Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

VIDEO: The interrogation of Michael Rafferty

Victoria Stafford, age 8.

In May, 2009, police in Ontario charged Michael Rafferty, 28, with the abduction and murder of third-grader Tori Stafford. Also charged in the case was Rafferty’s girlfriend, 18-year-old Terri Lynne McClintic. At the time of their arrest, Stafford’s body had not yet been found. It would be July until investigators located the 8-year-old’s body, naked from the waist down, about 500 meters away from a rural road near Mount Forest, Ontario. An autopsy determined that she had been beaten to death with a claw hammer. She had 16 broken ribs.

Michael Rafferty. Facebook photo.

Though McClintic was originally charged with being an accessory to murder, her charges were later upgraded to first-degree murder and unlawful confinement. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison. Rafferty went to trial and was found guilty of first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault by a jury. He was also sentenced to life in prison.

In the below video, Rafferty is being interrogated by Det. Sgt. Jim Smyth, who is at first casual and friendly and gives Rafferty a blanket, some tea, a donut, and a bucket in case he becomes ill. Days prior, Smyth had obtained a confession from McClintic, who is brought into the room in an attempt to get Rafferty to talk. Smyth, a skilled interrogator, had previously gotten a confession out of another notorious Canadian killer: Colonel Russell Williams. Soon after Rafferty sits down, huddled under the yellow blanket, Smyth sheds the niceties and demands to know why Rafferty would kill an 8-year-old girl. He compares him to Paul Bernardo, and tells him that, like Bernardo’s female accomplice Karla Homolka, McClintic has ratted him out. Two other investigators join in to try to get Rafferty to crack, but he refuses. At the end of the four-hour interrogation session, Smyth calls him “pure evil.”


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