Defense rests in craigslist killings trial of Stow teen Brogan Rafferty

AKRON, Ohio - After psychologist Dr. James Eisenberg testified Wednesday morning that Brogan Rafferty, 17, acted out of fear in the craigslist killings, thinking his life, and his families lives, were in danger, the defense rested their case.

The Stow teen is accused of helping murder three men and shooting a fourth in a phony craigslist job offer. Rafferty allegedly helped Richard Beasley, a man he considered a father figure, in the killings after luring the men with the fake job as a farm hand in Noble County.

R afferty took the stand Tuesday in his own defense. He told jurors Beasley murdered Ralph Geiger of Akron "right in front of me."

Rafferty said he was ordered by Beasley to dig a hole for Geiger. After the body was buried, Rafferty said Beasley pointed a knife at him and told him that he knew where Rafferty's mother and sister were. Rafferty took that as a threat to his family.

"If I did anything, that he didn't like, that he would kill them."

The 17-year-old felt he no options to escape and didn't tell the police because he had "no faith in them." Rafferty testified that his only choice was "to go with it or die."

The first rebuttal witnesses was Dr. Stephen Noffsinger, another psychologist. He testified that in his opinion Rafferty was not under duress. He said if Rafferty was, he would have tried to escape as soon as he had a chance. 

The final witness was Allan Buxton a computer expert with BCI. He examined a computer taken from the home of Brogan Rafferty. He said he found searches for things connected to organized crime, the Irish Republic Army and the Sopranos first kill. When cross examined by defense attorney John Alexander, Buxton said he could not say who made those searches on the computer.

Closing arguments are slated to begin Thursday morning in Summit County Common Pleas Court.

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