WOODSTOCK, Ont. — Michael Rafferty has been granted an extension to apply to appeal his first-degree murder conviction in the brutal killing of Tori Stafford, 8.
Rafferty was convicted May 12 of kidnapping, raping and murdering Stafford and was sentenced to life in prison.
According to reports, the Ontario Court of Appeal granted Rafferty the extension on Oct. 26. Rafferty missed the original deadline of 30 days after sentencing to file his notice of appeal. Rafferty claimed he had been unable to use the telephone to contact legal counsel.
Rafferty’s original appeal documents – filed from Kingston Penitentiary and received by the Ontario Court of Appeal on July 26 — say the jury didn’t understand the “evidentiary requirement” to convict for first-degree murder.
Rafferty hasn't filed any additional appeal documents.
An appeal date won't be set until Rafferty files the necessary documents.
His trial lawyer, Dirk Derstine, isn't handling the appeal.
Stafford was abducted outside her school in Woodstock — located about 140 km southwest of Toronto — on April 8, 2009.
Her battered body was found under a rock pile about 130 km north near Mount Forest, Ont., 103 days later.
Terri-Lynne McClintic, Rafferty’s girlfriend at the time, is also serving a life sentence for the murder after pleading guilty in April 2010.
In statements to police, she said Rafferty was the one who killed Tori with a hammer after raping her.
But on the stand at Rafferty's trial, McClintic changed her story and said she was the one who bludgeoned Tori to death.