.
More than 60 witnesses took the stand and almost 200 pieces of evidence were introduced.
Inconsistencies from McClintic nearly threatened the Crown’s case, but after almost two days of deliberations the jury found Rafferty guilty of murder and sentenced him to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
He was also ordered to concurrently serve 10 years for his convictions on the other two charges.
“The verdict means that the jury has found [that] Michael Rafferty did kidnap, sexually assault, and murder Victoria Stafford,” said Crown Attorney Kevin Goudy. “Our thoughts are with Victoria’s family. I will close by simply saying that we believe that justice was done.”
Tori’s family had mixed emotions.
“Happy, excitement… but at the same time there was a sense of loss,” said her father Rodney Stafford. “Tori’s not coming home. But we got justice.”
Her mother Tara McDonald made a public plea. “I urge people not the dwell on the horrific details of her final hours, but instead think of the happy, loving, gorgeous little girl that she was and forever will be.”
The conviction gave closure not only to Tori’s family, but to the community of Woodstock as well.
Rafferty has since filed an appeal requesting a new trial.
A date has not yet been set.