11/02/2012 10:44 EDT

Michael Rafferty Appeal: Tori Stafford Killer Clears Hurdle For Appeal


TORONTO — Michael Rafferty has cleared a hurdle to proceed with an appeal of his murder conviction in the killing of eight-year-old Victoria Stafford.

Rafferty missed the deadline to file his notice of appeal, which is 30 days after sentencing, so he had to request a time extension.

The Court of Appeal for Ontario granted it Oct. 26, so he can now file a full appeal if he wants.

He has not filed any appeal documents beyond the inmate notice of appeal, filed in July, in which he says his conviction should be set aside and a new trial ordered.

Rafferty was convicted in May of kidnapping, sexual assault causing bodily harm and first-degree murder in the death of Tori, from Woodstock, Ont.

On his notice of appeal written from Kingston Penitentiary where he is serving a life sentence, Rafferty says it was filed late because he wasn't able to use the phone in time to speak to a lawyer about it.

There is no date for Rafferty's appeal to be heard. Dates for appeals are not generally set until the appellant has filed all the proper documents.

Rafferty's former girlfriend and accomplice in the killing, Terri-Lynne McClintic, is also serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to first-degree murder.

Evidence was that McClintic lured the Grade 3 student to Rafferty's car. They then drove her to a secluded area where he raped her. One of them then smashed her head in with a hammer before burying her body under garbage bags and a pile of rocks.

To avoid prejudice to the accused, the judge did not allow the jury to hear evidence seized from Rafferty's laptop, which included child pornography, torture videos and a movie about the abduction of a girl.

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