Her killer back in, Tori’s dad hails win

The Observer (Sarnia) - - FRONT PAGE - RANDY RICH­MOND

The killer of eight-year-old Tori Stafford has been moved only a few kilo­me­tres away from where many of the slain girl’s fam­ily live.

But it still comes as a great re­lief.

Terri-Lynne McClin­tic, serv­ing a life sen­tence for the first-de­gree mur­der of the eight-year-old Wood­stock girl in 2009, was moved Wed­nes­day from a heal­ing lodge in Saskatchewan to a prison in Ed­mon­ton.

Tori’s fam­ily was told last night.

“I was re­lieved and very grate­ful,” the girl’s grand­mother, Doreen Graichen, said Thurs­day from her home in Ed­mon­ton, where many of her fam­ily live. “I feel awe­some and more at peace. She is on the other side of Ed­mon­ton, but we will man­age.”

McClin­tic was taken to the Ed­mon­ton In­sti­tu­tion for Women, a min­i­mum, medium and max­i­mum se­cu­rity fa­cil­ity for 167 women, where she will be placed in medium se­cu­rity, Graichen said.

It’s “a vic­tory for the lit­tle guy,” said Tori’s fa­ther Rod­ney Stafford, who led the bat­tle for McClin­tic’s re­turn to prison. “I am very happy with the news.”

McClin­tic pleaded guilty to first­de­gree mur­der in 2010, and tes­ti­fied in 2012 at the trial of for­mer boyfriend Michael Raf­ferty, who was found guilty of kid­nap­ping, sex­ual as­sault and first-de­gree mur­der.

At his trial, her vi­o­lent up­bring­ing and na­ture were re­vealed. Later that year, she pleaded guilty to as­sault­ing an­other in­mate at Grand Val­ley In­sti­tu­tion in Kitch­ener.

She was trans­ferred last year from the Kitch­ener medium/min­i­mum se­cu­rity prison to the medium/ min­i­mum se­cu­rity and open con­cept Oki­maw Ohci heal­ing lodge in Saskatchewan.

The Saskatchewan lodge of­fers in­de­pen­dent liv­ing in sin­gle and fam­ily res­i­den­tial units that in­clude liv­ing rooms and kitch­enettes, and coun­selling and sup­port for Indige­nous peo­ple, or those who have com­mit­ted to Indige­nous learn­ing.

Many of Tori’s rel­a­tives learned of the trans­fer soon af­ter it hap­pened, but the no­ti­fi­ca­tion from Cor­rec­tional Ser­vice Canada did not reach her fa­ther, Rod­ney Stafford, un­til the fall of this year.

Af­ter Post­media News broke the story, anger over the trans­fer spread to Queen’s Park and the House of Com­mons, where pro­vin­cial and fed­eral Tories pushed the fed­eral Lib­er­als to re­verse the de­ci­sion.

Pub­lic Safety Min­is­ter Ralph Goodale or­dered a re­view of the de­ci­sion and cor­rec­tions poli­cies.

Stafford and his sup­port­ers ral­lied on Par­lia­ment Hill Nov. 2 and in Wood­stock the next day. Stafford also wrote an open let­ter to Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau ap­peal­ing to him as a fa­ther to re­verse the de­ci­sion.

“If it wasn’t the na­tion be­hind us, it was pretty darn close,” Graichen said Thurs­day.

On Wed­nes­day, Goodale an­nounced new rules for prison­ers.

Fed­eral prison­ers will have a harder time be­ing trans­ferred to Indige­nous heal­ing lodges if they’re serv­ing long sen­tences, he said.

Prison­ers won’t be el­i­gi­ble for trans­fers to heal­ing lodges with­out se­cured perime­ters un­til they’re in the prepa­ra­tion-for-re­lease phase of their sen­tences.

Cor­rec­tional Ser­vice Canada also will have to con­sider in­mates’ be­hav­iour and how close they are to be­ing el­i­gi­ble for un­escorted tem­po­rary ab­sences from prison be­fore trans­fer­ring them.

In ad­di­tion, the deputy com­mis­sioner for women will be in­volved in de­ci­sions to en­sure na­tional stan­dards are ap­plied con­sis­tently and rel­e­vant fac­tors are con­sid­ered.

The changes will ap­ply to past and fu­ture cases, the gov­ern­ment said.

But Tori’s fam­ily didn’t know un­til Wed­nes­day night if and when McClin­tic would be moved from the heal­ing lodge.

Rel­a­tives have dealt with Tori’s death in dif­fer­ent ways, with some avoid­ing re­minders of the bru­tal killing that come with of­fi­cial no­ti­fi­ca­tions about McClin­tic’s ev­ery ap­point­ment or course taken in prison, Graichen said.

When she got the no­ti­fi­ca­tion last year about the trans­fer, she and many other rel­a­tives de­cided there was lit­tle they could do about it, Graichen said.

Her son, Rod­ney, proved them wrong.

McClin­tic

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