The mother of a 16-year-old teenager, who has been accused of participating in three killings associated with a job ad on Ohio's Craigslist, says her son is innocent and was manipulated by a pastor.
Brogan Rafferty, a high-school junior, was arrested on Nov.16 for having connections in a plot to lure single divorced men to a remote farm in Ohio and then murdering them. Rich Beasley, a 52-year-old unpaid pastor, is also a suspect in the case.
Rafferty's mother told Good Morning America that her son had looked up to Beasley as a mentor. For 10 years now he's been taking the church and Bible studies ... I know one thing, my son told me that he didn't do it. And I believe it. There is a monster here. But it's not my son, she said
Beasley's 70-year-old mother, Carol Beasley, told ABC news that her son had tried to help the teenager through his difficulties at school that started after his parents got divorced.
Authorities say three murders are thought to have links with the fake Craigslist post, advertising work on a cattle farm in Ohio that does not exist. Timothy Kern, 47, was found dead Friday, buried near Akron, in Ohio, where he had gone to answer the job ad.
Another victim ,David Pauley,51, was called back after answering the ad and told to bring all of his possessions. A week later police found Pauley dead in a rural area of Noble County, 90 miles from Akron. A third body was found hours after Kern's in a hand-dug grave but the body has not yet been identified. All three men were divorced.
Scott Davis from South Carolina had also been lured into the woods in Noble County but after he was shot in the elbow he managed to trek two miles to call for help and fled his attackers. Police later found a shallow hand- dug grave that they believe was intended for the victim.
All the men who answered the ad were told to bring their possessions. Police believe the prime intent of the murderers was to rob and shoot the victims. But with unemployed men as the target of the robbery, investigators believe there could be more to the story.
According to former special FBI agent, Brad Garrett, there could be a sexual component to the killing or a dynamic similar to the D.C sniper case where the 16-year-old was manipulated into randomly targeting people. I can't buy that it was just robbery, he told ABC News.
Investigators will be looking into the dynamic of the relationship between the 16-year-old and Beasley focusing on when it started and how it has evolved in and out of the church.
I believe he put his trust in someone in ... he's a very smart kid but sometimes when you're not seeing the whole picture, you just believe ... that that person is going to lead you in the right way, the Rafferty's mother told ABC News.
Rafferty has been charged with attempted murder in the case of Scott David with court papers saying the teenager assisted Beasley in the murder. Beasley has not yet been charged in the Craigslist killings but is in jail on unrelated charges.