AKRON, Ohio -- Investigators with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and from Noble County, Ohio, testified Monday as the murder trial of Richard Beasley started its second week.
Beasley, 53, is accused of using a help wanted ad on Craigslist to lure Ralph Geiger, 56, Timothy Kern, 47, David Pauley, 51, to their graves in 2011.
All three men hoped to get a farm hand job on a rural property in southern Ohio but ended up being killed and buried in shallow graves.
Allan Buxton, a computer forensic specialist with the Ohio BCI, testified on Monday about his examination of computers to which Beasley and some of the victims had access.
Buxton testified about finding evidence that the computers were used to communicate about the help wanted ad.
Former Noble County Sheriff's Office Detective Jason Mackie also testified that he was contacted in November 2011 after Scott Davis claimed to have been shot in a wooded area of Caldwell, Ohio, after meeting with Beasley about the job.
Davis told authorities that he escaped by running through the woods as Beasley continued shooting at him.
Mackie testified that investigators found an empty, hand-dug grave while looking for Davis' missing hat in the woods off of Don Warner Road.
But at the time, Davis was the only known victim of a shooting there until the sister of David Pauley saw a story about the shooting on the Internet.
Pauley had been missing since October after hoping to get a farm hand job in southern Ohio.
"We got a call from a woman in Maine," said Buxton. "(She) called the sheriff's office and stated that her brother had responded to an ad on Craigslist."
The woman sent copies of the ad to investigators, and Buxton said there were a lot of similarities between it and the same ad that brought Davis to the area.
"The name of the person they were contacting, which was Jack, was the same. The phone number that they had given to contact was the same. It had a lot of similarities," said Buxton.
"So at this point did your investigation the focus of the investigation turn a little bit?" asked Assistant Prosecutor Emily Pelphrey.
"Well, it didn't take us long to suspect there might be a body we need to locate," answered Buxton.
Soon afterward, authorities located the shallow grave in which Pauley was buried.
Buxton said their investigation also revealed that a third man, Ralph Geiger, was also missing after answering a similar help wanted ad.
Geiger's body was also discovered in a shallow grave in the same area not far from where Scott Davis said he was shot by Beasley,
Beasley has been in a wheelchair throughout the trial and in all of his pre-trial hearings.
Buxton testified on Monday that when Beasley was first arrested and during his questioning he seemed to have "no walking impairments."
Summit County Common Pleas Judge Lynne Callahan prepared jurors for what could be a lengthy trial lasting well into the month of March.
Although there is a gag order preventing all parties involved from speaking about the case, it appears after Monday that prosecutors are moving rapidly through their witnesses.
Beasley faces the possibility of a death sentence if he is convicted.
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