Rafferty interrogation video released as jury deliberates
Published Thursday, May 10, 2012 10:19PM EDT
The dark world of accused murderer Michael Rafferty came into focus on Thursday, as jurors were tasked with delivering a verdict in the kidnapping, rape and murder of Tori Stafford.
Since the jury was sequestered and began weighing Rafferty's fate, many disturbing details about the investigation into Tori's death were publically revealed for the first time, along with an interrogation video.
Over the course of the trial, what the jury did not hear was that when Rafferty was arrested outside a Woodstock, Ont., health club in May 2009, police seized his car and inside it was his BlackBerry as well as a laptop.
Police eventually got a warrant to search the Honda Civic, but a separate warrant for the electronics was never requested.
This was something the judge called a "risk."
During a pre-trial hearing, Justice Thomas Heeney threw out any evidence found on the computer and phone, noting that the police conduct was not "deliberate, brazen, or flagrant" but "careless."
Police found an Internet search history on Rafferty's laptop showing that it was used to make several queries about "underage rape" in the months before Tori was abducted and killed.
A forensic search also showed that the movie "Karla," a re-telling of the school-girl murders committed by Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka in the early 1990s, was also accessed on the laptop.
Another laptop hard drive, found in a plastic bag behind a dresser in Rafferty's Woodstock home, contained child pornography. But the judge ruled it "inadmissible" as well because there wasn't a proper search warrant.
Rafferty's lawyer agreed with the decision saying that "would fundamentally alter the trial."
Jurors also never saw the police interrogation video of Rafferty because the judge thought it would be prejudicial.
The video shows Rafferty the month after Tori disappeared. He sits in the corner of a room, wrapped in a yellow blanket, occasionally crying when officers are outside.
He says again and again that he didn't kill anyone.
"I didn't do anything," he tells Det. Staff Sgt. Chris Loam of the Ontario Provincial Police.
"Well, that's not entirely true," Loam says.
"That is entirely true that I didn't do anything," Rafferty says.
The Crown has maintained that Rafferty and Terri-Lynne McClintic, his former girlfriend, kidnapped Tori outside her school, then drove her to an isolated area where she was raped, then killed with a hammer.
But McClintic's evidence has been conflicting.
While McClintic had said all along it was Rafferty who struck the death blow against Tori, she changed her story on the witness stand to say that she actually killed the little girl in a homicidal rage triggered by memories of her own abuse as a child.
She also testified that she had once told Rafferty she had less to lose than him, and would take the fall if they got caught.
On Wednesday during his closing arguments, lead Crown prosecutor Kevin Gowdey told the jury McClintic and Rafferty were a "terrible team" and a "murderous duo." He urged the jurors to find Rafferty guilty, regardless of whom they thought dealt the deadly blows.
Rodney Stafford, the young girl's father who was absent from the trial earlier this week, showed little sympathy towards the accused.
"I hope he fries, to be honest," Stafford told reporters earlier on Thursday.
"No child deserves what Victoria went through in the last three hours of her life and that was the big thing that got me over the course of the last couple of days. … reliving those last three hours of Victoria's life. She went through pain, torture, fear. Indescribable fears…and that was what was eating me up over the last three days."
The Crown wrapped up closing arguments on Wednesday, leaving only Judge Heeney's lengthy instruction.
Rafferty, 31, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping.
The jury deliberated until about 8:30 p.m. before they broke for the day. They are set to meet again Friday morning.
CTV's John Vennavally-Rao said the judge cautioned the jury that they should not get caught up in the emotions of what they saw during the trial despite the graphic nature of the evidence.
"The judge asked the jury to just look at the evidence here and what was presented here," he told CTV News. "The onus is on the Crown to prove Michael Rafferty is guilty here without any sort of reasonable doubt and to disregard anything that they saw in the media and any sort of public opinion that they felt was put here."
McClintic has already pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Tori's death and was one of the key witnesses in Rafferty's trial.