After a third body was identified in the so-called Craigslist Killings, Richard Beasley and his suspected teenage accomplice, Brogan Rafferty, will be charged with three murders and one shooting in Summit County.
Ralph Geiger, a 56-year-old handy man, was identified as the third murder victim in a gruesome plot that used a fake Craigslist job ad to lure men into a remote part of Ohio before killing them.
Rich Beasley, a 52-year-old unpaid pastor, is the prime suspect in the case and if found guilty he could face the death penalty. Rafferty, a 16-year-old high-school student, is thought to have assisted with the killings. He will be tried in a juvenile court in January and if the judge decides to try him as an adult, he too could face the death- penalty.
Rafferty's mother says her son is innocent and was manipulated by the pastor. She 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
Geiger's body was discovered on Nov.25 at Noble County- a farm owned by Beasley. Just like the other victims, Geiger had been lured to Ohio with the promise of a fresh start. Those who answered the job advertisement were told to bring all their possessions to the farm, which initially led police to believe the incentive of the murders was robbery. But investigators believe there is greater depth to the story.
The murder trial will be handled in Summit County Common Pleas Court, as it is a located more conveniently near the families of the victims. In trying the case in Summit County, Walsh said, we will ensure the surviving victim and the families of the other victims do not suffer through multiple lengthy trials and will provide a more convenient location for at least some of the families and the surviving victim, said Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh, Cleveland.com reported.
Timothy Kern, 47, was another of the three victims murdered in the hoax. His body was found 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.
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.
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, Rafferty's mother told ABC News.
Beasley is already facing separate drug and prostitution charges and is due back in court on Dec.22 regarding the recent Craigslist killings.