Jury Selection Begins in Craigslist Murder Case

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Richard Beasley, 53, was wheeled into the courtroom of Summit County Common Pleas Judge Lynne Callahan Monday wearing a dark suit.

In the past he has shielded his face from cameras. During his jury selection he made no such attempt as he appeared to listen intently to the individual questioning of potential jurors.

Beasley faces a possible death penalty if he is convicted in the murders of Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron, David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk Virginia, and Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon.

The bodies of Geiger and Pauley were discovered in shallow graves in a rural area of Noble County, Ohio, in 2011. Timothy Kern's body was discovered near the Rolling Acres Mall.

A fourth victim, Scott Davis, 48, of South Carolina, was shot in the arm but escaped by running and hiding in the woods.

Beasley is accused of luring the men using a Craigslist ad for a farm job. Together with co-defendant Brogan Rafferty, he is accused of killing the men then dividing their belongings.

Rafferty, 19, was convicted of 24 counts last year, including multiple counts of aggravated murder and was given a life sentence in November.

It is believed he will be called to testify against Beasley when his trial begins.

Beasley faces a 27-count indictment.

More than 200 potential jurors in the Beasley case were ushered into Akron's Civic Theater Tuesday for the start of jury selection.

Later, they were brought one at a time into Judge Callahan's courtroom, where they were asked if they could commit to a lengthy trial, expected to take until possibly March 22, with a second sentencing phase to begin in April if Beasley is convicted.

Potential jurors are also being asked about any opinions they might have because of pre-trial publicity in the case and if they can keep an open mind in spite of what they might have heard or read.

Judge Callahan is also questioning each potential juror individually to determine their feelings about the death penalty.

One potential juror was sent home because of a planned cruise. Another was sent home because of a medical condition.

Most who were questioned by Judge Callahan said they were able to keep an open mind and follow the instructions about the law with regard to the possible penalties.

Defense attorneys are questioning jury candidates about whether they can reject the death penalty even if they were to find Beasley guilty of murder.

Attorney Larry Whitney also asked potential jurors if they had heard news reports identifying Beasley as the "kingpin" of the Craigslist murders: "You can appreciate that may or may not be the fact?"

Whitney is asking the potential jurors to come into the trial with an "open slate."

*For additional coverage on this case, click HERE