''My son's innocent'': Rafferty's mother
Closing arguments have begun in the Michael Rafferty murder trial in London, ON.
On Monday the defence laid out its case in full, explaining to jurors why they believe Michael Rafferty should be found not guilty of first degree murder, abduction and sexual assault causing bodily harm in the April, 8 2009 death of Woodstock eight-year-old Tori Stafford.
With the main courtroom and overflow room packed with spectators, Michael Rafferty's lead defence counsel Dirk Derstine launched into a closing argument that repeatedly attacked the credibility of Terri-Lynne McClintic; Rafferty's co-accused ex-girlfriend, self-admitted killer of Tori Stafford, and the Crown's star witness.
Comparing her to an "Oscar-winning actor," Derstine told the jury "to stand on the evidence of Terri-Lynne McClintic is to stand on uncertain footing."
He says McClintic lied throughout her five-and-a-half days of testimony, pointing out what he thinks are several holes in her story. Derstine says Rafferty had no idea Tori Stafford had been kidnapped, or was about to be murdered by McClintic that day.
Mentioning his numerous girlfriends, Derstine admits Rafferty had "moral flaws," but reminded the jury that they are there to decide his client's "legal guilt."
Derstine also repeatedly alluded to his belief that Tori was targetted, and that McClintic knew her. A theory that left Tori's dad Rodney Stafford puzzled. "I'm struggling with that one myself," he told reporters. "It's kind of looking that way though."
Rodney says he is not worried though, and that he has faith that the Crown's case is strong enough to keep the Defence from swaying the jury.
At the end of the day's proceedings Rafferty's mother, Deb Murphy, making her first appearance at the courthouse with her husband Dave by her side, came out and gave reporters a brief statement.
"My son's innocent," she proclaimed. "And this could happen to any man that's walking around right now."
Like the defence team, she feels her son got involved with the wrong woman. Looking nervous and uncomfortable with the media attention she exclaimed "Terri-Lynne McClintic has wrecked our lives and I just hope that justice is served and that he's freed."
Though she hadn't been seen at the courthouse up until Monday Murphy tells reporters she has remained in constant contact with her son since his arrest.
Crown Attorney Kevin Gowdey begins his closing argument Tuesday, which will likely carry into Wednesday. He was supposed to start Monday afternoon, but Derstine's argument took longer than expected.