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Michael Rafferty is shown in this police handout photo released as court exhibits at Rafferty's trial in London, Ont., Wednesday, April 4, 2012. (The Canadian Press handout)
Michael Rafferty is shown in this police handout photo released as court exhibits at Rafferty's trial in London, Ont., Wednesday, April 4, 2012. (The Canadian Press handout)

Careless mistakes were Rafferty's undoing Add to ...

Throughout the crime, Mr. Rafferty took steps to dispose of evidence, but also made some bizarre mistakes that would help prosecutors to convict him. When they arrived in Guelph, he stopped at an ATM to withdraw money so Ms. McClintic could buy a hammer and garbage bags. His face was videoed by a camera at the ATM.

A few hours later, after Tori was killed, Mr. Rafferty and Ms. McClintic put the girl’s clothes and the hammer used in the slaying into a garbage bag. This was tossed into a Cambridge dumpster, never to be found again. But, inexplicably, Mr. Rafferty pulled over and told Ms. McClintic to throw her shoes into a farmer’s field. That footwear was later recovered.

At some point, he removed the back bench seat of his car, purportedly to wipe any trace of Tori from the vehicle. But rather than discreetly dispose of it himself, he left it out with the trash, where several neighbours saw it.

He also traded in the BlackBerry that had accompanied him that day. But such a move was useless: He had backed the device up on his laptop, leaving a record of everything on it. There is no indication Mr. Rafferty ever tried to get rid of the computer, which also contained the child porn.

Before police found any of this, however, there was Ms. McClintic. She was arrested on an unrelated warrant four days after Tori’s death. Mr. Rafferty had to walk a fine line, staying in regular contact with her to prevent his partner in crime from rolling over on him while trying to avoid bringing attention to himself.

He visited Ms. McClintic twice, attended one of her court dates and checked in on her mother. These contacts, however, eventually led police to visit his home and interview him. Apparently rattled by the encounter, he told Ms. McClintic they should break off contact. Within a couple of days, she confessed.

Up to that point, Mr. Rafferty had not been on the police’s radar. The investigation had focused erroneously on Tori’s family. It was largely out of police’s due diligence that Ms. McClintic had confessed at all: She was one of thousands of people they interviewed in hopes of being absolutely thorough. In her case, their hard work paid off.

That evening, police arrested Mr. Rafferty in a parking lot as he transferred gifts from his car to another girlfriend’s. Throughout a four-hour-long interrogation that followed, he was sometimes tearful, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes stoic.

But the self-described “complex” man said little of substance.

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