Summit County prosecutors on Friday announced a 27-count indictment against the man suspected in a series of killings tied to a fake Craigslist ad.
Richard J. Beasley lured at least three men to their deaths with online job postings, and there could be more victims, authorities say.
Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Friday announced a 27-count indictment that could mean the death penalty for Beasley in what have been called the “Craigslist Killings.”
And DeWine asked anyone in Ohio or Texas, where Beasley once lived, who has information about these killings, other potential victims or missing person to contact authorities.
“We are dealing with serial killings here,” DeWine said. “Are there more bodies? We just don’t know, but there very well could be more bodies out there. And we need to find them.”
Beasley, 52, of Akron, is to be arraigned next week in Summit County Common Pleas Court. He is charged with nine counts of aggravated murder for three victims, including 47-year-old Timothy J. Kern of Jackson Township.
The other victims are Ralph H. Geiger, 56, of Akron, and David M. Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Va.
Beasley shot each man, according to the indictment. The multiple murder charges represent three legal theories of how and why the victims were killed, Walsh said.
And each murder charge carries four specifications, any of which, if proven, would make Beasley eligible for a death sentence.
He also is charged with attempted murder for the Nov. 6 shooting of 48-year-old Scott W. Davis, a South Carolina man with Stark County ties.
Davis survived the shooting, which prompted the investigation into Beasley and his alleged 16-year-old accomplice, Brogan Rafferty, of Stow.
The victims were down on their luck men who answered a Craigslist ad offering work on a Noble County farm, DeWine said.
“In difficult economic times, these men took advantage of an opportunity to have a better life,” he said. “Tragically, they ended up dead.”
Authorities estimate Geiger died on Aug. 9, and Pauley was killed Oct. 23, according to the indictment. Both of their bodies were found in Noble County.
Davis was wounded the following month, also in Noble County, and Beasley killed Kern on Nov. 13 in Summit County, according to the indictment. Kern’s body was found in a shallow grave near Rolling Acres Mall in Akron on Nov. 25.
Beasley is accused of kidnapping and robbing the four victims, in addition to shooting them. Among the items stolen were Pauley’s shotgun and 1985 Dodge Ram.
Page 2 of 2 - At the time of the killings, Beasley was a fugitive from justice in both Ohio and Texas, where he was on parole for burglary, said Assistant Summit County Prosecutor Jon Baumoel.
Walsh and DeWine declined to discuss a motive for the killings. Nor would they discuss Rafferty’s case, which is pending in Noble County, and subject to a judge’s gag order.
The indictment covers crimes in both Summit and Noble counties, and the case has been investigated by several state, federal and local agencies.
Summit County prosecutors and the attorney general’s office will jointly prosecute Beasley’s case in Akron.
“There is a lot of work to be done on this case, and our collaboration will result in a more efficient and cost-effective prosecution that will bring justice to the victims of this horrible crime,” Walsh said.
In separate Summit County cases, Beasley faces charges of promoting prostitution, drug trafficking and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
Walsh said those matters will proceed as scheduled.