Michael Rafferty leaves the courthouse in Woodstock

Michael Rafferty leaves the courthouse in Woodstock

Rafferty pleads not guilty to killing Stafford

Seven people were chosen Wednesday to serve on a jury in the trial of a man accused in the death of eight-year-old Victoria Stafford.

LONDON, Ont. — Seven people were chosen Wednesday to serve on a jury in the trial of a man accused in the death of eight-year-old Victoria Stafford.

Michael Rafferty, 31, was formally arraigned Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping.

Dressed in a three-piece suit, Rafferty stood looking out at the jury pool and said he was ready for his trial.

“That is correct,” he said as his pleas were read back to him.

Tori disappeared while on her way home from school in Woodstock, Ont., on April 8, 2009, and her body was found three months later.

Terri-Lynne McClintic, now 21, has already been convicted of first-degree murder in the girl’s death.

Five women and two men have been selected so far as lawyers seek to choose a jury of 12 people and two alternates.

Hundreds of people were called for jury selection in Rafferty’s trial, and all but 116 were excused Monday and Tuesday for various financial, medical and travel reasons. The remaining 116 were organized into five groups, with two groups facing the second stage of jury selection Wednesday. The last three groups return Thursday.

Superior Court Judge Thomas Heeney explained to the assembled potential jurors Wednesday morning that they would each be asked a series of pre-determined questions.

Crown and defence lawyers get a set number of challenges, which they can use to reject a potential juror without giving a reason.

The trial is expected to start Monday if all jurors and alternates can be selected this week.

Potential jurors have been told the trial is expected to last between 2 1/2 and three months, possibly extending into June. Most weeks the trial will sit Tuesdays to Fridays. Because of the time commitment and the nature of the case, Heeney raised the amount of compensation jurors will get.

In most trials in Ontario jurors are paid $40 a day if they sit longer than 10 days, and from the 50th day onward they get $100 a day. For this trial jurors will receive $40 a day from the outset, rising to $100 a day starting on the 25th day.

During the trial the jury is set to visit the site where Tori’s body was found.

Just Posted

Alberta is now below 3,000 active cases of COVID-19, as the province reported 2,639 Wednesday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer below 100 active COVID-19 cases for first time since March

69.7 per cent of Albertans 12 and over have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

A Comox Valley 55+ baseball team isa being organized for the 2021 season. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
18U AAA Carstar Braves start season strong

The Red Deer Carstar 18U AAA Carstar Braves started the Baseball Alberta… Continue reading

(Contributed image).
Online poetry reading to benefit Red Deer women experiencing period poverty

The Period Promise Poetry Powerhouse is a central Alberta collective of some… Continue reading

Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan leaves the Senate Chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Bill to implement UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples clears Senate

OTTAWA — A landmark piece of Liberal legislation aimed at harmonizing Canada’s… Continue reading

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) flips a shot on New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Sunday, June 13, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Russian goalies highlight Lightning-Islanders series

NEW YORK — Semyon Varlamov is the wily veteran, coming off a… Continue reading

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime reacts during his ATP Tour Singles, Men, Round of 16 tennis match against Switzerland's Roger Federer in Halle, Germany, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Friso Gentsch-dpa via AP
Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime upsets Roger Federer in second round of Noventi Open

HALLE, Germany — Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime earned one of the biggest victories… Continue reading

A course official keeps out of the sun on the seventh green during a practice round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
A different US Open than imagined at Torrey Pines

The spectacular ocean vistas will fill TV screens as usual, along with… Continue reading

A commuter pumps gas into their vehicle at a Esso gas station in Toronto on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Statistics Canada will say this morning how fast prices rose in May compared to the same month one year earlier amid expectations of a hot inflation figure for the second month in a row. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Annual inflation rate climbs to 3.6 per cent in May, highest in a decade

OTTAWA — Prices across the country rose at their fastest annual rate… Continue reading

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

OTTAWA — Better protections for the rights of air travellers, immediate refunds… Continue reading

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson speaks to media during the Liberal cabinet retreat at the Fairmont Hotel in Winnipeg, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. Wilkinson says Ottawa will step in to conduct assessments of new coal mines that could release the contaminant selenium.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Sudoma
Ottawa to review new steelmaking coal projects in Alberta’s foothills for selenium

The federal government will step in to conduct an environmental review of… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file)
‘A poor choice’: Alberta lawyer reprimanded for allowing nude photos in custody case

EDMONTON — A hearing committee of the Law Society of Alberta says… Continue reading

Most Read