Summit Co. Prosecutor to Seek Death Penalty in Craigslist Killings

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Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh announced today that when charges are filed against Richard J. Beasley in connection with the murder and attempted murder of four victims in Noble and Summit Counties, her office will prosecute the case.

Prosecutor Walsh made the announcement on Monday following discussions between her office, Noble County Prosecuting Attorney Cliff Sickler, the Ohio Attorney Generals Office and the U.S. Attorneys for the northern and southern districts of Ohio.

According to April Wiesner, Director of Communications for Prosecutor Walsh, Beasley has yet to be charged with murder and attempted murder but it is expected that he will be charged in the near future. Beasley is currently being held on a $1 million bond at the Summit County Jail on unrelated charges of aggravated trafficking in drugs and compelling prostitution.

Brogan Rafferty, a 16-year old junior at Stow High School, has been charged with aggravated murder and attempted murder in connection with the alleged crimes. Authorities say the victims apparently responded to a Craigslist ad for a job and were lured to a cattle farm in southeast Ohio.

“In deciding where and how to try this case, our primary concern was doing what is in the best interest of the victims and their families,” said Prosecutor Walsh. “In trying the case in Summit County, we will ensure the surviving victim and the families of the other victims do not suffer through multiple lengthy trials and will provide a more convenient location for at least some of the families and the surviving victim.”

According to Walsh’s office, all of the criminal activity originated in Summit County and most of the victims families have ties to the Stark and Summit County area.

Walsh’s office says they will seek the death penalty against Beasley for his involvement once he is formally charged.

The drug and prostitution charges for which Beasley was arraigned last week are moving forward as scheduled, said Walsh. His next court appearance on those charges will be December 22.