Jury recommends death penalty for Richard Beasley

12:06 AM, Mar 21, 2013   |    comments
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AKRON --  The jury deciding the fate of Richard Beasley has recommended he be put to death for the murders of three men.

Beasley held his head in his hands as the jury's recommendation was read in court and did not look at anyone. The families of the three men who were killed embraced one another in the courtroom.

Judge Lynne S. Callahan will formally sentence Beasley at 1:15 p.m. on March 26.  Family members of the victims are expected to give impact statements to the court at that time.

The same jury convicted Beasley, 53, last week in the aggravated murders of three men who were lured to their deaths by the promise of a job posted on the on-line site, Craigslist.

The three men killed were Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron; David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Va.; and Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon.

The jury had three choices in terms of punishment: execution, life in prison without parole or life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 or 30 years.

Jurors received the case early this afternoon after a brief hearing that brought witnesses to the stand in an effort to convince the jury to spare Beasley's life.

Those witnesses included a psychologist who testified that Beasley suffered from a personality disorder and Beasley's own mother who told the jurors Beasley endured an abusive childhood.

In the end, jurors unanimously determined that those factors did not mitigate their decision and chose to recommend the death penalty for Beasley.

A teenage co-defendant, Brogan Rafferty, is already serving life in prison after a conviction last fall. Rafferty, because he was a teenager at the time of the murders, was ineligible for the death penalty.

Summit County Prosecuting Attorney Sherri Bevan Walsh and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine confirm that a jury recommended that Richard Beasley, 53, of Yale Street in Akron, receive the death penalty.

The jury deliberated for slightly more than two hours following a one-day mitigation hearing.

"I appreciate and commend the jury for their hard work in listening to weeks of testimony, considering the evidence and then determining Mr. Beasley's guilt and recommending he be put to death for his actions. That cannot have been easy, and I am certain they did not make these decisions lightly," said Prosecutor Walsh.

"I would also like to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation for conducting a thorough and exhaustive investigation and the Ohio Attorney General's Office Special Prosecution Division for joining my office in prosecuting both Beasley and his accomplice, Brogan Rafferty."

Beasley and his then-16-year-old accomplice, Brogan Rafferty of Stow, lured unemployed men to Akron using an ad on Craigslist. The ad offered a farm caretaker job in Noble County with a weekly salary of $300, housing and use of the property and vehicles on that property.

Beasley and Rafferty shot four of the men who responded to the ad. Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron; David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, VA; and Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon, all died and were buried in shallow graves. Scott Davis, 48, of South Carolina, managed to escape and seek help at a nearby house.

"Richard Beasley was found guilty of committing very serious crimes, taking the lives of three innocent men who were simply looking for a new start in life, and injuring another," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. "He is now going to be held accountable for his actions."

"Beasley is a master manipulator. He manipulated his victims, and then he tried to manipulate the jurors into believing his incredible story of innocence and tales of woe in an effort to spare his life," said Prosecutor Walsh. "I am glad that the jury was able to see through his lies and recommend an appropriate punishment."


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