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Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
LONDON, Ont. – A year before eight-year-old Victoria Stafford was abducted and killed, the woman serving a life sentence for her death wrote several letters to a friend describing herself as a gangbanging murderer, an Ontario court heard Wednesday.
The neat handwritten letters by Terri-Lynne McClintic addressed to a fellow female inmate depicted an angry young woman who often fantasized in graphic detail about torturing and killing those who had wronged her.
In them, she repeatedly referred to herself and the inmate, whose identity is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, as “murderouz b——” and “real mu’f—— G’s.”
The letters were introduced on the first day McClintic was cross-examined by the defence as the Crown’s star witness in the murder trial of ex-boyfriend Michael Thomas Rafferty.
Rafferty, 31, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping the Grade 3 student.
McClintic, 21, is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to first-degree murder two years ago in Tori’s death.
Tori Stafford was last seen on April 8, 2009, in Woodstock, Ont., a small city located about two hours west of Toronto.
In the letters, McClintic talked about targeting other inmates and staff in violent attacks, bullying others so they’d give her drugs and her desire to just go on a “killin’ spree.”
“I jus wanna kill some one,” she wrote. “Jus see a lil blood f—– curb stomp some b—-”
The letters were also peppered with three point crowns, the symbol of the violent Los Angeles-based Crips street gang.
In one reference, she talked about being a “vampire in heat” who had dreamt of “slaughtering someone, ripping someone” out bone by bone.
In another, she talked about kidnapping someone on the side of the road, mutilating them so she could “smash their skull apart and put it back together like a puzzle.”
Rafferty’s defence lawyer Dirk Derstine pointedly questioned McClintic on whether she sought to hurt those who did her wrong, or as the letters suggested, hurt others connected to these people.
“I would agree that I had anger issues and I did seek out to hurt those . . . as I had seen it, hurt or anger me in some form or another,” she replied.
She remained defensive during his questioning but eventually admitted that she was, in his words, a “toughie on the range.”
McClintic was known to do 400 crunches, 120 pushups, and boxing her mattress daily to stay in shape.
“I had built a reputation for myself, yes,” she said.
While in youth custody, McClintic told the court she took prescription drugs including Prozac and often got into scraps with other inmates. One time, she hurt her hand while punching into a wall.
In one of the letters, she had talked about shooting a pregnant inmate in the face. In another, she said she wanted to “take out” another inmate’s whole family when she got out of the youth detention centre.
“I may have meant at that time what I was saying,” she testified. “I was younger at the time and this was years ago.”
The court also heard that McClintic had assaulted her mother on two separate occasions in the past.
Earlier in the day, jurors were shown a police interrogation video of McClintic confessing to Tori’s murder.
She was seen crying in the nearly hour-long excerpt of a longer interview with Ontario Provincial Police Det. Sgt. Jim Smyth at the Woodstock, Ont., police station on May 24, 2009 – just days after she and Rafferty had been charged in the killing.
In the video, McClintic describes to Smyth that Rafferty was the one who wielded the hammer to deliver the multiple fatal blows to Tori’s skull.
She tells the detective that Rafferty also kicked and “stomped” on the little girl’s ribs.
“I could hear her calling out for me saying, ‘T, make him stop,’ ” McClintic says Tori was saying when she was being raped.
“I wanted to grab her, take her away from him, but I took a couple steps and felt like I walked into a brick wall.”
Last week, while on the stand, McClintic contradicted this confession, saying she lied to Smyth that day because she couldn’t admit she was the one who killed Tori. She had done it, she explained, because the sexual assault had triggered memories of her own childhood molestation.
In the video, McClintic is largely inaudible and is constantly blowing her nose.
She tells Smyth that she wanted to help the police because she wanted to bring Tori’s body home to her family.
This was the truth, she reiterated at the time.
“Everything, I’ve thrown everything out, everything, like I’ve laid it all out,” McClintic says in the video. “That’s it.”
Following the killing, Rafferty allegedly told her: “You’re in it just as far as I am,” McClintic quoted.
While the video was played, Rafferty, who was dressed in a grey suit and blue-stripped tie, scowled a number of times and slightly shook his head.
In instructions to the 12-member jury, Ontario Superior Justice Thomas Heeney told them he had ruled that they could use this videotaped confession as evidence in this trial.
Normally, inconsistent statements are only admitted in proceedings for jurors to assess the credibility of witnesses.
He reminded them that even though this was evidence, it was still up to them to determine the value of the video.
“The video statement is not sworn testimony,” said Heeney. “It is an interview with a police officer.”
Tori was last seen outside her school in Woodstock.
Her remains were found three months later in July 2009 in a rural field north of Guelph, Ont., nearly two hours away.
She had been buried in garbage bags and was found with a Hannah Montana T-shirt and a pair of butterfly earrings.
An autopsy determined she died from multiple blunt force trauma and was killed the same day she disappeared.