About 200 people protested outside a courthouse in Woodstock, Ont., on Saturday against the transfer of convicted killer Terri-Lynne McClintic from a federal prison in Ontario to an Indigenous healing lodge in Saskatchewan.
« Send her back! » the protesters chanted at the rally.
McClintic, 28, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Tori Stafford, 8, in 2010 and was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 25 years. Stafford, a Woodstock school girl, was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered in 2009.
Many of the protesters in her hometown wore purple, which was Stafford’s favourite colour.
Rodney Stafford, Tori’s father, told the protesters that McClintic doesn’t deserve to serve out her sentence in a healing lodge.
‘It’s not right,’ father says
« A convicted killer was moved somewhere she doesn’t belong and I want do everything I can to put her back because it’s not right. Why should these criminals be able to live a better life than myself, the one going through this issue? »
« Terri-Lynne’s got to go back to max security where she belongs, » he said. « My little girl Victoria deserves so much better and she deserves justice. »
Hundreds of protesters chant “Send her back” in reference to convicted murderer Terri-Lynne McClintic, who less than a decade into her life sentence, was transferred to a healing lodge in Saskatchewan <a href= »https://twitter.com/hashtag/Justice4Tori?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw »>#Justice4Tori</a> <a href= »https://twitter.com/hashtag/ToriStafford?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw »>#ToriStafford</a> <a href= »https://t.co/PiEKF4YV79″>pic.twitter.com/PiEKF4YV79</a>
Stafford said, when Tori was born on July 15, 2000, he was sitting in a chair, holding her, and he told her that he would protect her until the day he died.
« You can’t understand the pain and the hurt that goes through you when you realize that one of your bear cubs has been taken, one of your children is gone. It’s tough to deal with every day, » he said.
« On the inside, it’s killing me. But each time I walk past one of you guys, and you guys give me support, that gives me that much more strength to stand here and do what I want to do, and that’s stand up for my daughter, » he told the protesters.
Stafford said he was only one voice against the transfer, but support has grown since he first found out.
« A month and half later, I have a nation of support. It just goes to prove that one person can actually make a difference. »
McClintic moved earlier this year
McClintic was serving time at the Grand Valley Institution for Women, a maximum security prison in Kitchener, Ont. After four years, she was moved into the prison’s medium security area.
Earlier this year, Correctional Service Canada moved her to a healing lodge on the Nekaneet First Nation near Maple Creek, Sask., according to Stafford’s grandmother, Doreen Graichen.
McClintic and her boyfriend, Michael Rafferty, grabbed Stafford from a Woodstock street. The girl’s body was found three months later in a wooded area near Mount Forest.
Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 for kidnapping, sexual assault causing bodily harm and first-degree murder in Tori’s death.
The protesters said they want the federal government to pass legislation, which they call « Tori’s law, » that would ensure any person convicted of the murder of a child would spend his or her entire sentence in a maximum security prison.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said on Thursday that a review into the decision to move McClintic from the federal prison to the healing lodge will be coming shortly.
Many of the people gathered in front of the courthouse are wearing purple, which was Tori Stafford’s favourite colour. <a href= »https://t.co/XWtk4PDC7D »>pic.twitter.com/XWtk4PDC7D</a>