TORONTO — Family members of eight-year-old Victoria Stafford have packed a Toronto courtroom today to hear her killer appeal his convictions.
Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2013 with no chance of parole for 25 years for kidnapping, sexual assault causing bodily harm and first-degree murder in the death of the Woodstock, Ont., girl.
Rafferty’s accomplice, Terri-Lynne McClintic, pleaded guilty in 2010 to first-degree murder.
Rafferty’s lawyer, Paul Calarco, is arguing that they judge made several errors, including failing to warn the jury against relying on the testimony of McClintic, and arguing that she could have been the driving force behind the murder.
Calarco says some of Rafferty’s actions after the killing _ such as cleaning his car, disposing of clothing and giving a false alibi _ are “equally consistent” with being an accessory after the fact.
The appeal court judges are asking Calarco several pointed questions about his arguments, with one telling him those facts are “not even close to being equally consistent” with being an accessory.
Among those on hand to hear the appeal are Victoria’s mother, father, uncle, family friends and Woodstock Police Chief Bill Renton, who used to be with the Ontario Provincial Police and was the lead investigator on Victoria’s murder.