Warning: Graphic Content
By Raveena Aulak/Torstar News Service
London, ON - A year before she abducted and murdered 8-year-old Tori Stafford
, Terri-Lynne McClintic was in youth prison writing angry, violent letters and planning retribution for those responsible for her incarceration.
In one letter, McClintic, then 17 and convicted for robbery and stabbing, talked about killing an inmate and even planned to take the whole family out, jurors heard Wednesday.
Tori was abducted on April 8, 2009. McClintic and Michael Rafferty, then her boyfriend, were arrested a month later and charged with abduction and first-degree murder. McClintic pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison in April 2010. Rafferty, 31, is also accused of sexual assault.
His trial began on March 5. McClintic, now 21, is the Crown’s star witness in this trial.
In his cross-examination, Dirk Derstine, Rafferty`s lawyer, showed the jury several letters McClintic had written from custody where she talked about the “two goofs” who were responsible for her arrest and conviction in a robbery and stabbing case in 2007.
(She was in custody from September 2007 to the summer of 2008.)
“You inquired about those two people?” asked Derstine.
“I believe I may have had intent to do something,” said McClintic.
“What were you going to do?”
“I don’t know.”
“You didn’t intend any harm or violence?”
“I don’t know how it would have played out,” said McClintic. “It was something I thought about. I may have meant at that time what I was saying . . . I was younger at that time,” she told Derstine.
“Quite a few years ago.”
Most of the letters McClintic wrote were to a friend, also in custody; the letters were liberally peppered with expletives, gang symbols and either titled Murderouz Bitchez or ended with those words.
They were all about violence and drugs.
Derstine, at times almost merciless, grilled her for her violent rants and angry outbursts.
He also told the jury McClintic had built a reputation for herself as a “toughie” and frequently got into fights and scraps with other inmates. In one letter, McClintic talked about firing a couple of shots in the face of a pregnant inmate.
She also bullied others and got their prescription medication, Derstine contended.
In one letter, McClintic wrote how she took more than a dozen pills including Prozac while in custody, Derstine pointed out. McClintic, slightly combative, said if inmates didn’t take their medication, she did. “If you are friends with someone, they will just give them (medication),” she said.
Earlier on Wednesday, a packed courtroom watched an emotional interrogation video of McClintic implicating Rafferty in Tori’s rape and murder.
On May 24, 2009, five days after she was charged with first-degree murder, McClintic gave a detailed interview outlining how Rafferty first sexually assaulted the little girl, kicked her in the ribs multiple times before hitting her in the head with a hammer.
Often sobbing and blowing her nose, McClintic tells OPP’s Det Sgt. Jim Smyth in that interview that she saw Tori’s head in a garbage bag.
McClintic has since recanted and said it was she who kicked Tori and dealt the deadly hammer blows.
Justice Thomas Heeney of Ontario Superior Court ruled that McClintic’s video statement can be used as evidence. He instructed the jury to pay close attention to what McClintic says and how she says it.
Portions of the interview were played.
In the video, McClintic was wearing a red T-shirt, a blue sweater and light-coloured track pants; she was sitting in a chair in a corner of a small interrogation room. For the first few minutes, she sipped a coffee, even took a bite of what appeared to be a muffin.
As Smyth began to question her, asking for details of what happened on April 8, 2009, she started getting emotional. At one point, McClintic told Smyth how Tori screamed for help. “She said T! T! Make him stop, make him stop,” recalled McClintic.
She seemed to calm down as she drew a map of the rock pile and the tree near Mount Forest where Tori’s body was tossed and then hidden under rocks.
Rafferty, in a white shirt and grey suit, watched the video intently, scowling intermittently.