Jury Recommends Death Penalty in Craigslist Murder Case

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Richard Beasley entering courtroom before sentencing verdict

AKRON, Ohio —  The jury has recommended the death penalty for so-called Craigslist killer, Richard Beasley.

Summit County Common Pleas Judge Lynne Callahan will now have to decide whether or not to accept that recommendation when she sentences Beasley on Tuesday, March 26.

She could also sentence Beasley to life in prison without the possibility of parole after 25 years, 30 years or life without the possibility of parole.

Last week, a jury found Beasley guilty of more than 30 counts, nine of them aggravated murder.

Beasley was convicted in the murders of Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron, David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Virginia, and Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon, who responded to a help-wanted advertisement for a farmhand that was placed on Craigslist.

Because there are only three victims, Judge Callahan nstructed the jury that the murder charges merge into only three for the purpose of sentencing.

Beasley was also convicted of attempted murder for the shooting of Scott Davis who escaped by running through a wooded area of southern Ohio after he was shot in the arm by Beasley, whose gun misfired.

Many of the charges for which he was convicted include firearm, kidnapping and aggravated robbery specifications which impact the severity of the penalty.

Proceedings began Tuesday with attorneys arguing legal motions about the charges.

Defense Attorney Larry Whitney has introduced a motion asking for the jury to hear testimony about the sentence given to co-defendant Brogan Rafferty last year.

Rafferty was convicted of related crimes and was sentenced to a life term.

Prosecutors on Tuesday argued that the sentence given Rafferty, now 19, is not relevant because Rafferty was a juvenile at the time and therefore was ineligible for the death penalty.

The arguments were held without a jury present in the courtroom.

Among those in the courtroom were Beasley’s mother, Carol, and relatives of victim Timothy Kern.

On the stand, Mrs. Beasley professed her support for her son: “I love Richard with all my heart.”

Our Dave Nethers said Beasley spent a great deal of the day with his head in his hands. Dave said Beasley appeared to be wiping away tears while his mother testified about his tumultuous childhood.

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