Although 17-year old Brogan Rafferty says he only went along with the murder of three men because he was afraid for his life, a jury has found him guilty of aggravated murder; he will be tried as an adult.
Rafferty is accused of helping 53-year old Richard Beasley lure men to a rural area in Ohio via Craigslist under the guise of possible farmland employment. The pair killed three men and wounded another in what authorities say was a robbery motive. Rafferty was acquitted of a single count of identity theft, leaving 24 other charges against him. The jury said it was a difficult case to work, given Rafferty’s age.
“We were trying to be fair, and we were fair,” Forewoman Dana Nash said. “We listened to everything, we observed everything, and we feel we made the right decision.”
In the end, Rafferty’s claims that he only went along with the murders out of fear of Beasley–who he says threatened to hurt his family–didn’t convince the jury. He was convicted of three counts of aggravated murder and one count of attempted murder on behalf of the one victim who got away, a man named Scott Davis who was shot in the arm after a scuffle with his captors and managed to run away for help. Davis made it to a phone and pointed police to the duo, and later authorities found damning evidence against them when they searched the wooded area Davis had escaped from; three bodies were eventually uncovered, buried in shallow graves. Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron; David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Va.; and Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon were simply trying to better their lives and find farm work, prosecutors argued. They gave their lives for petty robbery.
Beasley, who was already awaiting trial on a burglary and prostitution charge from 2004 when he was apprehended, could face the death penalty. He has pleaded not guilty.