Loading articles...

Closing arguments done in Michael Rafferty murder trial

After months of testimony and submissions, the Crown has finished its closing arguments in the Michael Rafferty murder trial.

The judge will begin his charge to the jury Thursday morning.

Court heard Wednesday that on its own, the evidence of drug-addled, violent, lying Terri-Lynne McClintic may not be enough to convince the jury her boyfriend is guilty of killing Victoria (Tori) Stafford, but there are dozens of independently verified facts to rely on..

There is no question McClintic’s testimony was flawed, the Crown told the jury at Michael Rafferty’s trial, but there are at least 25 pieces of other evidence that confirm her story.

McClintic, who had already pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in eight-year-old Tori’s death, testified that Rafferty urged her to kidnap a young girl for him then sexually assaulted the child.

McClintic testified that she then snapped and killed Tori, but Crown attorney Kevin Gowdey told the jury to consider what McClintic told police all along leading up to the trial — that Rafferty killed the girl.

In his closing arguments, Gowdey suggested McClintic’s version of events in which she flew into a rage at seeing Rafferty rape Tori was less credible.

But it doesn’t matter, he said, whether Rafferty killed Tori or McClintic did. They both worked together and, Gowdey suggested, they both knew all along that Tori would never be returned to her home in Woodstock, Ont.

Rafferty’s lawyer suggested McClintic masterminded the whole murder scheme, that there was no sexual assault, and that Rafferty was a mere bystander to his twisted girlfriend’s plot.

Except for the change in her story about who killed Tori, McClintic has otherwise maintained the same version of events since she confessed in May 2009.

“If you’re making all this up against Mr. Rafferty, the horrified, unsuspecting witness, why would she choose to make up details like these that all were independently confirmed?” Gowdey asked the jury.

He rattled off a list of 25 things he said were independently confirmed through surveillance video, receipts and other evidence.

Rafferty, 31, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping.

Gowdey told the jury there are several ways a person can be found guilty of first-degree murder, including killing someone in the course of a kidnapping or helping someone else commit a murder.

As he did during part of Gowdey’s closing address Tuesday, Rafferty muttered to himself, appearing to disagree with the Crown’s arguments.

After the killing, Rafferty took deliberate steps to cover his tracks and lied to police, Gowdey said. When Rafferty was first interviewed by police on May 15 after his name came up as an associate of McClintic’s, he told them he barely knew her.

He attempted to throw police off his trail by repeating rumours about Tori’s mother, though he could have just as easily said a “raging homicidal maniac” was responsible and pointed police to Tori’s body, Gowdey said.

One of Rafferty’s most telling actions after April 8 was buying hair dye for McClintic once surveillance video was released showing her leading Tori away from school, Gowdey said.

“Why would a horrified witness who was an innocent dupe of Ms. McClintic take the steps to make the real killer change her appearance?” he said.

CityNews’ Francis D’Souza is in London, Ont., for the trial. Follow his updates @cityfrancis. Read full trial coverage here.