Anthony Horton, who now works for the Kent City Schools, said the defendant, Brogan Rafferty, was “casual, calm, I’d probably say nonchalant” following a 25-minute meeting with investigators in the high school office.
Prosecutors are trying to use Brogran Rafferty’s own words to paint the teenager as a willing accomplice to murder.
On Friday morning, prosecutors called former Stow High Assistant Principal Anthony Horton to testify as they closed their case in Rafferty’s aggravated murder trial.
Horton talked with the then-16-year-old Rafferty after the teen was interviewed at the school by a sheriff’s deputy and an FBI agent. Horton expected to see someone who was nervous, but described Rafferty as “casual, calm, I’d probably say nonchalant.”
Horton said Rafferty told him the investigators were asking him about a murder. When the meeting ended, Horton said he wished Rafferty luck, and said the student responded with: “Mr. Horton, you know I’m cold blooded.”
Rafferty, now 17, is being tried as an adult in Summit County Common Pleas Court on multiple counts of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, kidnapping and theft in the killing of three men and shooting of a fourth. Jurors are being asked to decide if Rafferty was a scared teenager following an adult’s orders or cold and willing to help as family friend Richard J. Beasley killed men to steal from them.
Prosecutors contend Rafferty helped Beasley, 53, of Akron, in the killings and robberies, which started last August and continued until November.
Defense lawyers haven’t denied that Rafferty had a role, but they argue the teen participated under duress because of threats Beasley made toward his family.
Beasley faces similar charges. His trial is set for early next year.
Testimony has shown that Rafferty was about 10 years old when he met Beasley, who had been in a motorcycle club with the boy’s father. In taped statements played for jurors, Rafferty described Beasley as a friend he would do anything for. Witnesses testified that Beasley introduced Rafferty as his nephew.
Investigators began looking at the pair in early November 2011 after a former Stark County man, Scott Davis, 48, told Noble County Sheriff’s deputies he was shot by his new boss. Davis said he answered a Craigslist ad and drove from South Carolina to take a job as caretaker of a farm.
Davis, who was shot on Nov. 6, identified Rafferty as the nephew of the man who shot him. Publicity about the shooting led to calls from people wondering about the fate of others who answered the Craigslist ad.
On Nov. 14, investigators found what looked like a freshly dug grave in the area where Davis was shot. The next day they found the body of David M. Pauley, 51, of South Carolina.
Investigators on Nov. 16 arrested Rafferty and Beasley.
Sgt. Jason Mackie of the Noble County Sheriff’s office testified he interviewed Rafferty twice that day, the first time at Stow high school. The meeting ended when Rafferty asked for a lawyer.
Page 2 of 2 - Mackie said he watched Rafferty leave the school office and walk down a hall. While passing another student, Rafferty and the student exchanged a “high five.” Mackie said he found the action odd for someone who had just talked with police investigators.
Rafferty was arrested on Nov. 16 and taken to Noble County. After a week in a juvenile detention center he told investigators that Beasley shot Davis and killed Pauley to rob them, and that Beasley also killed Ralph Geiger, a 56-year-old Akron man, in Noble County and Timothy J. Kern, 47 of Jackson Township, in Akron.
Rafferty’s case resumes Monday in Judge Lynne S. Callahan’s court, and the defense will begin calling witnesses.