Michael Rafferty Trial: Trial Hears About Charity Spitzig, Escort Dating, Giving Cash To Suspect

Posted: 04/20/2012 11:56 am Updated: 04/20/2012 5:57 pm

LONDON, Ont. - The major, if not sole, source of income for the man accused of killing eight-year-old Victoria Stafford was the thousands of dollars one of his many girlfriends earned working as an escort, court heard Friday.

WARNING: Graphic details from this court case may disturb some readers.

Michael Rafferty was dating at least 15 women through the spring of 2009. Some just went on one or two dates with him then decided they weren't interested, but to others he was their exclusive boyfriend, they have testified.

Charity Spitzig, a 26-year-old mother of four, testified Friday that she started dating Rafferty in April 2008, and that she was thinking of him as marriage material, wanting to include him in her family. Finances were a struggle, she said, so at one point they decided she should become an escort.

"From then on in any money I was making would go directly to him," she testified at his first-degree murder trial.

Spitzig would deposit the money directly into Rafferty's bank account, records show, for a total of $16,835 from December 2008 until May 2009, when he was arrested. She would also sometimes give him cash, she said.

Court has heard that Rafferty told most of the women he was dating that he was a dance instructor and ran a contracting business, but there has been no evidence called so far about any employment he may have had. He also told one woman he had a son, and told another that he had a stepson who had died, court heard.

Superior Court Judge Thomas Heeney gave the jury a warning about Spitzig's testimony and that of the "long line" of other women.

"All of this may lead you to conclude that Mr. Rafferty was a philandering cad or worse," Heeney said. "You cannot and you must not consider that because he has a bad character or character flaws that he is more likely to be guilty of the offences he is charged with."

Rafferty, 31, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping in Tori's death on April 8, 2009.

Spitzig chatted with Rafferty throughout that day, except for a one- or two-hour period when there was no response, she testified. Around 9 a.m. he told her he needed $400 for a car payment and in the early afternoon Rafferty messaged Spitzig again asking for $100 for gas money, she testified. She deposited both amounts.

Court has heard from Terri-Lynne McClintic, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Tori's death, that after they abducted Tori outside her school in Woodstock, Ont., Rafferty drove to Guelph, Ont., where he stopped at a house and bought a baggie full of Percocet pills using about $300 cash.

Surveillance footage and banking records show that Rafferty withdrew $80 around 5 p.m. from a gas station ATM in Guelph next to a Home Depot. McClintic testified that Rafferty then gave her cash and told her to go into the Home Depot and buy a hammer and garbage bags.

They also stopped at a Tim Hortons while they were in Guelph with Tori in the car, McClintic testified. Rafferty then drove to a secluded farmer's field well north of the city where he sexually assaulted the girl then McClintic "snapped" and killed her using the hammer, McClintic testified. Until shortly before the start of Rafferty's pre-trial this year McClintic had maintained Rafferty killed Tori.

In addition to chatting about money on April 8, Rafferty and Spitzig chatted about plans for the upcoming Easter weekend and birthday party plans for her twins, who are now eight years old, she testified.

Rafferty was also text messaging with another woman he was dating, Elysia Haid, 23, on April 8, mostly around noon then late at night, court heard. They were making plans to get together the next day, which they did when she stopped by his house and they had sex in the early afternoon, Haid testified.

Rafferty's lawyer, Dirk Derstine, suggested to McClintic during her cross-examination that she was the "engine" behind the events of April 8, and that Rafferty was a "horrified" and unwitting spectator to McClintic's plan to kidnap and murder a child over a drug debt. Court has heard that Tori's mother bought OxyContin from McClintic's mother on a few occasions, but both testified there was no debt.

Derstine pointed out to Haid that during her interview with police she seemed unsure as to whether they had sex on April 9 or 10, but she was adamant in testimony that it was April 9, the day before Good Friday.

Like most of the women Rafferty was dating, he met Haid through the dating website Plenty of Fish, she testified. They first met up April 4 when they went to a hockey game in London, Haid said.

That same day Rafferty also met Patrycja Demidas, 33, for coffee at about 5 p.m., she testified. Rafferty told her he was going to a hockey game and they agreed to meet up later that night for drinks, she said.

Rafferty visited her house the following day, then on April 6 she met him at a coffee shop, Demidas testified. Crown attorney Kevin Gowdey asked her what the end result was, "without getting into all the details and who said what."

"I just wanted to not see him again," Demidas testified.

He continued text messaging her on April 8 around noon, again around 8 p.m. and later at night. Demidas couldn't recall the specific content of the messages, but said they would have been arguing about the end of their relationship.

Tara McLellan, 30, also testified Friday that she went on a date with Rafferty around that time after chatting with him on Plenty of Fish. They went on a coffee date to Tim Hortons on April 1 but didn't go out again after that, she testified. He did, however, call her at 4:28 p.m. on April 8, phone records show, though McLellan doesn't remember receiving the call.

