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Tori Stafford trial

Blood in Rafferty’s car linked to Tori: Expert

Randy Richmond, QMI Agency

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LONDON, Ont. - 

Deep within the fabric of a gym bag found in his car, miniscule flakes of Michael Rafferty's blood mingled with those of Tori Stafford.

On the rubber moulding of the rear passenger side door, the eight-year-old girl left a 3 mm by 5 mm smear of blood.

On the back and side of the front passenger seat, Rafferty's semen mixed with the blood of one of his girlfriend's at the time, Terri-Lynne McClintic.

On the lower back of the driver's seat, he left another tiny fragment of semen.

Microscopic analysis provided astronomical odds -- from one in 28 billion, to one in 150 trillion -- that Rafferty, McClintic and Tori left DNA evidence of their presence in Rafferty's 2003 Honda Civic, a jury heard Wednesday.

But while science dominated Day 20 of Rafferty's murder trial, it ended with a sudden moment of drama when a former childhood friend of the accused, who became a girlfriend, testified.

Alexis Lane, 30, testified she knew Rafferty in their small town of Drayton, Ont., near Mount Forest, Ont., from Grade 6 on and went out with him from Feb. 22 to April 1, 2009.

That's the same time period Rafferty was going out with McClintic.

Lane's testimony was brief and confirmed when she went out with Rafferty his Honda Civic had a complete back seat.

As she left, however, Lane stole a quick glance at the man, who as a boy "talked on the phone all the time" with her and as teenager visited her at lunch hour in high school.

Rafferty watched her leave, then bowed his head and rubbed his eyes, apparently crying.

He's pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault causing bodily harm in the April 8, 2009, disappearance of Tori.

Tori was last seen in a surveillance video walking up the street outside her school with McClintic.

McClintic confessed to the kidnapping and implicated Rafferty on May 19, 2009, leading to charges against both of them.

Tori's body wasn't found until July 19, 2009, covered in garbage bags and buried under rocks in a remote wooded area of a farm near Mount Forest, Ont.

McClintic has testified Rafferty drove her and Tori from Woodstock, Ont., in his car, then raped Tori in the back seat. She testified he directed her to cover Tori with a pea coat on the way to Mount Forest and directed her to cut out a piece of the back seat that couldn't be cleaned on the way back.

When police seized the car, the bench of the back seat was gone. But as jurors heard Wednesday, the car provided plenty of forensic evidence to consider.

A piece of grey material found on the back floor of the car matches a sample piece of material obtained from another 2003 Honda Civics, Barbara Doupe, a scientist with the Centre of Forensic Sciences in Toronto, testified.

She used five different knife blades to cut the sample piece and compared it with the edge of the small piece found in Rafferty's car.

"The edges of this piece of material (in Rafferty's car) had been cut and they had been cut recently," said Doupe, an expert witness in hair and fibre evidence and textile damage.

Douple sent two strands of blond hair found on a black pea coat in a car for DNA analysis.

Her colleague at the centre, Jennifer McLean, explained to jurors how DNA analysis and the search for body fluids works.

Scientists worked up a DNA profile for Rafferty and McClintic from blood samples, and a profile for Tori from a hair root from a comb and a tooth.

The search of Rafferty's Honda Civic provided 84 items for examination at the centre, said McLean, the lead forensic biologist in the case.

"It is on the larger scale of what we normally see for individual cases," she said.

McLean, a forensics centre technologist, and two police investigators scoured Rafferty's car over three days in May and June 2009, looking for the red/brown telltale stains of blood and the more-difficult-to-spot semen and saliva stains.

All scientists need is one nanogram of DNA from any of the samples, about one billionth the size of a Smartie, McLean explained.

Even so, in several samples from the car, there wasn't enough DNA, or enough high-quality DNA to determine matches, she said.

Of those samples that provided DNA matches, the odds of anyone besides Rafferty, McClintic and Tori providing the DNA ranged from one in 28 billion to one in 150 trillion.

McLean is to continue testifying Thursday. According to the Crown's schedule, the next chapter in its case will focus on Rafferty's knowledge of the Mount Forest area.