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Michael Rafferty sentenced for life for the murder of 8-year-old Victoria Stafford

Michael Rafferty was convicted by an Ontario court for killing eight-year-old Victoria Stafford, who went missing near her school in April 2009.

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Girls place flowers among crosses that cover the beach in a display of more than 2,000 white crosses honoring the dead. (David McNew/AFP/Getty Images)

Michael Rafferty was called a "monster" by an Ontario judge who sentenced him on Tuesday to life in prison for the murder of 8-year old Victoria "Tori" Stafford, the Canadian Press reported

“You have snuffed out the life of a beautiful, talented, vivacious little girl," said Justice Thomas Heeney during his sentencing of the 31-year-old, according to the Globe and Mail. “And for what? So that you could gratify your twisted and deviant desire to have sex with a child. Only a monster could commit such an act of pure evil.”

After a 10-week trial, Rafferty was convicted of first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm, and kidnapping in the death of Victoria Stafford, and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years, CTV News reported

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Rafferty took the stand after hearing his conviction, and tearfully apologized to Stafford's family, but still maintained that he was innocent, according to the Canadian Press. 

“I am guilty of many crimes and there are a lot of things I am very, very ashamed of, but these three counts I still stand firmly behind not guilty,” Rafferty said.

Stafford's mother Tara McDonald spoke of the “excruciating, unexplainable pain and heartache” Tori's loss caused her, according to the Globe and Mail. 

The 8-year-old was kidnapped outside her Ontario school in April 2009 by Rafferty’s partner-in-crime Terri-Lynne McClintic, who brought Tori to him as he waited in a nearby parking lot, the Canadian Press reported. 

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McClintic was also sentenced to life imprisonment in Tori’s death two years ago, and was a key witness in the trial, according to the Canadian Press. 

"Not one person can say they feel the same way as me," said Tori's 14-year-old brother Daryn in a statement, read in court by a lawyer, BBC News reported. "My sister was the only person I had to talk to. Someone that felt what I felt, cried when I cried, laughed when I laughed and now I feel alone, like the world is playing a sick trick on me, but it's not. This is my reality. No more fun times, just old memories. No more I love you's, just an empty spot in my heart."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/canada/120515/michael-rafferty-sentenced-for-child-murder-victoria-stafford