A London, Ontario jury that has been sitting in the Michael Rafferty trial began its deliberations today.
Michael Rafferty, who pleaded not-guilty, was charged with first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping of Tori Stafford, an 8-year-old Woodstock girl.
If found guilty of first-degree murder, Rafferty, 31, would face life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Judge Thomas Heeney instructed the jury today that they should review the facts of the case, and not let any feelings they have for the innocent child get in the way of a proper verdict. Earlier in the trial the jury was shown very graphic and disturbing autopsy photos of a beaten and half-naked Tori Stafford who was killed by a hammer.
One of the key witnesses for the prosecution was Terri-Lynn McClintic, who plead guilty to Stafford’s murder and is serving a life sentence. Although her testimony was damning to Rafferty, the defense was able to poke quite a few holes in her story, which questioned the witnesses credibility.
Rafferty claims that while he was present, it was McClintic’s idea and that he was only a witness and understood that Stafford was being kidnapped to help pay a drug debt.
The trial began on March 5th, 2012.