In the final days before his arrest for the murder of Victoria (Tori) Stafford, Michael Rafferty spent a lot of time shopping.
He searched for something at an auto wreckers, exchanged his cellphone, looked for a special pair of running shoes and bought gifts for a girlfriend.
He also worried about the police.
“He was just very upset that the police had come to the door, questioned him about Tori … He seemed to feel that the police were blaming him for taking Tori,” girlfriend Joy Woods testified in court Tuesday.
“I assured him if he hadn’t, there was nothing to worry about.”
After finishing shopping for the day, May 19, 2009, Rafferty met Woods in Woodstock to drop off some gifts for her.
Police showed up again, this time to arrest him.
The puzzle pieces of Rafferty’s last days before his arrest were displayed for jurors Tuesday in a London courtroom. Many may relate to corresponding bits of testimony from Rafferty’s ex-girlfriend, Terri-Lynne McClintic, and other witnesses.
McClintic, 21, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the April 8, 2009, disappearance of the eight-year-old Woodstock girl, and has testified against Rafferty in his trial.
Rafferty has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault causing bodily harm.
The Crown has divided its case in chapters, and Tuesday began the chapter about Rafferty’s final days before his arrest, based on testimony from Woods and investigating officers.
On May 11, 2009, Rafferty went to Corey’s Auto Wreckers in London, signing in at 3:05 p.m. and leaving an hour later. There was no evidence why he was there and he didn’t buy anything. McClintic testified earlier that Tori was kept hidden, and later raped in the backseat of Rafferty’s 2003 Honda Civic. The car had no backseat bench when he was arrested.
On May 14, Rafferty went to a Bell store to exchange his BlackBerry, complaining the battery lasted only half a day and the connections for the headset and charger weren’t working. That eventually led to police getting billing information that showed Rafferty made calls from Mount Forest the evening of April 8, 2009. Tori’s body was found in the Mount Forest area July 19, 2009.
Rafferty told Woods he was late for a shopping trip to Port Huron on May 15 because he had to visit an 18-year-old girl in court. McClintic was 18 at the time and had a court hearing that day. In Port Huron, Rafferty “was pretty adamant he wanted to find. . . a specific pair of Puma shoes,” Woods testified.
Jurors have heard Rafferty gave McClintic a pair of Puma shoes after directing her to throw out her own after Tori was killed. That same day, after Woods dropped Rafferty off at his house, police arrived and questioned him about his connection to McClintic.
On May 19, Rafferty called Woods her four times from White Oaks Mall in London asking for her dress and shoe sizes. Woods was heading for Las Vegas the next day. “He always wanted to buy stuff for me . . . and wanted to buy (my) kids stuff,” she said.
That same day, he went back to the Bell store to hand in the old BlackBerry and pick up a loaner. The data on the old BlackBerry had been wiped clean by the time police found it, but police obtained billing records, court heard.
Rafferty called Woods about 7 p.m. to arrange to meet in a parking lot in Woodstock to drop off the gifts. He got into her car with several bags of gifts.
“Not a clue,” Woods testified when asked why she thought Rafferty was arrested.
As for the gifts in the shopping bags, “I never did see them.”
The trial continues Wednesday.