To see more about the crimes Richard Beasley and Brogan Rafferty committed, click here to buy the Beacon Journal eBook The Craigslist Killings.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys for Craigslist murder suspect Richard Beasley agreed Thursday to postpone an unrelated prostitution case.
Once again, Beasley’s appearance in Summit County Common Pleas Court drew the attention of several media cameras, and once again the 52-year-old Akron man shielded his face as he sat in a wheelchair.
At one point during the brief hearing, a Beacon Journal photojournalist bent down on one knee to snap a close-up picture of Beasley. The camera’s clicking jarred Beasley, who shuddered and swung out his leg.
In a spontaneous conversation with Judge Tammy O’Brien, Beasley reiterated fears about getting a fair trial amid the publicity swirling around the Craigslist case, in which three men were shot to death and another wounded.
“Judge, I got reporters crawling on the floor to take my picture in here. How can we get an impartial jury?” Beasley asked.
O’Brien tried to reassure Beasley before ending the hearing.
“Sir, it’s a big county, and I can tell you there are many people that don’t have any interest in what’s happening in this courtroom today. I’m sure that we’ll find an impartial jury,” she said.
About the same time Beasley was complaining about getting an impartial jury, Judge Lynne Callahan was issuing a gag order on the slayings, barring prosecutors, defense attorneys, witnesses, victims and law enforcement from commenting while the case is pending. Callahan, who was assigned to handle the 27-count capital murder case this week, made the move on her own and not at the urging of either side.
A gag order had been in place in Noble County, where two of the bodies were buried, until earlier this month.
In addition to the charges Beasley faces in the shootings, he is accused of running a house of prostitution from his former home on Yale Street in Akron. Prosecutors say Beasley portrayed himself as a born-again chaplain who opened his home to people struggling with addictions or legal troubles. Instead, his clients were put to work as prostitutes, police say.
The prostitution case was put on hold while the capital murder case proceeds.
Beasley has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Brogan Rafferty, 17, of Stow, is charged as an accomplice in the murder case in Summit County Juvenile Court. He is expected to be tried as an adult.
The Craigslist ad, which sought a worker to oversee a farm in Noble County, appeared as early as July, when prosecutors say Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron, responded.
Geiger’s body was found in Noble County in November, the same day that the body of Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon, was found in a wooded area near Rolling Acres Mall in Southwest Akron. Prosecutors believe Geiger was killed around Aug. 9.
The scheme did not come to the attention of law enforcement until Scott Davis, 48, a former Canton man living in South Carolina, was shot Nov. 6 while touring the bogus property with two men believed to be Beasley and Rafferty. His escape led authorities to the body of David Pauley, 51, of Virginia, who was buried on the same property.
Authorities believe Kern was killed Nov. 13 and Pauley, on Oct. 23.
Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or firstname.lastname@example.org.