Tori Stafford murder trial: Rafferty interrogation video release as jury begin deliberations
London Community News
Raveena Aulakh/Torstar News Service
London, Ont. — Michael Rafferty sat in the corner, a yellow blanket wrapped around his legs, resisting the best efforts of seasoned police officers to pry from him a confession that he had killed 8-year-old Tori Stafford.
A videotape of the four-hour interrogation on May 20, 2009 was made public Thursday evening after the jury began deliberations in the trial of Rafferty who is accused of murdering the Woodstock girl. The jury did not see the video because judge Thomas Heeney ruled it would be prejudicial.
Among the officers interrogating Rafferty was Det. Sgt. Jim Smyth, who pried a murder confession out of Russell Williams, former commander of Canadian Forces Base Trenton.
Rafferty looked dazed in the beginning, sniffled a lot and cried a bit as Det. Staff Sgt. Chris Loam of OPP’s behavioural sciences section chatted with him.
Loam played the good cop, tried to cajole him to talk, to tell what had happened. He also told Rafferty this was his chance to “come clean.” Rafferty said he did not do anything.
About 90 minutes later, Smyth barged into the tiny room and thrust a photo of Tori under Rafferty’s nose and told him that she is gone, she is dead. Rafferty flinched but said nothing.
Smyth also told him that Terri-Lynne McClintic had gone through two boxes of tissues in another interrogation room and waived her right to a lawyer. Rafferty did not react.
For about five minutes, Smyth, still playing the bad cop, tried to bully Rafferty into talking.
When he left, Const. Gordon Johnson, who had briefly interviewed Rafferty five days earlier, tried a gentle approach before Smyth returned, this time McClintic in tow. Smyth told Rafferty to say to her face she was lying, that he had nothing to do with Tori’s abduction.
“Terri is a liar,” Rafferty said.
As time went by, Rafferty looked fresher and energetic. When asked if it mattered to him what the public perception of him was, Rafferty said: “Let them think what they are gonna think."