The last time McLellan heard from Rafferty was when he sent her an angry email in response to some jokes she had forwarded him, she testified.

The trial resumes Tuesday with legal arguments and the jury is set to return Wednesday to hear more evidence.

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  • Rodney Stafford, father of slain Victoria Stafford, speaks to the media as he arrives at the courthouse in London Ontario, Tuesday, May 15, 2012 for the sentencing hearing for Michael Rafferty, who was convicted Friday of Victoria's murder. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins

  • After The Verdict

    Rodney Stafford, father of slain Victoria Stafford reacts after Michael Rafferty was found guilty on all three charges at the murder trial in London, Ontario, Friday, May 11, 2012. <br> THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

  • Reaction

    Rodney Stafford, father of slain Victoria Stafford holds a photo of his daughter as he speaks to the media, with his mother Doreen Graichen, sister Rebecca Nichols and brother Rob Stafford looking on, after Michael Rafferty was found guilty on all three charges at the murder trial in London, Ontario, Friday, May 11, 2012. <br> CREDIT: CP

  • Longest Day

    Rodney Stafford, father of Victoria (Tori) Stafford, holds his head in in hands late in the afternoon at the courthouse for the Michael Rafferty murder trial in London, Ont., Friday, May 11, 2012. <br> CREDIT: CP

  • Rodney Stafford, father of slain eight-year-old Woodstock girl Victoria Stafford, talks to reporters during a break in proceedings at the trial of Michael Rafferty, the accused in his daughter's murder in London, Ontario, Tuesday, May 1, 2012.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins

  • The grave of Victoria (Tori) Stafford on Easter Sunday, the third anniversary of the day the eight-year-old girl vanished while walking home from school, in Woodstock, Ontario, Sunday, April, 8, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley)

  • Dirk Derstein, defence lawyer for Michael Rafferty, the accused in the murder of Woodstock, Ontario schoolgirl Victoria Stafford talks briefly with reporters during a break in proceedings at the trial in London, Ontario, Tuesday, May 1, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins

  • Terri-Lynn McClintic and Michael Rafferty are shown in these police handout photos released as court exhibits at Rafferty's trial in London, Ont., Wednesday, April 4, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

  • Michael Rafferty and Terri-Lynne McClintic embrace in this still image taken from a police handout video dated May 8, 2009. Rafferty visited McClintic twice at a detention centre, where she was taken after being arrested days after the killing of Victoria Stafford on an unrelated matter. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)

  • Terri-Lynn McClintic is shown in police handout photos released as court exhibits at Michael Rafferty's trial in London, Ont., Thursday, April 5, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

  • Michael Rafferty is shown in a police handout photo released as court exhibits at Rafferty's trial in London, Ont., Thursday, April 5, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

  • Michael Rafferty's 2003 Honda Civic is shown in this court handout photo along with other exhibits. A tiny spot of dried blood on the rubber moulding of the back passenger side door on Michael Rafferty's car was found to contain DNA matching the eight-year-old girl's profile, forensic biologist Jennifer McLean testified Wednesday at Rafferty's trial. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

  • A butterfly earring worn by Victoria Stafford are shown in this evidence photo released Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at the trial trial of Michael Rafferty. Court has heard that she had borrowed the earrings from her mom on April 8, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

  • Victoria Stafford's T-shirt is shown in this evidence photo released Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at the trial trial of Michael Rafferty. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

  • Michael Rafferty is transported from the courthouse in the back of police cruiser in London, Ontario, Wednesday, March, 14, 2012. Rafferty is facing charges in the death of Victoria (Tori) Stafford. Court is hearing that Rafferty was "stressed out" in the days after her disappearance.(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley)

  • Accused Michael Rafferty is shown in court in London, Ont., Monday, March 5, 2012 in this artist's sketch. The trial of Rafferty, 31, began Monday nearly three years after Victoria Stafford disappeared outside her elementary school in Woodstock, Ont. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tammy Hoy)

  • Terri-Lynne McClintic, left, is transported from court for proceedings in the Michael Rafferty murder trial in London, Ontario, Friday, March, 16, 2012. Rafferty is charged with several offences including first-degree murder in the death of eight-year-old Victoria "Tori" Stafford. McClintic is already serving a life sentence after pleading guilty two years ago to first-degree murder in Tori's death. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

  • Evidence letter written by Terri-Lynne McClintic in the Michael Rafferty murder trial in London, Ont., Thursday, March, 22, 2012. Rafferty has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping. McClintic has already plead guilty of first degree murder in the case. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley)

  • Rodney Stafford, father of slain Victoria (Tori) Stafford walks from the courthouse during a break in the proceedings for the Michael Rafferty murder trial in London, Ontario, Thursday, March, 22, 2012. Rafferty has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

  • A tearful Tara McDonald, mother of slain eight-year-old Woodstock girl Victoria Stafford, receives a hug from partner James Goris during a break in proceedings at the trial for Michael Rafferty, the accused in her daughter's murder in London Ontario,Tuesday, March 13, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins

