Michael Rafferty Trial Sentence: 'You, Sir, Are A Monster,' Judge Tells Tori Stafford's Convicted Killer

CP  |  By Posted: Updated: 05/16/2012 5:35 am

LONDON, Ont. -- The powerful and angry words of the judge presiding over Michael Rafferty's case rang through the courtroom Tuesday -- "twisted," "deviant," "child rapist" -- but the words of Victoria Stafford's brother left the largest impact, even on the "monster" himself.

When eight-year-old Tori was abducted on April 8, 2009, her brother Daryn was 10 years old. Several of Tori's family members gave victim impact statements at Rafferty's formal sentencing, talking about the pain her death has caused, but they all kept coming back to Daryn, the big brother who feels he was supposed to protect Tori.

"No hugs, no 'See you later,' no goodbyes, just a part of my heart ripped out," Daryn wrote in his statement. "My sister was the only person I had to talk to, someone that felt what I felt, cried when I cried, laughed when I laughed, and now I feel alone, like the world is playing a sick trick on me. But it's not. This is my reality."

Rafferty, who was found guilty on Friday of first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping, wiped away tears as a Crown attorney read Daryn's statement.

IN PHOTOS: THE TRIAL

Rafferty was asked if he had anything to say before being sentenced to life in prison, the automatic penalty for first-degree murder. He stood up and addressed Tori's mother Tara McDonald directly, saying he would give her "all the pieces of the puzzle," if she wanted to hear them away from the court, media and spectators.

She said outside court she would not be taking him up on his offer.

Rafferty didn't testify in his own defence, leaving only his former girlfriend and accomplice Terri-Lynne McClintic's account of what happened. He said Tuesday he is "guilty of many crimes" and has done things he is "very, very ashamed of" but maintained he isn't guilty of those three crimes. At trial, his lawyer suggested McClintic was responsible for what happened to Tori.

"I do believe that I am a very definite part of why Victoria's not here today," Rafferty said Tuesday. "Hopefully, everybody can find some closure of some sort to me being sentenced to life. I'm truly sorry to the entire family, not that it has much bearing to any of you coming from my mouth, but it's still true."

Superior Court Judge Thomas Heeney ordered Rafferty to stand up as he said now that the presumption of innocence has been stripped away, it has been revealed who Rafferty truly is: "a child abductor, a child rapist and a child murderer."

"You have snuffed out the life of a beautiful, talented, vivacious little girl, a 'tomboy diva' in the trustful innocence of childhood," Heeney said. "And for what? So that you could gratify your twisted and deviant desire to have sex with a child. Only a monster could commit an act of such pure evil.

"You, sir, are a monster." Read Judge Heeney's full statement.

Rafferty, who has been in custody since May 19, 2009, will be eligible to apply for parole after 25 years. He will also be able to apply for parole under the faint-hope clause after 15 years. He was sentenced to 10 years to be served concurrently for sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping.

The court was packed with family members and reporters, and even nine members of the jury returned to see Rafferty be sent to prison for life. They appeared emotional after the victim impact statements, particularly Daryn's.

Victoria's father, Rodney Stafford, stared at Rafferty as he read his statement and, unable to control his anger, fixed his gaze on Rafferty and called him a "piece of s--t."

"Now our only means of communicating with Victoria is tearful whispers through her headstone where her remains were laid to rest," Stafford said.

GALLERY: HOW THE SENTENCING WENT DOWN

Tori's mother cried as she spoke of the pain of missing her baby.

"People say how strong I am," she said. "But what choice do I really have? It pales in comparison to the pain that was inflicted on an innocent little girl."

McClintic pleaded guilty two years ago to first-degree murder, admitting she lured Tori away with the promise of seeing a dog and delivered her to Rafferty for repeated sexual assaults.


Text of the written statement presented in court on behalf of Victoria Stafford's older brother, Daryn Stafford:

When I was asked to write my statement, I didn't know what to write. What is there to write when there are no words to describe the impact this whole thing has left on me.

Not everyone knows how it feels to have your world ripped out from under you in less than a day. No hugs, no 'see you later,' no goodbyes, just a part of my heart ripped out. Not one person can say they feel the same as me.

My sister was the only person I had to talk to, someone that felt what I felt, cried when I cried, laughed when I laughed, and now I feel alone, like the world is playing a sick trick on me. But it's not, this is my reality. No more fun times, just old memories, no more 'I love yous,' just an empty spot in my heart.

