In November, 17-year-old Brogan Rafferty was sentenced to life without parole for his part in three murders and one attempted murder. Now it’s time for an Ohio jury to decide the fate of the man Rafferty’s attorneys argued was the mastermind behind the killings. Jury deliberations began Monday evening.
Richard Beasley, 53, is charged with aggravated murder in the deaths of Timothy Kern, 47, Ralph Geiger, 56 and David Pauley, 51, all of whom responded to a Craigslist ad offering a job at a ranch that didn’t actually exist. When the men arrived, they were killed and robbed. Beasley and Rafferty were arrested after a fourth victim, Scott Davis, 48, escaped after being shot in the elbow.
During Rafferty’s trial, prosecutors argued that Rafferty was a willing participant in the crimes, while the defense said he acted out of fear. In a taped police interview played for jurors, Rafferty said he was “ordered” to dig a grave for one of the victims, and that Beasley “watched him like a hawk.” Rafferty also said Beasley reminded him that he knew where his mother and sister lived.
Beasley has an extensive criminal record and has served a total of 15 years in jail, on charges including drug trafficking. He worked as an unpaid chaplain, and, according to his 70-year-old mother, “has a very caring heart.” He acted as a sort of mentor to Rafferty who’d been having difficulties since his parents’ divorce. The two went fishing and volunteered together. Beasley pleaded not guilty and faces the death penalty if convicted.