AKRON, Ohio — Attorneys for Brogan Rafferty, 17, continued to argue on Friday against a jury hearing the recorded confessions their client made to detectives investigating the so-called ‘Craigslist murders.’
Rafferty is charged with murder and attempted murder. He’s accused of assisting Richard Beasley, 52, in a plot that drew job hunters to a rural area of Noble County, Ohio, where they were murdered, then their belongings divided between Beasley and Rafferty.
In a recorded interview with detectives, Rafferty can be heard telling them, “(Beasley) said he needed to do it to survive because he was on the run.”
In another of the interviews, Rafferty was asked about his role in the murder of David Pauley, 51.
“When Mr. Pauly was shot, were you present?” asked detectives.
“No, sir,” answered Rafferty.
“Did you help remove his clothing?” followed the detective.
Again, Rafferty answered, “No, sir.”
The detective then asked, “Did you help put him in the hole or cover him up?”
“I put him in the hole, well, helped put him in the hole,” answered Rafferty.
On Friday, Rafferty’s attorney, John Alexander, continued to argue that his client, who was sixteen at the time, was coerced and intimidated by investigators, who he viewed as authority figures.
Alexander argued before a Summit County common pleas judge that when Rafferty made the statements he was denied access to an attorney and to his parents.
He also argued that Rafferty’s attorney at the time bullied him into accepting a plea deal without having ever looked at any of the evidence.
“He admitted that he did not review any police reports whatsoever, he didn’t review any FBI reports, he didn’t review any sheriff’s reports, he didn’t review any BCI reports. We know he didn’t review any forensic reports because there would be no possible way that it would have been ready,” said Alexander.
The attorney argued that Rafferty’s own attorney was actually acting on behalf of prosecutors who wanted the case settled quickly.
“This man, who is supposed to be protecting his client, who is supposed to be looking out for his interest did anything but. The only thing he did was coerce him into giving them property to begin with and then coercing him into signing this agreement,” said Alexander.
Rafferty’s defense also wants any evidence that was gathered as a result of the interviews to be inadmissible when the case goes to trial.
Summit County prosecutors argued that Rafferty was far from an innocent teenager who could be intimidated by police.
Assistant Summit County Prosecutor Jon Baumoel described Rafferty’s demeanor on the recorded interviews as “arrogant, cool, calm, in control.”
“The defense can call him a child and talk about his young age but once again we have the benefit of those tapes that we can hear how he responded and the intimidation or lack of intimidation when he was faced with these officers at the school, at his residence and at the Noble County sheriff’s office,” said Baumoel. “On November 17th, Brogan Rafferty confessed to aggravated murder, what he said in that statement.”
“This case involved two bodies that were in the ground and people didn’t know where they were, and law enforcement always has an interest in doing whatever they can to find those bodies for the loved ones as soon as possible,” added the prosecutor.
Judge Lynne Callahan has copies of the recorded interviews and after two days of arguments concluded the pretrial hearing by saying she would take their arguments into advisement and issue her ruling soon on what a jury can hear.