Ohio man sentenced to death for Craigslist plot

AKRON, Ohio — A self-styled street preacher was sentenced to death Thursday in the killings of three down-and-out men lured by bogus job offers posted on Craigslist.

The jury that convicted Richard Beasley of murder recommended that he face execution. The judge had the option of reducing the sentence to life in prison.

Beasley, 53, was convicted of teaming up with a teenager in 2011 to use the promise of jobs on a southeast Ohio farm to lure them into robberies. Three men were killed, and a fourth who was wounded testified at Beasley’s trial.

The judge read the three death sentences in a hushed courtroom crowded with victims’ relatives, some of them holding back tears,

Beasley skipped the chance to speak to the judge before the sentencing. He asked to speak later, but the judge said that was his chance, and he passed on it. He listened to the verdict with his head on his chest, sitting in a wheelchair he uses for back pain.

Beasley’s co-defendant, who was 16 at the time of the crimes, was too young to face the death penalty. Brogan Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole on his conviction last year.

One victim was killed near Akron, and the others were shot at a southeast Ohio farm during bogus job interviews.

The slain men were Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron; David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Va.; and Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon. All were looking for a fresh start in life, prosecutors said repeatedly during the trial.

The survivor, Scott Davis, now 49, testified that he heard the click of a gun as he walked in front of Beasley at the reputed job site. Davis, who was shot in an arm, knocked the weapon aside, fled into the woods and tipped police.

Beasley, who returned to Ohio from Texas in 2004 after serving several years in prison on a burglary conviction, claimed at trial that Davis had in fact pulled a gun on him in retaliation for Beasley serving as a police informant in a motorcycle gang investigation.

In arguing the sentence before the jury, both sides highlighted Rafferty’s case: The defense said his life sentence should factor into the jury’s deliberations but prosecutors said it shouldn’t because Rafferty’s age ruled out the death penalty entirely.

The jury recommended execution after hearing two hours of testimony from witnesses, including Beasley’s tearful mother, who were called to portray him sympathetically and press for leniency.

Carol Beasley testified that her son had a troubled childhood and suffered physical abuse by his stepfather. She also said she learned within the past year that her son had been sexually abused by neighborhood youngsters.

“I always felt there was much more than he told me,” she said.

As she testified, Beasley slumped forward, his chin on his chest and his right hand covering his eyes.

The defense also called a psychologist, John Fabian, who testified that Beasley suffers from depression, alcohol abuse, low self-esteem and a feeling of isolation, all possible results of a troubled, abusive childhood.

Prosecutor Jonathan Baumoel had urged jurors to consider the “enormous” weight of Beasley’s crimes as they considered his punishment, calling him “the worst of the worst.”

More in Local News

Snohomish man, 63, missing from home since Monday

He left without his keys, wallet and phone, saying something about going to “the river.”

Firefighters come to the rescue and give mom new stroller

Donations to the Good Neighbor Program covered the $143.20 cost.

Case unresolved: The noose at an Edmonds construction site

Though two were fired over comments about it, police were unable to determine who put it there.

To get drug money, Lynnwood man says he cut 911 wires

Those wires happened to be the ones used by 911 dispatchers, but emergency services weren’t affected.

February trial set for suspect in deadly Marysville shooting

There had been questions about Wayne Alpert’s mental health.

Fatal car crash reported on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens

The 3 p.m. accident and investigation stopped traffic in both directions near Machias Road.

Motorcyclist killed in crash had high level of THC

A motorcyclist had more than eight times the legal limit… Continue reading

Investigation recommends girl shot by officers face charges

The teen is accused of assaulting her boyfriend and the responding police officers.

Signs show the rates for using the express toll lanes for traffic headed southbound on Interstate 405, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in Bothell, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee announced plans Tuesday to try to decrease congestion on I-405 in answer to commuter complaints that the new express lane tolling system is making traffic worse. The governor said he would not be shutting down the tolling system as some people have called for. But the state transportation department is making plans to add new northbound general purpose lanes to ease some of the congestion and also plan to make it easier to move into and out of the express lanes. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Higher tolls could improve traffic speed in I-405 toll lanes

A report recommends lifting on the maximum toll and charging only by segment.

Most Read