Timothy J. Kern was killed for his car, a television and a computer, Brogan Rafferty told investigators last November. Richard J. Beasley, 53, of Akron, wanted to sell Kern’s property for cash. Killing people and stealing their property was how Beasley got money, Rafferty told investigators.The statement was part of a possible deal aimed at limiting the Stow teenager’s possible time in prison.
Timothy J. Kern was killed for his car, a television and a computer, Brogan Rafferty told investigators last November.
Richard J. Beasley, 53, of Akron, wanted to sell Kern’s property for cash. Killing people and stealing their property was how Beasley got money, Rafferty told investigators.
Rafferty, 17, admitted to being involved in the death of Kern and two other men, as well was the shooting of a fourth man, in a taped statement he gave Noble County officials Nov. 23.
The statement was part of a possible deal aimed at limiting the Stow teenager’s possible time in prison.
Although the statement helped investigators find Kern’s body, the deal never was finalized. Now Rafferty is being tried in Summit County Common Pleas Court on multiple counts of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, kidnapping and theft.
Jurors hearing Rafferty’s case listened to the 21⁄2-hour statement Thursday afternoon. It was one of three taped statements Judge Lynne S. Callahan allowed to be used in the trial. A fourth statement was barred.
Rafferty told investigators he went along with the plan because Beasley was his friend. The pair had known each other for seven years and were friends who would do anything for each other, the teenager said.
But Rafferty insisted that while he helped Beasley with his plan, he didn’t shoot any of the victims. “I know that I didn’t shoot any of them, that I didn’t kill anyone,” Rafferty said toward the end of his statement, blaming Beasley for each killing.
Beasley is set for trial early next year on similar charges. Investigators believe he lured potential victims with a farm caretaker job he had posted on Craigslist. Before killing the victims, Beasley had Rafferty dig their graves.
Investigators believe that Beasley killed Ralph H. Geiger, 56, of Akron, last August in rural Noble County in order to steal his identity. Rafferty told deputies that he and Beasley made several trips to the area, including one visit to dig a hole to bury Geiger, before actually driving down with Geiger.
Rafferty said he helped because Beasley was a friend who needed a new identity to hide from authorities and a possible trip to prison. “He (Beasley) needed me to help him,” the teen said.
Evidence has shown that Beasley began posing as Geiger, even seeking treatment at an Akron doctor’s office as Geiger. Rafferty told investigators that Beasley used Geiger’s identity to get a job, but supposedly found out that police were looking for him at his place of employment.
So last October Beasley once again took Rafferty to Noble County, first to dig a grave and then to meet David M. Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Va., the teen testified. Rafferty said he knew that Beasley had used a Craigslist ad to connect with Pauley and understood the plan was to rob Pauley who was bringing his truck and a trailer filled with belongings.
Page 2 of 2 - It was the same plan two weeks later, when on Nov. 6, Beasley met Scott Davis, 48, a former Stark County man who was living in South Carolina. Davis expected to get a job as a caretaker. Davis’ truck and a trailer with a motorcycle and other goods would net $30,000, Beasley estimated, Rafferty said. But Beasley never got to sell the goods because Davis escaped after being shot in his right arm.
Rafferty told investigators that, after the shooting, Beasley had him drive around and that he tossed out the gun, bullets and other evidence that might connect them to the Davis incident.
Rafferty said the loss of Davis’ property led to the shooting of Kern on Nov. 13. The pair met Kern at a parking lot on Middlebranch Avenue NE in Plain Township and drove him toward Akron, instead of Noble County. Rafferty said Beasley made up a story about going to look in a wooded area for a watch he had lost.
As they drove north, Rafferty said it became apparent that Kern had nothing to steal. He had brought an old television, but left the computer with his sons. Rafferty told investigators he realized that he would be helping Beasley kill Kern for nothing.
“I felt horrible about all of them, but this one (Kern) was for no reason at all,” Rafferty said in the statement. Kern was killed in an area near Rolling Acres Mall. Rafferty said he had dug a grave there the day before.
A .22-caliber pistol that investigators found in Rafferty’s bedroom was used to shoot Kern, the teen admitted. “There’s not a whole lot to prove that I didn’t kill this gentleman (Kern), but I know that I didn’t, because I had no reason to,” Rafferty told investigators.
Rafferty denied ever bragging about the shootings with Stow High School classmates. He was asked why he never told anyone about the shootings, and said that he expected one day he would, but that he felt threatened by Beasley. “He was watching me like a hawk.”
The confession came after Rafferty had spent a week in custody.
Sgt. Jason Mackie, detective for the Noble County sheriff’s department, said Rafferty’s statement helped officials tie together the investigation, find the bodies of Kern and Geiger, and find other evidence.
But when asked about Rafferty’s demeanor during the statement, Mackie replied: “Very cold. Nearly no sign of emotion during the whole thing.”