Michael Rafferty, 31, has been found guilty in the horrifying murder of Victoria (Tori) Stafford in London, Ontario on Friday.
Rafferty was convicted and found guilty of first degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm, and kidnapping in the death of Stafford, an eight-year-old girl who disappeared from her school three years ago in Woodstock, Ontario.
Rodney Stafford, Tori’s father, told reporters outside the courtroom that:
“We got him. We got justice. It was for every little girl in Canada. Nobody deserves what happened to her.”
CBC reporter Ioanna Roumeliotis noted that:
“Immediately after the verdict was read guilty on all counts, Tori Stafford’s family erupted into tears and cheers.”
During a very graphic testimony during the trial, Rafferty’s girlfriend Terri-Lynne McClintic, 21, admitted that she was the one who kidnapped Tori as she was walking home from school in April 2009. She proceeded to deliver her to Rafferty, who raped her.
McClintic, up until January 2012, maintained that Rafferty, following the rape, beat the girl to death with a hammer. Recently, however, she pleaded guilty to the murder, saying that she battered Tori to death with a hammer. The jury has dismissed this version of events in their verdict.
Justice Thomas Heeney thanked the jury of three men and nine women for their help in the case, stating:
“You have represented the people of Canada in a most important civic duty.”
According to CBC, Crown lawyer Kevin Gowdey said after the verdict that:
“It’s been a long and difficult trial for everybody. The trial is finally over, so that’s a good thing, but the verdict means that the jury has found that Michael Rafferty did kidnap, sexully assault and murder Victoria Stafford, and our thoughts are with Victoria’s family.”
The sentencing remains and, according to Reuters, Michael Rafferty faces a sentence of life in prison, with no possibility of parole for 25 years, as Canada does not have a death penalty.
Check out more information about the Tori Stafford trial here: