The Stow teen facing multiple felony charges in Summit and Noble counties in the Craigslist shootings case has been scheduled for a three-day juvenile court hearing this spring to determine whether he will be tried as an adult in Summit County, court officials said Thursday.
Brogan Rafferty, who turned 17 last month, was not present for Thursday’s brief hearing in Summit County Juvenile Court.
Attorneys for both sides met with Juvenile Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio in her chambers and set the bindover hearing to begin at 9 a.m. April 17.
Rafferty, who has been held at the juvenile detention center on Dan Street since mid-January, according to his attorney, John P. Alexander Jr., also is scheduled to appear for arraignment at 8 a.m. today before Summit County Chief Magistrate John H. Shoemaker.
Alexander said he has not seen an indictment, but suspects today’s arraignment involves charges brought in Noble County in connection with two of the Craigslist victims, David Pauley of Virginia and Scott W. Davis, a former Canton resident now living in South Carolina, who escaped after being shot in the arm.
The Summit County charges, Alexander said, apparently involve the remaining victims who were shot to death and buried: Ralph Geiger of Akron and Timothy Kern of Massillon.
Authorities have said previously that Rafferty was the accomplice of a 52-year-old Akron man, Richard James Beasley, in a scheme involving a bogus Craigslist ad posted online as early as July.
The ad promised a job for $300 a week and housing to serve as caretaker of a farm in Noble County.
Victims who responded to the Craigslist ad, authorities said, were lured to their deaths.
Rafferty’s three-day juvenile court hearing, scheduled to run through April 19, is likely to be the first time details emerge about how the alleged plot originated and how it was carried out.
Typically in such hearings, law enforcement officers who investigated the crime testify as government witnesses, and the defense calls witnesses to testify about potentially mitigating circumstances from the teen’s background and upbringing.
The judge, in this case Teodosio, then issues a written decision laying out the reasons why the case should be adjudicated in adult court, or remain in the juvenile justice system.
Alexander said he has spoken to Rafferty many times since the teen was brought back to Summit County.
“I can’t go into great detail, but obviously he’s upset, scared, nervous — and every feeling that you could imagine when you’re facing such serious charges,” Alexander said.
Under juvenile court guidelines, Rafferty’s parents also are permitted to visit him at the detention center once a week, Alexander said.
The body of Geiger, 56, was found in Noble County in November, the same day the body of Kern, 47, was found in a wooded area near Rolling Acres Mall in Akron.
The scheme did not come to the attention of police until Davis, 48, was shot Nov. 6 while touring the bogus property with two men, believed to be Beasley and Rafferty.
Davis’ escape led authorities to the body of Pauley, 51, who was buried on the same Noble County property.
Beasley is being held in the Summit County Jail without bond. He was named in a 28-count indictment announced by authorities Jan. 20 during a news conference in Akron.
Beasley, who is suspected of being the shooter, was charged with the aggravated murders of three of the men, the attempted murder of Davis and many additional felony offenses. Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh has said the state will seek the death penalty against him.
Prosecutors from the major crimes unit of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office will assist in bringing the case against Beasley.
His trial date has not been set.
The law prohibits the government from seeking the death penalty against Rafferty, Alexander said, because he is a juvenile.
Alexander, who has been retained by the family to represent Rafferty, said he expects authorities eventually will merge the Summit and Noble County cases against Rafferty.
Ed Meyer can be reached at 330 996-3784 or firstname.lastname@example.org.