- (Photo: Reuters/Mike Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal/Pool)
Richard Beasley has been found guilty of committing three murders using the website Craigslist to offer his victims jobs, then rob and kill them. A jury now must decide whether Beasley will face the death penalty for his crimes.
Beasley allegedly mentored Brogan Rafferty in the crimes, and the 18-year-old boy was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole. He never testified against Beasley, who was believed to have masterminded the entire ordeal. Beasley maintained his innocence throughout the trial and said he was attacked by the one survivor.
"He was the mastermind behind this plot" and used "prior calculation and design," prosecutor Jonathan Baumoel told jurors.
Beasley lured people on Craigslist with the promise of work on a farm. Four men replied to Beasley's ad, and three were left dead after their meeting. Ralph Geiger, 56; David Pauley, 51; and Timothy Kern, 47, were all killed by the former convict.
Survivor Scott Davis said that he heard the sound of a gun being cocked and was able to knock the gun away after Beasley shot him in the arm. He was one of the star witnesses at the trial.
"I spun around… I was worried about bleeding to death," Davis said while recounting his story of survival. According to the Associated Press, Davis told the court that he immediately ran away from Beasley after disarming him and hid in the woods for over seven hours before being found.
Beasley, however, offered a different account of the meeting with Davis, which the jury apparently did not believe. He insisted that Davis was the one who had the gun and was seeking revenge for Beasley being an informant for the police.
"It (the gun) misfired three times, about two feet from my face, and I ran into the woods and he ran after me. I said, 'That's your six,' so if he was going to kill me, he was going to have to do it with his hands," Beasley testified.