LONDON, Ont. - The trial for the man accused of murdering eight-year-old Tori Stafford will begin early in 2012.

Pretrial motions have been set for Jan. 16 in London, Ont.

Dirk Derstine, the lawyer representing Michael Rafferty, says jury selection will begin immediately following the pretrial motions.

Rafferty is charged with first-degree murder in the 2009 death of the Woodstock, Ont., girl.

Rafferty's trial was moved from Woodstock to London due to concerns that he would not get a fair trial in the town of 30,000.

Rafferty was not in court for Wednesday's proceedings.

Tori disappeared in April 2009 outside her elementary school in Woodstock in southwestern Ontario. Her body was found in June.

Rafferty's co-accused, Terri-Lynne McClintic, pleaded guilty last year to first-degree murder.