Jury selection has started in the trial of Brogan W. Rafferty, a 17-year-old from Stow, accused of working with another man to use Craigslist and lure people to their deaths.
Jury selection began Tuesday in the trial of a 17-year-old charged with being involved in Ohio’s “Craigslist murders.”
Brogan W. Rafferty, from Stow in northern Summit County, is the first of two people who are charged in the killings to go on trial in Summit County Common Pleas Court.
Richard J. Beasley, 52, of Akron is charged as Rafferty’s accomplice. He has a January trial date.
Prosecutors believe the pair used help-wanted ads posted on the Craigslist website to lure three men to their deaths. A fourth victim escaped after being shot and wounded.
One murder victim was from Jackson Township, while the shooting victim has Stark County ties.
Rafferty is being tried as an adult and faces multiple counts of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, kidnapping and theft. Most of the charges carry weapons specifications.
Because he was 16 when the crimes occurred, Rafferty doesn’t face the death penalty, but he could go to prison for life.
LARGE JURY POOL
Tuesday morning the court called 56 potential jurors and began what is scheduled as a 2 1/2-day jury selection process. Tuesday and Wednesday jurors will be interviewed in groups of eight by lawyers and Judge Lynne S. Callahan. Final jury selection is set for Thursday afternoon. Opening arguments are set for Friday afternoon.
Testimony should start on Monday and could last more than a week. One possible witness is set to be brought to Akron from a state prison to testify on Oct. 23.
During a short introductory meeting, Judge Callahan advised the potential jurors that Rafferty is charged with aggravated murder and other crimes. She also told them that Rafferty isn’t facing the death penalty and that jurors aren’t likely to be sequestered during the trial.
The string of crimes that led to the arrest of Rafferty and Beasley began in the summer of 2011 and weren’t discovered until early November.
Scott Davis — a 49-year-old from South Carolina, but with Stark County ties — survived being shot and managed to escape. That launched an investigation by Noble County sheriff’s deputies and FBI agents who identified Rafferty and Beasley as suspects.
Court filings indicate that Rafferty helped investigators. Defense lawyers tried to have some of Rafferty’s statements to deputies and the FBI suppressed, but Callahan ruled they can be used at trial.
Investigators found the bodies of Ralph H. Geiger, 56, of Akron, and David M. Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Va., buried in Noble County.
A Jackson Township man, 47-year-old Timothy J. Kern, was one of the murder victims. His body was found Nov. 25 — about 10 days after his family reported him missing — in a shallow grave near the Rolling Acres Mall in Akron.
Page 2 of 2 - All four victims responded to an ad looking for a person willing to work at a farm in southeastern Ohio. The job offered pay and a place to live. Investigators say Davis and Pauley met with Rafferty and Beasley in Marietta, then drove to a secluded area of Noble County to visit the farm.