Jury hears opening statements in Brogan Rafferty murder trial for craigslist jobseeker killings

'craigslist killings' case could last six weeks

AKRON, Ohio - The trial is underway for Brogan Rafferty, the local teen accused in the so-called craigslist murder case. Prosecutors claim Rafferty, along with Richard Beasley, lured job seekers through craigslist, then killed three of them.

The first witness to testify Friday morning was Scott Davis, the sole survivor of the attacks.

He drove up from South Carolina to southern Ohio after finding the craigslist posting that promised $300 a week to take care of cattle on a farm.

He said he met with a man named "Jack" and his nephew.

Prosecutors said they believe those two men were actually Beasley and Rafferty.

Davis testified he knew something was wrong after he walked into the woods with "Jack" behind him. "I heard a cuss word and a gun cock," Davis told jurors.

Davis was shot in the elbow, then ran off, tripping several times, all while being shot at. Davis escaped, then hid in the woods for seven hours before getting help.

Davis testified, "I hid down in a creek bed up underneath a tree."

During opening statements, a special prosecutor told a Summit County jury that Rafferty, 17, was "a student in the art of robbery, deception and murder" who had multiple chances to get away from plots to kill men, down on their luck, but made choices to commit vicious crimes anyway.

Emily Pelphrey, from the Ohio Attorney General's Office, also told the jury about the three men who were murdered after responding to a bogus craigslist ad for a job offering work on a farm in southern Ohio.

"All of them were looking for their new shot. They were looking for the light at the end of the tunnel," Pelphrey said.

Rafferty is facing multiple charges including aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and kidnapping.

The state contends Rafferty dug graves for some of the victims.

"He chose to put those bodies in the holes. He was the driver. He was the hole digger," Pelphrey said.

Pelphrey also detailed how the lone survivor, Scott Davis, was shot and hid in the woods for seven hours before running to a home for help.

"You're going to hear his horrific ordeal," Pelphrey said.

However, John Alexander, Rafferty's attorney, argued that Rafferty committed crimes under duress from Richard Beasley, and told the jury that Rafferty should be found not guilty.

"The question that you're going to have to ask is, why was this 16-year-old kid…. involved in these heinous acts?" Alexander said.

Prosecutors have said that Beasley was the triggerman in all of the shootings.

Alexander said Beasley was supposed to be a mentor to Rafferty, but actually was a "wolf in sheep's clothing."

"There is a monster in this case… but that monster is not Brogan Rafferty. The monster in this case is a man named Richard Beasley," Alexander said.

Two of the victims, Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron and David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Va., were shot and buried in Noble County.

A third man, Timothy Kern, 47, of Jackson Township was shot and buried behind Rolling Acres Mall in Akron.

Keep checking newsnet5.com for the latest on this case.

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