Men who Answered Craigslist ad Take Stand in Murder Trial

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Richard Beasley in court Feb. 27 (Photo from Dave Nethers)

AKRON– An FBI agent testified on Tuesday about efforts investigators made to identify the creator of a Craigslist help wanted ad that is believed to have lured three men to their graves.

FBI Special Agent Corey Collins was the first witness called in the murder trial of Richard Beasley on Wednesday.

Collins explained how investigators traced the ad to the computer on which it originated and then efforts to start eliminating individuals who could have created the listing.

Collins testified that through the process of elimination the man they identified was Beasley.

Beasley is on trial for the murders of Ralph Geiger, 56 of Akron, David Pauley 51 of Norfolk Virginia and Timothy Kern, 47, of Massilon.

All are believed to have responded to the help wanted ad only to be killed for their belongings.

The most compelling testimony Wednesday morning came from three other men who said that they too applied for the farm hand job.

Daniel DeWalt testified that he contacted a man he knew as ‘Jack’ through the Craigslist ad.

“I grew up in the country and hung around a lot of farmers and it sounded like a nice country job,” said DeWalt.

He testified that he later met with ‘Jack’ at the food court of the Chapel Hill Mall in Akron.

DeWalt testified that ‘Jack’ offered to buy several vehicles from him and ultimately offered him the job.

He testified that ‘Jack’ told him they would need to go to the farm in Caldwell, Ohio to show him the property, but that the tone of the conversation changed after he told ‘Jack’ he wanted to bring a gun .

“He said when you first get down there we are going to walk the property and I said well I’m bringing my gun because I’m not walking in the woods like that without a weapon,” said DeWalt, adding “I’m not walking without a weapon, and he tells me no you’re not. I’m going to be the only one with a gun.”

DeWalt said he started becoming suspicious of the offer and eventually investigated whether the address of the farm actually existed.

“I said you know there’s a lot of stuff that goes on on Craigslist and I’m thinking what if somebody is trying to get my vehicles before I get down there and then when I get down there shoot me and take my stuff.”

Soon afterwards, DeWalt says the job offer was withdrawn.

“What is your understanding as to why you did not get the job?” asked prosecutor Emily Pelphrey.

“Because I caught on to what he was doing,” answered DeWalt, who identified Richard Beasley as the man he met with and knew as ‘Jack’.

Beasley’s trial is expected to last well into the month of March.

If he is convicted he could get a death sentence.

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