Michael Rafferty Interrogation: Paul Bernardo Comparison, Rattles Tori Stafford Murder Suspect (VIDEO)

CP  |  By Posted: 05/10/2012 5:48 pm Updated: 05/11/2012 8:31 am

LONDON, Ont. - The police officer leans toward the man accused of raping and murdering eight-year-old Victoria Stafford — a trembling, sniffling figure curled up under a yellow plastic sheet — and asks, "Am I sitting across the desk from Paul Bernardo here?"

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

With that question, minutes in to a nearly four-hour interrogation, Michael Rafferty covers his mouth and appears to start hyperventilating through his nose. His interrogator fetches a garbage can and encourages Rafferty to be sick.

Rafferty lurches forward, looking like he's about to vomit.

"If you're gonna be sick, fill your boots," says Det. Staff Sgt. Chris Loam. "I've seen it before, you're not going to offend me or bother me, so if you've gotta be sick, Mike, go ahead."

The jury deciding if Rafferty is guilty of abducting, sexually assaulting and killing Victoria Stafford did not see the video of his early-morning interrogation, nor the good-cop, bad-cop routine it showcases as investigators try to coax him into confessing.

With the jury deliberating, the video — originally entered at Rafferty's pre-trial — can now be released to the public.

After two "good cops" offer Rafferty the promise of a sympathetic ear, the bad cop bursts in: Ontario Provincial Police Det. Staff Sgt. Jim Smyth, who would later garner national headlines for successfully extracting a confession from sex killer Russell Williams.

By 3:30 a.m. on May 20, 2009, however, Rafferty makes it clear he's not talking to Smyth either, and keeps repeating, "We're done."

"Is that what you said to Tori before you killed her?" Smyth asks. "'We're done'?"

"Funny man," Rafferty sneers.

"Funny man — is that what you think this is, is funny, Mike?" Smyth says.

"I think you're a funny man," Rafferty answers, staring at the floor.

"I think you're a cold-blooded killer," Smyth replies.

Throughout the first part of the video, Rafferty appears submissive and weak — hunched over, frequently crying and wiping his eyes, he drinks tea with a shaky hand and speaks in a whiny, meek voice. Before long, however, his demeanour changes.

The veteran investigator interrupts his good-cop colleague by walking in, thrusting Tori's missing poster into Rafferty's hands and saying, "This is the girl you killed, all right? She's not missing anymore, she's dead."

Rafferty recoils, scoffs and puts the poster on the table, shaking his head. Smyth recounts the basic version of what Rafferty's girlfriend, Terri-Lynne McClintic, has just told police: that the little girl died at his hands, not hers. In the angry, profanity-laced exchange that follows, Smyth gives his suspect a dire warning: DNA doesn't lie.

A palpable shift in Rafferty's tone is soon apparent. "Maybe then he should have a Coke and a smile and try to talk to me later," he snaps after Smyth leaves the room.

From that point on, Rafferty is sarcastic and petulant, talking back to the investigators and chiding them for taking McClintic — a drug addict with a long youth criminal record — at her word.

"Terri, you've said, is saying that I was there. Terri is saying she was there and Terri is saying that and you're saying my car's on a video," Rafferty says. "That's not enough for me."

About 2 1/2 hours in, Smyth returns — this time with McClintic in tow. She doesn't speak, but Smyth sits her down across from Rafferty, who won't look at her, and challenges him to call McClintic a liar to her face.

"Terri's a liar," Rafferty says, staring at the wall. "I don't need to look at her."

Smyth asks Rafferty if he had stopped to think about the mounting the forensic evidence against him. A lawyer will be able to handle it, Rafferty replies.

"How does your lawyer deal with your semen on an eight-year-old's body?" Smyth asks.

"I guess a lawyer would have to deal with such things if they came up," Rafferty says.

During pre-trial hearings, Rafferty's lawyer Dirk Derstine raised several different complaints about the video.

Loam, one of the first police officers to participate in the interrogation, claimed to be writing a risk assessment report on Rafferty, and urged him to tell his story now because his credibility would only dwindle with time.

Derstine took issue with Loam's tactics, but Superior Court Judge Thomas Heeney disagreed.

Loam offered Rafferty no quid pro quo in exchange for a positive report, the judge said. Nor would anyone question the common-sense conclusion that an accused's story would be more credible shortly after arrest, rather than in response to damning evidence, he added.

Derstine also argued that the timing and conditions of the interview were oppressive, but Heeney noted that Rafferty seemed to grow more energized over the course of the video, and ignored a proffered doughnut despite complaints of hunger.

And when Derstine complained that the interrogators badgered Rafferty incessantly despite his client's many declarations that he was done talking, Heeney again sided with the Crown: Rafferty insisted he'd say no more, and yet continued to speak.

In the end, it was Heeney's fear that the frequent pronouncements of guilt by investigators would be prejudicial, coupled with the fact Rafferty said nothing incriminating, that kept the video from being seen by the jury.

Throughout the interview, Rafferty denies any involvement with Tori's abduction and murder, insisting his only mistake was getting involved with "bad people."

"I. Didn't. Do. Anything," he says, pronouncing the words slowly and deliberately, as if each is its own sentence. Loam says he knows that's not entirely true.

"That is entirely true," Rafferty replies. "I" — he emphasizes the 'I' — "didn't do anything."

In the video, he scoffs at the threat that police will find damning DNA evidence. At trial, a forensic biologist testified about a tiny spot of blood found on the rear passenger door frame of Rafferty's car.

The chance it wasn't Tori's was one in 150 trillion, she said. She also told court that a small bloodstain on the bottom of a gym bag in Rafferty's car contained DNA that almost certainly came from Rafferty and Tori.

Rafferty also tells Det. Const. Gord Johnson that he doubts his cellphone will betray his whereabouts on April 8, 2009, the day Tori vanished.

During the trial, Johnson himself proved Rafferty wrong, telling court that a call from Rafferty's phone was transmitted from the cell tower closest to the scene where Tori's body was found — evidence that eventually helped police locate Tori's remains in a nearby field.

The trial also saw surveillance video from a gas station and a Home Depot store in Guelph, where McClintic says they stopped to buy garbage bags and a hammer — the murder weapon.

During his interrogation, Rafferty tells Smyth he won't be seen on the Home Depot video because he wasn't there.

"If it happens what are you going to say?" Smyth asks. "Then are you going to say, 'Hey, you got me, I'm sorry?'"

"Hey, someone faked the video?" Rafferty suggests with a smirk.

"Do you know what a psychopath is, Mike?" Smyth says two minutes later.

"I have never met one," Rafferty replies.

"Well I just met one tonight," Smyth counters. "It's you."

The interview continues for another half hour as Rafferty suggests McClintic is lying because she is "out of options." With Smyth pressing for an alibi, he talks about what he did the week of April 8 and on April 9, and explains the many women in his life.

"Just because I'm sleazy doesn't make me what I'm being accused of," he says.

Shortly before Smyth gets up to leave the room, he leans in across the desk.

"Eight years old, Mike. Eight years old, buddy," he says.

"All she wanted to do was go home and have a little party for her friends because her mom just redecorated her room for her. That's pure evil, bud. And that's all I've seen for the last three hours, is pure evil from you."

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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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