On top of that loss, I have a dad who is also dealing with thoughts around this, a mom who is an addict because she doesn't know how to cope with her own emotions surrounding (this), and a totally fractured family.

I can't even talk to someone and know if they like me for who I am or because they feel bad that I'm Victoria Stafford's brother.

On top of that, I now have really strong anxiety problems. I can't walk by myself without watching behind me. I can't sleep because of nightmares and my fear of the dark, and I can't be alone.

The first question (on the victim impact form) is, 'Have there been any changes to your family? How would you describe your family relationships?' To answer that in full honesty, my family is torn. My mom and dad cannot get along. They never have, but now they can't even for me. My dad's side of my family can't stand each other and the same with my mom's.

In the past three years, I have missed dozens of days of school because of counselling sessions and a psychiatrist. I can't concentrate most days because my mind is always somewhere else. I have to take walks and talk to my teachers because a lot of the time, I can't control my emotions. I don't even want to go out for sports teams because of my anxiety and my low self-esteem and confidence.

The booklet says, 'Was anything taken from you?' It's obviously asking about property, but something was taken from me. My baby sister was taken from me, and that's not something I can go buy at a store to replace.

My last memory I have of Tori was only a few minutes before she went missing. We were arguing like any brother and sister, but when school was done and we parted, I didn't know I would never get to see her again. And it was weird because it felt like something was wrong. I could feel it. Now I am lost without her, trying to move on without my baby sister and best friend.

That's all.

Statement Michael Rafferty delivered in court:

I wanted to come to this courtroom defending myself and after hearing the victim impact statements I think there's something more important to say.

To Tara McDonald: For the past three years I've had so much to say on my behalf. Nobody has all the pieces of the puzzle and I'm willing to give you those pieces if you'd like them.

I know this has been a long ordeal for everybody and I'm glad that it's come to an end and hopefully everybody can find some closure of some sort to me being sentenced to life.

I'm truly sorry to the entire family, not that it has much bearing to any of you coming from my mouth, but it's still true.

I've stayed quiet this entire trial, thinking it was for my defence, thinking it was for the better. But I do have something to say and that is for Tara McDonald alone without the media, without spectators, so at least you know it will be true, or as true as you're willing to believe it without other people listening and without it being to my benefit. I still disagree with the conviction of these three charges. I am guilty of many crimes and there are a lot of things I'm very, very ashamed of, but these three counts I still stand firmly behind not guilty.

As I said, I would fill in the blanks for you if you wish, however that can be seen through the courts or the institution where I'll be staying.
To your son, I believe that impact statement hit me the hardest. I can only imagine if something like that came from the words or came from the mouth of my own son. I have lost a child before but I have no idea what you have gone through. I cannot imagine what you have gone through, for that I'm very sorry.

As I said, I am standing behind not guilty of these convictions. Notwithstanding, though, I do believe that I am a very definite part of why Victoria's not here today. Once again I'm very sorry, not that half of you, or any of you may believe me, but as I said, I've stayed quiet thinking that that was to my defence, not thinking of how it may impact the family of Victoria Stafford. That's all I have to say.

COMMENTS of Superior Court Judge Thomas Heeney in sentencing Michael Rafferty Tuesday:

Mr. Rafferty was not convicted based on his character, he was convicted based on his conduct. Character evidence is presumptively inadmissible under our law for a reason. Character evidence speaks volumes about his deviant nature, but that is more relevant to who he is, as opposed to what he did. Being a pervert does not mean that he is a murderer.

... But with the verdict of the jury, that presumption of innocence has been stripped away, revealing who he really is: a child abductor; a child rapist; and a child murderer.

Mr. Rafferty, please stand up.

Your crimes have destroyed the lives of Victoria Stafford's parents, her brother, her extended family and her loved ones. They have terrorized an entire community, who had thought its children could safely walk its streets, little knowing that people such as you lurked among them. That you were brought to justice is due entirely to the most massive and extraordinary mobilization of police resources that this province, and probably this country, has ever seen...

But most tragically of all, you have snuffed out the life of a beautiful, talented, vivacious little girl, a "tomboy diva" in the trustful innocence of childhood. And for what? So that you could gratify your twisted and deviant desire to have sex with a child. Only a monster could commit an act of such pure evil. You, sir, are a monster."


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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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