A Summit County judge has upheld a jury's verdict, sentencing craigslist killer Richard Beasley to death.
AKRON, Ohio - Jury selection began under tight security Tuesday in the trial of the alleged mastermind of a deadly plot to lure robbery victims with phony Craigslist job offers, a scheme that led to three deaths and the wounding of a fourth man.
Nine uniformed deputies watched as more than 200 prospective jurors for the murder trial of Richard Beasley entered the lobby of the ornate, 84-year-old Akron Civic Theater because there was no courthouse room big enough.
Beasley, who has hidden his face in his hands and lap in previous appearances before a judge, waived his right to be present.
Judge Lynne Callahan said jury selection could extend into next week and the trial could last six weeks. She expects opening statements Feb. 27.
Prosecutors have portrayed Beasley, 53, as an ex-con street preacher in Akron and mentor to a teenager convicted in the plot. Beasley has pleaded not guilty to a 27-count indictment.
Brogan Rafferty, who was then 17, was sentenced to life in prison in November after being found guilty in the plot. Because of his age, he wasn't eligible for the death penalty.
The judge cautioned prospective jurors not to discuss the case and to avoid media coverage. Prospective jurors filled the first few rows of the 2,585-seat theater and TV cameras were lined up across the back.
Prospective jurors filled out questionnaires and were divided into small groups and given times to report to the judge's courtroom for questioning. The judge said questions would focus on the length of the trial, pre-trial publicity and views of the death penalty.
Jurors will be sequestered in a hotel while deliberating the verdict and, if necessary, on whether to recommend the death sentence.
Prosecutors have asked deputies to bring Rafferty from prison to testify at Beasley's trial. At his sentencing, Rafferty said the crimes were horrible but said he didn't recognize any chance to stop the killings.
His defense attorney told the judge that Rafferty is willing to testify against Beasley. He said his client wouldn't stand convicted if it wasn't for Beasley.
The jury rejected the defense claim that Rafferty feared for himself and his family if he didn't cooperate with Beasley.
Prosecutors say the victims, all down in their luck and with few family ties that might highlight their disappearance, were lured with phony offers of southeast Ohio farmhand jobs on Craigslist in 2011.
The murdered men were Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron; David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Va.; and Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon. The lone survivor, Scott Davis, was shot in the arm, knocked the weapon aside and fled into the woods.
Davis, of South Carolina, was looking to move closer to his family in the Canton area.
A triple killer who lured victims with bogus job offers on Craigslist faced a possible death sentence before an Ohio judge deciding his punishment.
A Summit County judge has rescheduled craigslist killer Richard Beasley sentencing.
A judge in Ohio must make a life-or-death decision in sentencing a self-styled street preacher for the murders of three down-and-out men lured by Craigslist job offers. You can watch a live stream on newsnet5.com or app.
Jurors have recommended that Richard Beasley, the man convicted of murdering men by luring them with a phony craigslist job ad, die for the crimes.
Life or death? Jurors will reveal at 6 p.m. whether craigslist killer Richard Beasley will live or die.
Jurors are now deliberating the fate of craigslist killer Richard Beasley, deciding whether he will live or die.
The sentencing phase begins on Wednesday for the Akron man convicted of killing three after luring them with fake craigslist job postings.
The mother of convicted murderer Richard Beasley thought he would be found innocent in the craigslist murder case.
A self-styled street preacher accused in a deadly plot to lure men with phony craigslist job offers and then rob them was found guilty of aggravated murder and could face the death penalty.