LONDON, Ont. - Traces of blood found in a car allegedly used to abduct Victoria Stafford belonged — with near certainty — to the eight-year-old and the man accused of killing her, a court heard Wednesday.
WARNING: Graphic details from this court case may disturb some readers.
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 Stafford's profile, forensic biologist Jennifer McLean testified at Rafferty's trial.
She said the probability that the blood was not Tori's is one in 150 trillion.
When the first tests were run on the blood sample in June 2009 Tori had been missing for two months but was presumed dead after Terri-Lynne McClintic confessed in the girl's murder. The DNA profile was compiled using Tori's parents' DNA, one of her teeth and a hair from a lice comb, McLean testified.
On a gym bag found in the back seat of the car, a bloodstain on the bottom, almost invisible to the naked eye, contained DNA that almost certainly came from Rafferty and Tori, court heard.
A mixture of blood and semen was found on the back of the front passenger seat, but McLean did not give any evidence about how long they had been there. Rafferty could not be excluded as the source of the semen and McClintic could not be excluded as the source of the blood, McLean said.
Science was the focus Wednesday at Rafferty's trial, where experts from the Centre of Forensic Sciences testified about testing done on several items seized from Rafferty's home and car following his May 19, 2009, arrest.
Rafferty is alleged to have kidnapped Tori outside her Woodstock, Ont., elementary school on April 8, 2009, with his then-girlfriend McClintic, and then driven the Grade 3 student more than 100 kilometres away to a rural area, raped her and killed her.
Rafferty has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping. McClintic is already serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to first-degree murder.
McClintic testified last month at Rafferty's trial that after she shoved Tori into the back seat of Rafferty's car, he ordered the girl to stay on the floor and covered her with his black pea coat so she wouldn't be seen.
A coat matching McClintic's description was found in the house Rafferty shared with his mother, and testing revealed the presence of two blond hairs, which are expected to be the subject of further testimony Thursday, as McLean's testimony continues.
Barbara Doupe, an expert in hair and fibre testing as well as textile damage assessment, testified about how the hairs were found and about testing she did on a small piece of grey material found on the floor of Rafferty's car, a 2003 Honda Civic.
McClintic has testified that Rafferty sexually assaulted Tori in the rear passenger side of his car. McClintic said that as she and Rafferty were driving home after leaving Tori's body under a pile of rocks in a farmer's field, he told her to use a utility knife he had in his car to cut stained pieces of material out of his back seat.
She did so and threw them out the window as they were driving along Highway 401 that night, she testified. But court has heard that police were unable to find such pieces of cloth and foam when they scoured a 51-kilometre stretch of the highway shoulder in May 2009.
A search of Rafferty's car turned up a small, 3 1/2-centimetre by half-a-centimetre piece of grey cloth and foam. Doupe was asked to determine if the material had been cut and with what type of tool.
She found that the piece of material was either from a 2003 Honda Civic or another source of upholstery with indistinguishable characteristics. The material had been recently cut with a "sharp-edged implement," Doupe found.
McLean's testing on the grey material found chemical indications of blood, though none was visible, and while DNA from at least two people, one being male, was present, the minuscule amount of it meant it was unsuitable to be tested further, she said.
The night of Tori's death Rafferty stopped at a car wash and washed and vacuumed his car, McClintic testified. When police arrested Rafferty his car was missing its back seat, court has heard.
But an ex-girlfriend who court heard Rafferty was dating at the same time as McClintic testified Wednesday that his car had a back seat when she last saw him on March 23, 2009. Alexis Lane had recently reconnected with Rafferty, whom she had known from middle school in Drayton, Ont., she said. Drayton is slightly south of Mount Forest, where Tori was killed.
In a police interview on May 15, 2009, Rafferty mentions at least two other women he was dating in the early months of 2009, at the same time as McClintic and Lane.
Court is also expected to hear Thursday about Rafferty's past, as the Crown has indicated it will call witnesses about his connections to the Mount Forest area.
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