Emotional Reaction to Horrific Crimes Deny the Alleged Party Due Process
Currently in Woodstock, Ontario, the ongoing criminal trial against Michael Rafferty, the accused rapist-murderer of 8-year-old Victoria Stafford. The crime actually involves two people – Rafferty and his impressionable girlfriend Terry-Lynne McLintic. McLintic was videotaped luring little Tori into a car driven by Rafferty. Hours later Tori was dead; raped by Rafferty and killed with a hammer. McLintic insists she was the murderer and it was she who kicked and bludgeoned little Tori.
One of the strangest aspects of this case is McLintic’s admission of guilt to a murder she probably didn’t commit. She was under Rafferty’s influence in the extreme:
- luring Tori into the car
- purchasing a hammer and garbage bag on the way to the homicide scene
- accepting responsibility for Tori’s violent death
McClintic’s upbringing, included that she was given up for adoption and raised in a household where violence and substance abuse were prevalent. Add Rafferty to the mix and McLintic became an impressionable candidate for child abduction, however child murder is questionable. McLintic is already in prison and has been brought out as a witness in the Rafferty case. Taking the hit for this man seems unthinkable to most people, but it is very plausible.
Photographs of the child’s beaten, lifeless body were released in court two days ago, causing the Staffords to leave the courtroom, unable to look at the pictures. The judge advised the jury not to allow its emotions to over- ride it’s rationality when judging Rafferty’s character and involvement in the case. That may seem odd however his comment makes sense: emotion interferes with logic, which in turn interferes with due process. Suppose, by a distant possibility, Rafferty was innocent and there sits a man accused of a horrific crime he has not committed. All is lost: he faces a definitely hanging jury. When emotions reign, applying the law to a crime becomes a challenge.
It is all about applying Canadian criminal law to reach a clear, rational decision that will lead to the longest possible prison sentence within the most secure maximum facility possible for two deeply disturbed individuals. This is the goal of a jury in a criminal case and maintaining a level head is more likely to secure a severe outcome for the guilty party.
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