The Paul Bernardo courtroom

25Mar12

The continuing trial of Michael Rafferty for the 2009 rape and murder of eight-year old Tori Stafford of Woodstock, Ontario, is generating public interest the same way a similar, much publicized murder trial did 17 years ago – the  1995 trial of serial killer Paul Bernardo in connection with the kidnapping, torture, rape and murder of Ontario teenagers Leslie Mahaffy in 199 and Kristen French in 1992.

Tried separately was Bernardo’s wife and partner-in-crime Karla Homolka, whose sister Tammy was also sexually assaulted and murdered by the couple in 1990.

Working for the Toronto Star, I was tasked to produce a courtroom layout that would give Star readers a glimpse of the actual courtroom –  and where and how the drama would play out. Although access to information was tightly restricted, I managed to get inside Courtroom 6-1 at the University Ave. courthouse in Toronto a day before the trial and obtain facts about the seating arrangement for what would be arguably the biggest criminal trial in Canadian history.

For a detailed look at this graphic, click here to view a PDF.

Bernardo was eventually sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole for 25 years. Now 46, he continues to serve his sentence at the 160-year old Kingston Penitentiary, Ontario’s home for its most notorious offenders.

Homolka managed to plea bargain for a lighter sentence. She was imprisoned 12 years for manslaughter and was released in 2005.

On the Stafford murder, Rafferty’s girlfriend Terry-Lynne McClintic, 21, had two years ago pleaded guilty to killing Stafford and has since been serving her life sentence. She is now a key witness in Rafferty’s trial.

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INFOGRAPHIC: SHOOTING AT IPPERWASH

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Graphic by Alfred Elicierto. Published in the Toronto Star on April 25, 1995.

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Also in this blog:
Tragic end to a bombing raid
Treating gunshot wounds
Recalling the Nimrod air crash in Lake Ontario
What animals mean when they ‘talk’
Newfoundland’s cod fishery killed by overfishing

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