  • Tara McDonald (center) mother of slain Victoria (Tori) Stafford walks from court after completing her testimony in the Michael Rafferty murder trial in London, Ontario, Wednesday, March, 7, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley)

  • Terri-Lynne McClintic is transported from court for proceedings in the Michael Rafferty murder trial in London, Ontario, Friday, March, 16, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley)

  • Terri-Lynne McClintic is transported from court for proceedings in the Michael Rafferty murder trial in London, Ontario, Friday, March, 16, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley)

  • Terri-Lynne McClintic testifies at the Michael Rafferty murder trial in London, Ont., Tuesday, March 13, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tammy Hoy)

  • The Disappearance And Death Of Tori Stafford

    Victoria (Tori) Stafford, 8, disappeared while on her way home from school in Woodstock, Ont., on April 8, 2009. (Photo: An undated family handout, CP). <em>The following text is by the Huffington Post Canada, will files from CP</em>

  • For weeks, her parents, family friends and community members searched for the little girl. <em>(Photo: Cassandra Craig and Shiloh Roth hang a poster for missing Stafford, 8, on a street corner in Woodstock, Ont., on Friday April 10, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley)</em>

  • Meanwhile, hundreds of police searched local ponds, a landfill, and used a helicopter for aerial sweeps of Oxford County. <em>(Photo: Ontario Provincial Police officers search the Oxford County landfill site Tuesday, April 21, 2009, for clues. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley)</em>

  • Tori's mother, Tara McDonald, held daily press conferences as the national media descended on the town of 35,000 in southern Ontario. <em>(Photo: Tara McDonald speaks to reporters in Woodstock, Tuesday, April 21, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley)</em>

  • The girl's body was found three months later in a field near Mount Forest, Ont. <em>(PHOTO: Funeral home attendants load the remains of the girl into a hearse July 20, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese)</em>

  • Michael Rafferty, 31, is charged with first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping in the death of Victoria Stafford. His trial began with jury selection in the last days of February, 2012. <em>(Photo: Rafferty leaves the courthouse in Woodstock, Ont., Feb. 7, 2011).</em>

  • Terri-Lynne McClintic, now 21, has already been convicted of first-degree murder in the girl's death. She pleaded guilty in April 2010 and was given a mandatory life sentence, with no chance of parole for 25 years. <em>(PHOTO: An undated Facebook photo of McClintic).</em>

  • McClintic's guilty plea could not be reported until December 2010 due to a sweeping publication ban imposed by Justice Dougald McDermid. The ban was partially lifed by the Supreme Court of Canada, though some details remain under the ban in order to protect Rafferty's right to a fair trial. <em>(PHOTO: Justice McDermid enters court in Woodstock, Ont., on Friday, April 30, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Robins)</em>

  • After Tori's funeral, her father, Rodney Stafford, went on a bike ride to Edmonton in her memory with Child Find Ontario, the <a href="http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/article/1135756--the-main-players-in-the-tori-stafford-murder-case-where-are-they-now?bn=1" target="_hplink">Toronto Star reports</a>. He raised more than $25,000. He plans to attend the <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2012/02/26/stafford-murder-trial.html" target="_hplink">murder trial, telling CBC,</a> "There'll never be closure because I still wake up every morning without my daughter." <em>(PHOTO: Stafford, father of slain eight-year-old Tori Stafford, leaves court in London, Ont., on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Robins)</em>

  • Rafferty's trial was moved from Woodstock to nearby London in light of publicity surrounding the girl's death. His lawyer, Dirk Derstine, suggested outside court that people should keep an open mind. "I expect that the evidence to be called will be different than what everybody is perhaps expecting," he said. <em>(PHOTO: Dirk Derstine leaves court in London, Ont., on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Robins)</em>

  • OPP Detective Inspector Bill Renton was the lead investigator in the Tori Stafford murder case. He's seen here arriving at the Middlesex Court House in London, Ont., Monday, Feb. 27, 2012 on the first day of jury selection in the first degree murder trial of Michael Rafferty. <em>(PHOTO: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Spowart)</em>

  • Tori Stafford seen with her older brother, Daryn Stafford, in this family handout. <em>(Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)</em>

  • Crown lawyers outside the courthouse where the Michael Rafferty trial is being held.

  • The Trial, In Photos

    Rafferty's mother spoke Monday, May 7, for the first time since her son was arrested and charged in May 2009, six weeks after Tori was killed. She placed the blame for what happened to Tori squarely on Terri-Lynne McClintic. "My son is innocent," Deborah Murphy said as she faced a wall of cameras outside the courthouse. "This could happen to any man that's walking around right now. Terri-Lynne McClintic has wrecked our lives and I just hope that justice is served and that he's free." (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley)

  • Tara McDonald, mother of slain eight-year-old Woodstock girl Victoria Stafford, receives a hug following the last day of evidence in the trial of Michael Rafferty, the accused in her daughter's murder, in London Ontario, Tuesday, May 1, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins



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