Richard Beasley, street preacher who lured men with Craigslist job offers, found guilty of murder


The office of online site Craigslist is seen March 10, 2006 in San Francisco, California. is being sued in a federal lawsuit for violating fair housing laws by publishing discriminatory classified ads.


Justin Sullivan

Richard Beasley, a street preacher who lured men with Craigslist job offers and then killed them on an isolated farm, has been found guilty of murder.

Beasley, 53, killed two men from Ohio and one from Virginia on a remote farm in Noble County, the 12-person jury in Akron found after only a few hours of deliberation, the Associated Press reported

Another man, from South Carolina — who was shot but survived — testified about how he ran for his life and hid in woods, fearing he would bleed to death.

Prosecutors had claimed Beasley, an ex-convict who now faces the death penalty, was part of a murder plot with then-16-year-old Brogan Rafferty, who was convicted and sentenced last year as an adult, aged 18, to life in prison without chance of parole.

Reuters named those kidnapped and killed by Beasley and Rafferty as David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk; Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron; and Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon. 

In the court, Beasley reportedly slumped in his wheelchair — used for back problems — as the verdict was read out, while his mother sobbed.

He had denied any involvement in the killings, however prosecutors maintained that Beasley was the mastermind and shooter in the scheme who aimed to rob his victims and steal their identities.

The jury will return later to consider applying the death penalty.

Reuters quoted Summer Rowley, a friend of Ralph Geiger, as saying that although satisfied with the verdict, she was ambivalent about the possibility of a death sentence in the case:

"It doesn't matter to me. It won't bring him back."