Updated: Wed, 11 Apr 2012 22:31:10 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Stafford's blood almost certainly found in Rafferty's car



Stafford's blood almost certainly found in Rafferty's car

The dried blood found in the vehicle of Michael Rafferty, who is accused of killing and sexually assaulting Victoria (Tori) Stafford, almost certainly came from the eight-year-old girl.

Experts from the Centre of Forensic Sciences, who tested several items seized from Rafferty's home and car, testified before a London, Ont. court Wednesday.

Forensic biologist Jennifer McLean said the sample collected from the rear passenger door moulding of Rafferty's 2003 Honda Civic was compared to a DNA profile created for Tori from her parents' DNA, one of her teeth and hair from a comb.

The DNA in the stain matched the girl's profile, testified McLean, adding that the probability that the blood was not Tori's is one in 150 trillion.

McLean also testified that a mixture of blood and semen was found on the back of the front passenger seat.

She said that Rafferty could not be excluded as the source of the semen and Terri-Lynne McClintic, who pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of Tori two years ago, could not be excluded as the source of the blood.

More testimony expected about two blonde hairs

McClintic previously testified that she had covered Tori with a black pea coat so the girl would be hidden from view. A coat matching the description she gave was found in Rafferty's house, and testing revealed the presence of two blond hairs.

McLean is expected to testify about the hairs on Thursday.

Court is also expected to hear Thursday about Rafferty's past, as the Crown has indicated it will call witnesses about his connections to the Mount Forest area.

Rafferty, 31, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping.

Tori disappeared on April 8, 2009, while walking home from her school in Woodstock, Ont. Her body was discovered more than three months later in a rural area 100 kilometres north of the city.

The Crown contends Tori was lured to Rafferty's car by McClintic. The pair then drove the eight-year-old first to Guelph and later to Mount Forest where she was allegedly raped in Rafferty's vehicle and later killed.

McLean also described how investigators found a gym bag inside the car which had DNA from three individuals. Testing showed that two of those were likely Rafferty and Tori.

DNA evidence key to Crown's case

Earlier Wednesday, the jury heard about other evidence collected from Rafferty's car.

Barbara Doupe, a hair and fibre expert with the Centre of Forensic Sciences, said a piece of fabric was found in Rafferty's Honda Civic and it appeared to have been cut with a knife.

Last month, McClintic testified that Rafferty had instructed her to cut out a portion of his back seat and throw it out the window as the two drove back to Woodstock on Highway 401 after hiding the eight-year-old's body under some rocks.

Doupe said the fabric, composed of fibre and foam, was a match to a sample taken from another Honda Civic.

Court has already been told that Rafferty's car was missing its backseat after police arrested him on May 19, 2009. The jury has also heard that police searched long stretches of Highway 401 but were unable to recover any pieces of the seat.

The DNA evidence is expected to play a key role in the Crown's case after a pathologist testified last week that Tori's body was too decomposed to determine whether she had been sexually assaulted.

McClintic, who is serving a life sentence, told the court last month she killed Tori after stomping and hitting the girl with a hammer, contradicting her previous statements that Rafferty delivered the fatal blows.

Rafferty's trial, which began in early March, is expected to last for several more weeks.

With files from the Associated Press

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