Today Tori Stafford must surely be smiling down from Heaven and her family are greatly relieved justice has been served. Michael Rafferty has been found guilty(after a 10 weeks trial and a 10 HR deliberation) on ALL 3 counts: First Degree murder, sexual assault,and kidnapping of the 8 YR old girl 3 YRS ago. He has yet to be sentenced but I assume with the murder charge alone it would automatically be a Life sentence, which here is 25 YRS.
The case and following trial has been gripping the entire country; we all watched and prayed.I cried tears of relief and joy when I heard the verdict. It was an emotional case over these past 3 YRS, esp. to those of us who have children. Everyone wanted justice for Tori and her family and for all abused children. We all KNEW he was guilty right from the beginning,overwhelming evidence, the testimony of his former girlfriend who was an accomplice and pleaded guilty, there was no doubt, but often times there isn’t proper justice and many times innocent people ARE wrongly convicted and guilty people get off( Casey Anthony and OJ Simpson is a case in point) so it still could have gone either way. I was so on edge following this trial I diligently scanned the news daily for updates,and once the jury was out I kept checking and rechecking my computer several times a day for any news of a verdict, and as I was heading to bed saw the headline a verdict had been reached…..and more news later… I had a hard time sleeping as I kept thinking about it and hoping the praying he wouldn’t get away with it. I even woke up at 2am to check my computer, my heart skipped a beat and I held my breath… and there it was: GUILTY! The entire country let out a collective sigh of relief.
Complicating the matter was also that crucial evidence was WITHELD from the jury: it was only released by the media as they were sequestered: the police when they arrested Rafferty found child porn on his computer, a movie about sex killers Homolka and Bernardo,and Internet searches on how to rape an underage girl, but the judge didn’t allow it as “admissable” as it would “taint” the suspect’s reputation and make him “look like a sexual deviant”(which he clearly IS) to the jury, and the police obtained the evidence without a proper warrant! I couldn’t believe it! This is SO relevent; it clearly PROVES motive and intent; it shows his sick perverted fantasies that he acted out when he snatched the 8 YR old girl! It shows the kind of person he is and how he thinks! How could they have NOT included it,and imagine if the jury HAD found him innocent NOT knowing this critical information that had been witheld,and how they’d feel afterwards once they find out and realize they set a guilty man free?
Luckily it ended well. Tori and her family have justice. This case makes us all hug our own kids a bit tighter and to be more vigilant for their safety as well, knowing there ARE sick evil people out there who prey on the innocent,but for now, at least there’s one less psycho sadist out there walking the streets.