Terri-Lynne McClintic told jurors in a London, Ont., court Thursday that her former boyfriend "had a very powerful role" in her life at the time that Victoria (Tori) Stafford was abducted and killed.
McClintic, 21, is serving a life sentence for the eight-year-old's death after pleading guilty to first-degree murder almost two years ago.
She has been testifying 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 in the death of the Grade 3 student.
Under cross-examination Thursday, McClintic was asked about the relationship she had with Rafferty.
McClintic said the two were merely seeing one another. However, the court has previously heard that when McClintic was arrested on an outstanding warrant shortly after Tori went missing, she listed Rafferty as her boyfriend on a prison contact form so the two could stay in touch.
Jurors heard Thursday about an occasion in which the couple once visited a pawn shop, when McClintic said Rafferty used her finger to test a ring size, saying she could be the "lucky girl" one day.
Rafferty raised his eyebrows and appeared shocked in the prisoner's box when McClintic recounted the pawn shop anecdote.
Defence lawyer Dirk Derstine asked McClintic to explain why she went along with Rafferty — if according to her testimony, he was the person who wanted to abduct a child — when the two only had a casual relationship in her mind.
"At that point in time, he had a very powerful role in my life," she said.
Derstine also pressed McClintic about the circumstances surrounding Tori's disappearance, and her reasons for holding back from police about what happened in the days that followed the abduction.
But as McClintic stated several times Thursday, she said she was unable to believe that she was involved in the girl's death so couldn't recount what happened.
McClintic sticks to claim she killed Tori
Tori vanished from her hometown of Woodstock, Ont., after leaving school on April 8, 2009.
Her remains were found three months later in a rural area near Mount Forest, Ont.
McClintic has told jurors that she is the person who used a hammer to kill Tori, testimony that is at odds with what she told police almost three years ago, when she claimed that Rafferty killed the schoolgirl.
Derstine asked McClintic what she would say a year from now, if her testimony would be any different.
But McClintic replied that her story will stay the same.
"It's taken me this long to come to terms to accept that I was capable of doing something like this," McClintic said.
And she again insisted that her current version of what happened is the truth.
"So yes, it did take me time to come to terms with that. But now I have come to terms with that and I'm sitting here today telling the truth. And it doesn't get any more real than that. My testimony wouldn't be any different from a year today than it is today," McClintic said.
McClintic admits 'history of violence'
On Thursday, Derstine also went over McClintic's criminal record, which was entered into evidence last week. The first entry included two charges of assault, which Derstine said were a result of altercations with her mother. The jury was shown a picture of McClintic's mother with a black eye.
McClintic choked her mother with her left hand as she punched with her right after the two got into a fight over McClintic's dismissal from work, Derstine said, adding McClintic's mother lost partial vision in her eye as a result.
McClintic said her mom poked her so she hit her back.
The other charge involved McClintic punching her mother in the back of the head. According to McClintic, the two got into a mutual confrontation and her mother burned her with a cigarette.
In court, Derstine listed a number of other assault charges, many the result of altercations with other inmates in youth facilities.
McClintic replied she has seen many counsellors over her issues with rage, mostly while in correctional institutions.
Derstine asked McClintic how she could later remember remarkable details of Tori's disappearance, but not of fights that she had been involved in while serving time in prison.
"I’m not denying that I have a history of violence, but I'm not violent towards children and I've never hurt a child in my life. To try to fathom and comprehend the fact that a child lost their life by my hands is something I could not comprehend," McClintic said.
McClintic stabbed man, punched officer
Derstine also pressed McClintic about entries from a journal she kept in 2007 and 2008 — well before Tori went missing from Woodstock in April 2009.
Derstine presented a page from June 2007, which was titled "Respect." The fictional entry described killing a person.
Another page, "Locked Up," described an actual incident where McClintic stabbed a person during a robbery.
Derstine asked her about the event, which resulted in her incarceration between September 2007 and July 2008.
McClintic approached two men waving a knife and demanding money or drugs. She stabbed one of them, and when police arrived she refused to drop her weapon even though police had their guns drawn. She also got into a physical altercation with the officers, punching one in the face.
In describing the event, Derstine suggested McClintic had no remorse.
McClintic said she "didn't feel certain emotions" at the time.
Derstine said McClintic had worn a blue bandana during the robbery. In court, Derstine showed a picture that she later posted on her Facebook page, in which she was also wearing a blue bandana — a decision the defence lawyer suggested was a bid by McClintic to present a violent, tough image.
The trial continues on Friday.
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