Stow High School student, Brogan Rafferty, has been arrested and charged with the aggravated murder of three men in Ohio. The juvenile made his first public appearance in court on Tuesday.
The teen reportedly committed the crimes with his mentor, 52-year-old Richard Beasley, who has not yet been charged in the Craigslist case. Beasley was reportedly very close to Rafferty. He took him to church almost every week, went fishing, played video games and got him involved in volunteer work.
The two posted a fraudulent ad on Craigslist about a job at a cattle farm in Noble County, Ohio, reports FOX 8 Cleveland.
The job was to help run a cattle farm and included a hefty salary, a place to live and a vehicle to use. The ad targeted single, unemployed males in their late 40s or early 50s.
When the applicants arrived for the position, they realized that the cattle ranch did not even exist. They were then shot and robbed, and their bodies were buried in shallow graves on the property.
The FBI was able to track down the perpetrators with the use of an email sent by one of the murdered victims, David Pauley. Pauley was excited about the position, said his friend Pastor Kenny Bryant from Norfolk, Va.
It just didn't sound right to me, but I was happy for him, and he was glad, Bryant told the Seattle PI. He was really pumped about it, and he was desperate for a job.
So far, the bodies of three victims have been recovered, including that of 47-year-old Tim Kern of Massillon whose body was found near Rolling Acres Mall in Akron. Kern, and another victim whose body has been found, was shot in the head.
The killing spree was revealed when a fourth victim escaped after being shot in the arm.
A Noble County judge is pushing for Rafferty to be tried as an adult. Although, Rafferty's father claims that his son was instructed to dig the graves by Beasley and was unaware of the intent. Rafferty's mother says her son denies killing anyone.
So many peoples' lives are ruined and tainted now, including my son and that's the easiest one on the spectrum, said Yvette Rafferty in a letter to FOX 8. The hardest one is these victims' families.
You know, do you let your son smoke dope and hang around peer pressure or do you let him hang around a chaplain, who gives out free food to the homeless and helpless. Hello, it was a no brainer, said Yvete Rafferty. I can't change anything that's happened, I'm just praying for the families.
Meanwhile, Beasley was awaiting trial on prostitution and drug charges when authorities took him into custody this month. Police have also said that a halfway house Beasley ran in Akron was a front for prostitution, reports the Seattle PI.
Craigslist has been used as a front for criminals before, most famously in the case of Philip Markoff. Markoff was a medical student who placed ads on Craiglist for erotic services. This is how he ultimately met his three victims, two of whom he robbed and one he murdered. Markoff was arrested in 2009. He committed suicide while in jail in 2010.