Craigslist killer Richard Beasley says prisoners painting is a positive and food in prisons is horrible.
Beasley included these insights in a rambling, handwritten letter sent to the Beacon Journal this week in response to a story the newspaper published earlier this month about a painting bearing Beasley’s name that was for sale on a serial killer memorabilia website.
“The taxpayers of the state of Ohio better thank GOD that some inmates do sell artwork,” Beasley wrote in the letter, which arrived at the newspaper Thursday. “If they did not then every prison in the state of Ohio would burn and alot of prison officers would be dead or in the hospital.”
Beasley, 57, of Akron, is currently on Ohio’s death row at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution. He was convicted in 2013 of luring young men to a remote spot in southern Ohio using a Craigslist ad that promised a fictitious job — and killing them. He and his teenage accomplice were convicted of killing three men and attempting to kill a fourth.
In his six-page letter, Beasley neither discusses his crimes nor directly addresses whether he created the colorful painting of a hummingbird that was featured on the Serial Killers Ink website for $200, and is now listed as “out of stock.” Beasley does say that he painted more than 100 works between 2004 and 2010, selling many at the Hartville Flea Market and yard sales. He says he gave four paintings to family members as gifts two years ago.
“Other people are free to sell my paintings, and per the law as I read it I am free to sell paintings if they were painted befor my conviction and therefor are unrelated to my crime,” Beasley wrote. “There are however no such paintings currently in my possession, nor is there much of a chance any will be.”
Beasley said he is no longer painting, but said he has had three requests since the Beacon Journal article ran to authenticate his past works. He said he authenticated the paintings and they sold for between $400 and $980. He said he received no money for the paintings.
JoEllen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said death row inmates aren’t permitted to sell items for profit, though they can create and send artwork to family and friends. She said earlier this month that there were no records of Beasley sending artwork to a website or receiving payment from a site. She said Beasley paid for postage to mail out a package in August 2015.
Besides discussing his artwork, Beasley lobbed insults at Andy Kahan, a victim advocate from Houston who alerted the Beacon Journal to the painting with Beasley’s signature. Kahan has made tracking “murderabilia” or items tied to serial killers his unofficial second job.
Beasley claims prisoners from across the country who are having trouble selling items reach out to Kahan, who contacts local media to get them to write stories that will increase interest in the items. He said Kahan charges $50 or more for the service. He said the Beacon Journal got “punked” by Kahan into writing a front-page story.
Kahan, contacted Thursday by the Beacon Journal, laughed when he heard Beasley’s assertions.
“I don’t think a denial is even worth my breath,” he said. “Wow. I have to hand it to him for his creativity.”
Pressed further, Kahan gave an emphatic, “No!” to Beasley’s claims. Kahan, however, pondered how Beasley came up with this.
“I’m assuming he has something to support or back this up,” Kahan said. “Is he in contact with other serial killers of his ilk?”
Later in his letter, Beasley takes aim at prison food. He said most prisoners live off of food purchased from their commissaries because the sustenance offered by institutions is inedible. He said some inmates have family members who give them money, but others turn to stealing, gambling or prostitution to make money for decent food. He said some inmates infect their wives or girlfriends with AIDS when they are released from prison.
“So they need to triple the food budget and/or let inmates have condoms,” he wrote.
“So maybe letting inmates sell paintings may not be a bad idea,” he added.
Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705, email@example.com and on Twitter: @swarsmithabj .