Debra Bruce reached into two red suitcases and a long, green Coleman cooler and one after another somberly removed some of the personal belongings of her deceased brother.
Bruce, the twin sister of Craigslist shooting victim David Pauley, made the emotional identifications Wednesday, the third day of the prosecution’s case in the capital murder trial of accused killer Richard James Beasley of Akron.
Among the items she identified were a light-up candy cane and a string of odd-looking snowflake Christmas lights.
“I used to give him a hard time about it,” Bruce said. “He absolutely loved Christmas.”
Peering inside a U.S. Army-issued ammo box with her brother’s handwriting on top, Bruce told the jury Pauley used it to store nuts and bolts. She also identified a thick binder filled with sports photos of professional drivers and their race cars.
“His big love and hobby was NASCAR,” Bruce said, her voice halting as she recalled warm memories of her brother.
Pauley, of Norfolk, Va., was 51 when he was shot to death the morning of Oct. 23, 2011, in southern Ohio. Authorities have verified he was the second victim who answered a bogus ad promoting a nonexistent job on land in Noble County.
Bruce, of West Bath, Maine, told the jury she last talked to her brother the previous night. He had stopped in his pickup truck at a Red Roof Inn in Parkersburg, W.Va., on the way to what he thought would be his ideal job as caretaker of a large cattle farm.
Pauley, the father of an adult son, had been divorced for two years and was looking for work. He found the job posting earlier that month, Bruce testified.
“He was extremely excited about it. He felt like it was finally going to be a new start for him,” she told the jury.
Pauley’s body was discovered the morning of Nov. 15, 2011, buried in a 2-foot-deep grave. Investigators later recovered belongings from his pickup and a U-Haul trailer that his brother, Richard Pauley, had paid for.
Bruce said she first alerted West Virginia police, then the Noble County Sheriff’s Office, that she had not heard from her brother after his call from the motel. She told the jury she knew something was wrong because he was “a creature of habit” and would always call her about his life’s twists and turns.
Earlier in Wednesday’s court proceedings, prosecutors used detailed testimony by a forensic computer analyst from the state’s crime lab to tie the bogus Craigslist ad to Beasley’s Internet provider address.
Beasley, 53, is charged with aggravated murder in the deaths of two Ohio men: Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron; and Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon.
The lone survivor of the shootings, Scott William Davis, 50, told the jury in previous testimony that he ran for his life and escaped after Beasley shot him in the right elbow. The incident occurred near the same country road where Pauley’s body was found.
Testimony continues this morning in Summit County Common Pleas Judge Lynne Callahan’s courtroom.
Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.