LONDON, Ont. — Hours before eight-year-old Victoria Stafford was abducted, allegedly sexually assaulted and killed, the man accused in her death bragged online that good things were coming his way.
Michael Rafferty is alleged to have driven past an elementary school in Woodstock, Ont., three times on April 8, 2009, before urging girlfriend Terri-Lynne McClintic to kidnap a young girl for him.
Earlier that day Rafferty had taken to Facebook to post an upbeat status message, court heard.
“Everything good is comming my way,” he wrote.
After Rafferty dropped McClintic off near Oliver Stephens Public School, Tori was the only child she spotted walking alone, McClintic testified. She lured Tori to Rafferty’s car with talk of a dog, then Rafferty drove them to a secluded rural area more than 100 kilometres north, where he sexually assaulted Tori, McClintic told court.
McClintic, who is already serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to first-degree murder, testified that she then killed Tori. She had maintained until January that Rafferty was the one who killed the girl.
Rafferty, 31, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping.
His trial focused Wednesday on information from his Facebook page, on which he posted his life philosophies and vague references to past regrets in a long, rambling entry in his “about me” section.
“I think all and all I am a good person who means well,” Rafferty wrote. “But life has given me some short straws and sadly I let the people down I care for most and don’t really know how to fix it.”
Rafferty’s Facebook account was created March 13, 2007, but there was no evidence called as to when Rafferty composed his biographical information. He writes of having “many accomplishments” in his life, but says he has more bad days than good.
“I have a life with history and sadness like everyone else in the world,” Rafferty wrote. “I dwell on the past and wish I could go back and change some things and do it all over again..maybe just the last 5 years I think..I am sorry everyday and feel the pain of knowing that had I done something different, then life as I know it would be filled with joy, everyday.”
Rafferty writes of his love for animals, and professes to be complex, having “lotsa layers.”
“I am slowly becoming somebody,” he wrote in the “about me” section. “My friends who know me well say I wear my heart on my (sleeve) and sometimes that can be my downfall.”
He writes of varied musical tastes including rock and country, says that movies made in the 1980s had the best plots, and among his favourite TV shows he lists “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Survivor” and “CSI.”
Rafferty also writes of having studied culinary arts at George Brown College in Toronto and lists his interests as dancing, camping and his car.
Friendship is a theme that is pervasive in Rafferty’s Facebook account, as he frequently wrote of the high value he placed on friendship. On April 2, 2009, Rafferty’s last post before his “everything good is comming my way” status update bemoans distant friends.
“Where are my good old friends?” he writes. “I need you to hang out with me..so get ahold of me so we can meet up..common like ALL OF YOU are that busy you cant see me ONE night.”
Rafferty himself would have been busy around that time, as his trial has heard about approximately a dozen women he was dating in the spring of 2009. He began seeing seven of them after April 8 and by the time he was arrested May 19 three women thought of themselves as his girlfriend, court has heard.
One of them, Jessica Meloche, testified Wednesday that after police first interviewed Rafferty on May 15, he felt they were treating him as guilty in the case by association with McClintic.
Rafferty often talked about a “friend of the family” named Terri, who he was constantly visiting and checking up on in the detention centre, testified Meloche. McClintic was arrested April 12 on an unrelated matter.
Rafferty slept over at Meloche’s house the night of May 18, but she couldn’t get in touch with him the following day after she left for work, she said. She learned May 20 that he had been arrested and charged with murder in Tori’s death.