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The Suburbanite
  • Teen guilty of Craigslist murders

  • Brogan Rafferty faces life in prison when sentenced Monday in Summit County Common Pleas Court

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  • Escorted by sheriff's deputies, Brogan Rafferty shook his head as he left a Summit County courtroom Tuesday.
    “Nothing to say,” the 17-year-old from Stow told reporters.
    But Rafferty already had said enough, according to jurors who cited the teen’s own words in their decision to find him guilty of the aggravated murders of three men lured to their deaths by a fake job offer on Craigslist.
    Common Pleas Judge Lynne S. Callahan set sentencing for Monday. Rafferty could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
    A single count of aggravated murder carries a minimum sentence of 20 years to life in prison. Rafferty was convicted of nine counts of aggravated murder, plus other crimes, including aggravated robbery, kidnapping and attempted murder.
    A gag order barred the attorneys, Rafferty’s family and the victims’ families from commenting on the case.
    DEADLY TRAP
    Prosecutors said Rafferty helped Richard J. Beasley, 53, of Akron, entice the victims into deadly robberies last year with promises of farm work in southern Ohio.
    According to two weeks of testimony, the first victim, Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron, was killed in August, followed by James M. Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Va., in October. Both were buried in rural Noble County.
    A third man taken to the same location, Scott Davis, a 49-year-old former Stark County resident, survived being shot and escaped in early November.
    The final victim was Timothy J. Kern, 47, of Jackson Township. He was killed in Akron, a week after Davis was wounded.
    During the trial, Rafferty denied shooting any of the men, but admitted to digging graves and helping Beasley in other ways.
    Rafferty told the jury he didn’t know Beasley planned to kill Geiger, and said he went along with Beasley’s plot after the first killing because he feared for his life and for the safety of his family.
    Several witnesses described Beasley as the teen’s father figure and mentor, and the defense said Beasley manipulated Rafferty like a pawn.
    But prosecutors said Rafferty knew from the beginning that Beasley, who was a fugitive, planned to kill Geiger and steal the man’s identity, and was a willing accomplice in the other shootings.
    Beasley is awaiting trial in January, and faces a possible death sentence if convicted.
    HARD DECISION
    The jurors — seven women, five men — deliberated for nearly 20 hours over four days before telling the court late Tuesday afternoon they had verdicts on all of the counts.
    Flanked by fellow jurors, forewoman Dana Nash, of Akron, said the verdicts were tough to reach.
    “It was difficult, very difficult, because this is a child, and it was difficult,” she said. “We was trying to be fair, and we were fair. We came up with the right decision.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Nash said she was skeptical of Rafferty’s testimony, “but we listened to everything, we observed everything and we feel we made the right decision,” she said.
    Another panel member, who would only identify himself as Juror 3, said the jury listened over and over to Rafferty’s statements to investigators to solidify its decision.
    Hearing the teen’s words revealed his mindset and showed he was working as Beasley’s partner, the 51-year-old juror from Hudson said.
    “...This was not one man intimidating another,” Juror 3 said. “They were acting jointly.”