NEWS

McClintic wrote violent letters as teen inmate

03/21/2012 07:31 EDT | Updated 05/21/2012 05:12 EDT

Jurors in a London, Ont., courtroom watched video Wednesday of Terri-Lynne McClintic implicating her former boyfriend in the killing of an Ontario schoolgirl, while also getting a glimpse of the violent tendencies she displayed while in jail as a teenager.

McClintic, 21, is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to the first-degree murder of Victoria (Tori) Stafford.

Stafford is the Grade 3 student whose disappearance from Woodstock, Ont., on April 8, 2009, led to a massive police investigation. Her remains were found three months after she went missing in a rural area near Mount Forest, Ont.

Wednesday marked McClintic’s fourth day of testimony at the trial of her former boyfriend, Michael Thomas Rafferty, 31, who has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and abduction.

The Crown wrapped up its questioning of McClintic on Wednesday afternoon, then cross-examination by defence lawyer Dirk Derstine began.

Derstine confronted McClintic with a series of letters she wrote to a friend while in jail between September 2007 and the following summer, months before she met Tori and lured the eight-year-old away as she walked home from school.

The letters contained references to gangs, in-custody drug use and numerous statements in which McClintic expressed a desire to kill and torture others — including people who were due to testify against her and people who had been "mouthing off" in jail.

McClintic was ordered to see a medical professional after she wrote a letter in May 2008 that described her desire to "take the first person I see" and murder them.

"I am fed up with this place. I want to scrap," McClintic wrote in another. "I just want to bounce and go on a killing spree."

The letters were graphic, presenting disturbing scenarios in which McClintic would torture her perceived enemies in a number of ways, and many in the courtroom appeared uncomfortable.

McClintic tried to distance herself from the letters, saying she felt only anger and rage at the time and that she was younger then. She also said she couldn't recall the specifics of each situation.

However, McClintic agreed with Derstine that there appeared to be a theme in her letters: That she said she was willing to do terrible things to those who did her wrong as well as inflicting harm to their families.

He also said many of the letters routinely suggest she was prepared to do actual violence and that her vows of retribution were more than mere talk.

McClintic admitted to assaulting her mother twice and having confrontations with other inmates on "several occasions." She told the court she adopted a gang persona while behind bars.

Judge allows McClintic's police statement as evidence

Earlier Wednesday, jurors were shown portions of a videotaped statement McClintic gave to police on May 24, 2009, just weeks after Tori vanished.

In the video, McClintic tells OPP Det. Sgt. Jim Smyth that it was Rafferty who killed Tori, not herself — the opposite of what she has testified in court.

On Wednesday, Judge Thomas Heeney told jurors that the videotaped statement will now be part of the evidence that can be used to determine the facts in the present trial.

Previously, the judge had said the jury could only use the video statement to determine the credibility of McClintic as a witness.

Heeney said the jury can accept all, some or none of McClintic's statement, just as they can with her previous testimony. However, Heeney noted that the statement is not sworn testimony, but instead is an interview with police.

At one point during the statement, McClintic tells Smyth that Tori pleaded for help before she was killed.

According to McClintic, the young girl cried out to her: "T, make him stop," as Tori was allegedly sexually assaulted by Rafferty.

McClintic also tells the OPP officer that she saw Rafferty kick Tori more than once before he used a hammer to kill her.

The two then placed the body on the edge of the rock pile, McClintic tells Smyth in the video.

As the video of McClintic and the officer was played in court, Tori's mother, Tara McDonald, walked out of the courtroom. She returned later in the morning.

The trial continues in London on Thursday.

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