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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta legislature to resume with throne speech, tabling of blockade bill

EDMONTON — Alberta politicians are returning to the legislature with a promise… Continue reading

Drugmaker readies possible coronavirus vaccine for testing

Drugmaker Moderna has shipped its first batch of a possible coronavirus vaccine… Continue reading

Scotiabank reports $2.3B first-quarter profit, tops expectations by analysts

TORONTO — Bank of Nova Scotia is optimistic its international ventures are… Continue reading

A look at carbon prices across the country

OTTAWA — As of Jan. 1, every Canadian and all Canadian businesses… Continue reading

More Red Deer seniors could be dealing with homelessness, inadequate housing in future

Red Deer is short 200 affordable seniors’ housing units: Bridges study shows

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

People don’t want to be governed

Not so long ago, Canada was caught up in a conversation about… Continue reading

Kids under 12 banned from heading soccer balls in practice

LONDON — Children up to the age of 12 will be banned… Continue reading

Oilers among winners, Panthers losers at NHL trade deadline

Mired in a run of one playoff appearance in 13 seasons, the… Continue reading

‘Mixed verdict’ in Weinstein case may disappoint some #MeToo supporters: scholar

The verdict in Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault trial is in, but Canadian… Continue reading

Ex-coach gets 6 months in college scam, runs from courthouse

BOSTON — The former men’s tennis coach at the University of Texas… Continue reading

Kenney says investor confidence needed after Teck mine project killed

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says his government is taking action… Continue reading

‘They loved life’: Family and friends give tearful tributes at Kobe Bryant at memorial

LOS ANGELES —Tears streamed down Vanessa Bryant’s face as she spoke about… Continue reading

Most Read