A Wrenching Decision

The Tori Stafford murder trial has turned a crucial corner; we now know the landscape of the issues. The pathologist has provided the gruesome details of horrific injuries sustained by Tori; ones that even reading about, cause me to cringe. But, for Mr. Rafferty, a gigantic sigh of relief ensues because there’s no surviving physical evidence of sexual assault – the remains were too badly decomposed.

That leaves the charge of sexual assault and, perhaps, the murder charge he’s facing, in a potentially precarious position, predicated as both now are on the sole evidence of  Terri-Lynne McLintic.

I don’t envy the jurors their task in deciding whether this was a joint enterprise or, as Michael Rafferty’s defense counsel will argue, a psychotic acting out by McClintic, who, by her testimony, implicates Rafferty as the moving force for the abduction, intending to satisfy his perverse desire for sex with a young child.

She’s changed her story (radically) several times, originally pointing the finger at Rafferty alone, then later testifying as to her own responsibility for the actual killing. Everything rides on whether any, or how much, credibility is given to her account, particularly as it relates to the “logic” of the abduction.

This is a woman who has admitted under cross-examination to microwaving a helpless puppy, gratuitous attacks on others both before and after killing Tori Stafford, and can only ber seen as the lowest form of life imaginable. Relying on anything she says would have to be mixed with a large grain of salt.

Mr. Rafferty is almost undoubtedly going to have to account for himself by testifying. He’ll be meticulous in skirting any culpability by some combination of shock, bewilderment and helplessness regarding McClintic’s actions. But, whether or not he’s believed, the entire prosecution rests on the jury believing a substantial portion the testimony of a truly revolting excuse for a human being.

 

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