McClintic planned Tori's abduction, lawyer suggests

WARNING: Contains disturbing content. Michael Thomas Rafferty's lawyer suggested in a London, Ont., court Friday that his client didn't know what was in store when Terri-Lynne McClintic walked up to his car with Victoria (Tori) Stafford in tow.

WARNING: Contains disturbing content

Terri-Lynne McClintic has been the Crown's key witness in the trial of Michael Rafferty. (Geoff Robins/Canadian Press)

The lawyer for Michael Thomas Rafferty's suggested in court Friday that his client didn't know what was in store when Terri-Lynne McClintic walked up to his car with Victoria (Tori) Stafford in tow.

Tori, 8, went missing after leaving her school in Woodstock, Ont., on April 8, 2009. The Grade 3 student's remains were found three months later in a rural area near Mount Forest, Ont.

McClintic, 21, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and is serving a life sentence in the 2009 death of the schoolgirl. Rafferty, 31, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and abduction.

In a London, Ont., court on Friday, defence lawyer Dirk Derstine attacked the testimony McClintic gave in court over the past two weeks, in which she alleged Rafferty pushed her to abduct Tori from her school.

Derstine suggested that McClintic was the driving force behind the abduction and subsequent killing, pointing out she bought the "murder tools" at the Home Depot and was the person who walked with Tori when she left her school.

"Largely what we have is your word of who was the engine in this case — who made it all happen," Derstine said.

McClintic agreed, but reiterated her prior testimony that she had been given instructions by Rafferty.

Derstine suggested to McClintic it was she who brought Tori to the car in a friendly manner and Rafferty thought nothing of it; that later on she said the girl had been abducted for a drug debt and offered her to Rafferty "sexually."

Rural area

The defence lawyer further suggested that when Rafferty was uninterested, McClintic directed him to drive to a rural area and told him to walk away from the vehicle because Tori was afraid of him.

Derstine said it was McClintic who killed the girl, with Rafferty returning horrified but offering to help clean up the crime. McClintic said that was not the case.

"Your characterization of him as being the driving force behind this girl’s death was a lie and that it was you," Derstine said.

McClintic disagreed with all of the suggestions Derstine made.

Jurors also heard Friday that Rafferty wasn't interviewed by police until May 15, 2009, when they were still investigating Tori's disappearance, just days before McClintic told them the Woodstock girl was dead.

OPP Det. Const. Colin Darmon, the ninth witness called to testify at Rafferty's trial, said police received more than 5,000 tips in the case, which involved investigating many persons of interest.

Terri-Lynne McClintic told jurors that to the best of her knowledge, Rafferty did not know Tori's mother, Tara McDonald, foreground, or her partner, James Goris, background. (Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)

McClintic's name came up frequently during the investigation, Darmon said. She was described as an associate of Tori's mother, Tara McDonald, and her partner, James Goris.

Darmon said he was directed toward Rafferty after meeting with one of McClintic's neighbours.

On Friday afternoon, jurors heard an audio recording of the interview Rafferty gave to police at his home. In the interview, Rafferty told police he was aware of Tori's disappearance, but didn't know much.

He admitted knowing McClintic, but said they were only friends and had not been intimate. But he said he was helping her mother because McClintic was in jail.

The officers decided to return the next day to take a photo of Rafferty's car, similar to one seen on a surveillance video captured near Tori's grade school on the day she disappeared.

However, the car was not in the driveway when police returned to Rafferty's home and it could not be located over the course of the following weekend.

Four days after the May 15 interview, McClintic told police about her involvement in the disappearance of Tori and implicated Rafferty in her death.

Under cross-examination, Darmon said Rafferty had no criminal record when his name was brought to the attention of the police around the time of Tori's disappearance.

More details about McClintic's past

Before Derstine ended his cross-examination of McClintic, jurors heard about another incident from her troubled past: As a child she put a dog in a microwave, but made up a story that the animal had been injured by another neighbourhood dog and had to be put down.

Michael Rafferty is seen in a police cruiser after leaving court on March 14. (Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)

People accepted the story because no one could believe that McClintic "could be so cruel to such an innocent," Derstine said.

The defence lawyer also played clips of violent-themed rap songs that McClintic once kept on her iPod, music the young woman admitted she listened to when angry. The songs were by a "death rapper" known as Necro, the artist that McClintic once told police she was listening to on the day that Tori was abducted.

On Friday, McClintic denied she was listening to Necro when she lured Tori away on her walk home from school.

With files from The Canadian Press