AKRON, Ohio -- A Summit County Common Pleas judge was supposed to decide the fate of convicted Craigslist killer, Richard Beasley, on Tuesday.
But, his sentencing has been delayed until April 4 at 10 a.m.
Beasley, 53, 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 farm hand that was placed on Craigslist.
He was also convicted of attempted murder for the shooting of Scott Davis, who escaped after Beasley shot him in the arm after his gun misfired.
The same jury that convicted Beasley recommended the death penalty for his crimes after deliberating a sentence for less than three hours last week.
Summit County Common Pleas Judge Lynne Callahan was to have ruled on that recommendation Tuesday afternoon, but the proceeding was abruptly interrupted before it began.
Beasley was later wheeled into the courtroom wearing red and white prison clothing.
In a brief statement on the record Callahan said:
"Ladies and Gentlemen, please be seated. Thank you for your patience. Every once in a while things happen that are unexpected, inevitable. As such I believe Mr. Whitney (defense attorney Larry Whitney) is going to request a brief continuance. (Whitney answers "yes your honor.") I apologize for the delay. We had hoped that perhaps we could still proceed this afternoon. That is not to be the case. In speaking with counsel from both sides I believe they have also consulted with some family members who were going to speak today. The court will continue its sentencing in these matters ’til Thursday, April the 4th at ten o’clock a.m. and it is my understanding that date is acceptable to everyone, am I correct? (Both sides answer "Yes, your honor") We will be in recess. This matter is continued."
April Weisner of the Summit County Prosecutor's office confirmed in a text message to Fox 8 News that the delay was "a defense attorney was unable to make the sentencing for medical reasons."
Whitney's co-counsel throughout the trial, James Burdon, was not present in the courtroom on Tuesday.
Representatives of each of the victims were prepared to address the court on Tuesday.
Reporters gathered for the sentencing were asked by the court not to speak with any of them as they left the courthouse.
Judge Callahan can either accept the jury’s recommendation of the death penalty, or sentence Beasley to life in prison without the possibility of parole after 25 years, 30 years, or life in prison without parole.
Beasley’s teenage co-defendant, Brogan Rafferty, was convicted of related crimes and sentenced to life in prison last year.
Beasley was in court for less than 10 minutes, but will have to return again next Thursday to learn what his sentence will be.
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