To see more about the crimes Richard Beasley and Brogan Rafferty committed, click here to buy the Beacon Journal eBook The Craigslist Killings.
CALDWELL: A Stow teenager is facing life in prison for his alleged role in a series of killings stemming from a bogus Craigslist ad.
Brogan Rafferty, 16, appeared Tuesday in Noble County Juvenile Court, where prosecutors announced additional murder charges.
Rafferty, whose hands were shackled as he sat in court, did not speak during the court appearance that lasted about three minutes. The court announced that another hearing would be held at a “future date.”
The Stow-Munroe Falls High School junior is charged as a juvenile with aggravated murder, attempted murder and complicity charges. Because of his age, Rafferty faces an automatic bindover for adult prosecution.
He is accused in the shooting of a former Canton man and the shooting death of a Virginia man. Authorities believe the deaths of two other men, found last week in Akron and Noble County, are connected to the Craigslist ad.
A second suspect, Richard Beasley, 52, of Akron, has not been charged. He is being held in the Summit County Jail on unrelated counts.
Yvette Rafferty, the teen’s mother who appeared this week on national television, said little as she ran from reporters from the courthouse after the hearing. She paused only to say, “God bless you all. Do the right thing. Get the truth. We are praying for the families and the victims.”
Summit County Medical Examiner Dr. Lisa Kohler on Tuesday released additional details in the death of Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon. Records indicate Kern was shot in the head and his pockets were empty.
He was wearing a blue coat, tan pants, a black belt and white socks and shoes.
He was found on his back and slumping on his left shoulder in a 2-foot-deep grave in a wooded area off Harlem Road near the Rolling Acres Mall in southwest Akron. He was identified by his name embossed on his dentures.
Kern had been missing since Nov. 13, when he told family and friends he had landed the job he found on Craigslist.
The same day Kern’s body was unearthed, the body of another man was recovered in rural Noble County in southeast Ohio. The man is listed on coroner records as a “John Doe.” The preliminary coroner’s findings released Tuesday show the man was shot in the head and suffered a brain injury. The report said it is suspected his name is Ralph Geiger. There were no other details of the man’s hometown or age.
A gag order Judge John W. Nau has issued has prevented law enforcement or attorneys connected to the case from speaking about the investigation.
Rafferty’s family members have said in previous interviews that he was manipulated by Beasley and that he has cooperated with detectives in their investigation against Beasley, a self-proclaimed chaplain who mentored the teen for about eight years.
Beasley’s attorney, Rhonda Kotnik, said last weekend he denies any involvement in the shootings and is troubled by Rafferty’s allegations.
The bogus Craigslist ad promised prospective workers the use of a 688-acre farm, a two-bedroom trailer and $300 a week to oversee the property.
In reality, the ad served to lure at least four men — three of whom are dead and another wounded. While it appears each victim was robbed, multiple police sources say the real motive behind the killings might simply be murder. The victims generally were poor and unemployed.
Beasley is considered the source of the help-wanted ad and the primary suspect, according to law enforcement officials.
Rafferty is being held in a juvenile detention facility in Zanesville. His complicity to attempted murder charge stems from the Nov. 6 shooting of Scott Davis, a former Canton man who visited Noble County after accepting the Craigslist job.
Davis was shot in the arm as he walked the property with two men he met while responding to the ad. He fled and hid on the heavily wooded property for seven hours before finding help.
Within days, a Boston woman called authorities to report her brother as missing. She said he had answered the same help-wanted ad. The body of David Pauley, 51, was recovered Nov. 15 in Noble County.
Rafferty was arrested the next day. Beasley also was taken into custody. He had been on the lam for three months, jumping bond in August while awaiting trial on unrelated drug trafficking and prostitution charges.
Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or email@example.com.