A witness called for the prosecution said a gun found at Brogan Rafferty’s home was linked to the teenager’s DNA. But the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation forensic specialist did not connect Richard J. Beasley’s DNA to the firearm.
Prosecutors continue to present a barrage of evidence they say proves Richard J. Beasley killed three down-on-their-luck men who were lured to southern Ohio by a phony Craigslist job posting.
Cellphone records, bank records and DNA evidence were unveiled by prosecution witnesses Tuesday in Summit County Common Pleas Court. The exhibits are among more than 200 pieces of evidence vaulted at the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation for the case.
Among them is a pistol found in the bedroom of Beasley’s codefendant, Brogan Rafferty, according to investigators. A forensic analyst for the BCI, Lynda Eveleth, testified that DNA found on the pistol was consistent with Rafferty’s. The DNA was on the magazine and handle area, she said. But the DNA sample was not related to Beasley’s, the witness testified.
Last fall, Rafferty, 16 at the time of the crimes, was convicted in the 2011 deaths of Ralph H. Geiger, 56, of Akron, David M. Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Va. and Timothy J. Kern, 47, of Jackson Township. Prosecutors portrayed the teenager as Beasley’s accomplice.
Beasley is charged with nine counts of aggravated murder for the deaths of the three men. His 27-count indictment also includes the attempted murder of Scott W. Davis, formerly of Massillon.
Davis testified last week that he responded to Beasley’s Craigslist job ad. He said Beasley shot him in the arm. Davis fled and eventually got medical attention.
Under questioning from the prosecution, Eveleth said the gun also contained a small amount of DNA that was not Rafferty’s but could not be tied to an individual.
DNA evidence, however, linked Beasley to the front passenger seat area of the 1998 Buick LeSabre driven by Rafferty, she said. The probability of a match with Beasley was extremely high, based on a statistical analysis, Eveleth said.
Additional testimony connected Beasley to the pistol. The gun found at Rafferty’s home is a match to one serviced at a gun shop under the name of Ralph Geiger, said Mark Kollar, an agent with the BCI’s major crimes division. That’s the same name as one of the Craigslist victims. Prosecutors allege that Beasley stole Geiger’s identify after he killed him, using his name and Social Security number to apply for jobs, obtain medication and create a bank account.
Prosecutors also pointed to DNA evidence found on clothing. Apparent blood stains were found on Beasley’s black leather jacket, according to a forensic specialist with the BCI. During testimony, the blood was not linked to any victims. There was not enough DNA to make comparisons or draw conclusions.
A shirt, found in Washington County, also was introduced as evidence. DNA found on the collar of the shirt was consistent with Beasley’s, according to BCI testing. Witnesses and prosecutors did not elaborate on the significance of the clothing.
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Testimony also focused on cellphone records. Several prepaid cellphones were used to contact victims in the case, including Kern and Davis, said Kollar, the lead investigator. A few of the phones were used to call Rafferty; another one is tied to the Craigslist posting, he said. Calls also were made to a gun shop as well as to a man who previously testified that he rented a room to Beasley.
Phone usage stopped after the death of Craigslist respondents, the BCI investigator said. The last calls made were to victims, Kollar said, citing cellphone records.
Investigators did not obtain any of the prepaid phones referenced, he said. At the time of Beasley’s arrest, two cell phones were found in the Akron home where he rented a room. A third was found on Beasley.
Under defense questioning, Kollar acknowledged the three phones did not include calls made to victims and were not directly related to the investigation of Beasley and Rafferty.
Testimony is scheduled to continue today in the courtroom of Judge Lynne Callahan.
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