A Summit County judge has upheld a jury's verdict, sentencing craigslist killer Richard Beasley to death.
AKRON, Ohio - A Summit County jury listened to opening statements Monday afternoon in the trial of Richard Beasley, the alleged mastermind of "craigslist killings."
An all-white jury of eight men and four women was impaneled after four days of jury selection.
During opening statements, Emily Pelphrey, a special prosecutor with the Ohio Attorney General's office, referred to Beasley as "a wolf in sheep's clothing."
Pelphrey told the jury that Beasley even stole the identity of one of his victims, Ralph Geiger, and applied for a job as Geiger a month after he was murdered and buried in Noble County.
Beasley's attorney, Jim Burdon, said during his opening statement that Beasley is "not a saint", but also innocent of the charges in the indictment.
Beasley, 53, of Akron, could face the death penalty if convicted.
Beasley is accused of creating a bogus craigslist ad and luring men, down on their luck, to a job that promised work on a farm in southern Ohio.
Three men, Geiger, of Akron, David Pauley, of Norfolk Va., and Timothy Kern, of Massillon, were shot, killed and buried in shallow graves in 2011.
The bodies of Geiger and Pauley were found in Noble County. Kern was buried behind Rolling Acres Mall in Akron.
Pelphrey promised the jury compelling evidence.
"You're going to hear testimony of a letter that this defendant wrote to someone, and in that letter, he describes where victims' things were buried. And as if that letter wasn't enough, he drew a map," Pelphrey said.
A fourth man, Scott Davis from South Carolina, was also shot, but survived. Prosecutors plan to call Davis to the stand so he can testify about his "horrific ordeal."
During his opening statement, defense attorney Jim Burdon challenged the state's case.
"The reason that we are here today telling you as earnestly as we can that the defendant is innocent is because all of the evidence, all of the evidence, is not compelling," Burdon said;.
Brogan Rafferty, a 17-year-old former Stow-Munroe Falls High School student, went on trial last October. He testified he dug graves for the victims and was too scared of Beasley to report the murders to anyone, including the police.
A jury found him guilty on several counts, including aggravated murder, and he's serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Rafferty is on the prosecution's witness list and could provide crucial testimony against Beasley.
During Rafferty's trial, Davis testified he was shot in the elbow, and then hid in a wooded area for several hours before seeking help at a nearby home in Noble County.
The trial could last several weeks.
Keep checking newsnet5.com for the latest on this case.
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.