A Philadelphia man accused of using Craigslist to rob and kill an out-of-towner from New Jersey in 2013 was found guilty Tuesday. A jury decided Thomas Coffee, 25, was guilty of first-degree murder and four robbery charges. Coffee was sentenced to life in prison, plus 50 to 100 years, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.
Over the course of the weeklong trial, the prosecution alleged Coffee intentionally lured multiple victims to Philadelphia by posting ads on Craigslist. One of them was Daniel Cook, a 27-year-old who arranged to buy an all-terrain vehicle from Coffee in 2013. Cook and two friends went to meet Coffee, who police said tried to rob him and then fatally shot him when he ran away. Coffee was charged with his murder as well as two other Craigslist robberies and one street robbery.
The defense called Coffee's sister, Shanise Palmer, to testify that Coffee was at home at the time of Cook's death. But the prosecution said it doubted her version of events and produced a cell phone expert putting Coffee at the scene of the crime. Authorities also discovered a cartridge, like the rounds that killed Cook, in Coffee's bedroom, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
— Jeffrey D Kolakowski (@jdkolakowski) June 24, 2013
Coffee testified at the trial that he was innocent and had only done the marketing for Cook's real killer, a man named "Stead." But the jury convicted Coffee anyway.
"The jury made the right call," Cook's mother, Lisa, told the Inquirer. "Justice was done for my son. Now he'll never be able to hurt anyone else."
Coffee's case wasn't the first to involve Craigslist, known for being a largely unregulated online marketplace. Philip Markoff killed himself in 2010 awaiting trial for the murder of a Boston woman police said he murdered after responding to her ad. In 2013, Ohio street preacher Richard Beasley was sentenced to death for killing three people who found his Craigslist posts offering jobs. Last year, Miranda Barbour was sentenced to life in prison after she confessed to murdering two-dozen people she met on Craigslist as part of a Pennsylvania cult ritual.