AKRON, Ohio (AP) -- The murder trial of the alleged triggerman in the killings of three men lured by phony Craigslist job offers in Ohio wound down Monday, with the judge instructing the jury on the law.
Judge Lynne Callahan outlined legal aspects of the case for the jury before turning over the case against Richard Beasley, 53, to jurors to decide his verdict.
The opening and closing arguments are just that -- not evidence, the judge cautioned jurors. She warned them not to consider why she overruled questions from prosecutors or the defense or what the answers might have been.
Beasley, dressed in the black suit he has worn during the trial, has back problems and sat in his wheelchairs while others stood when the jury entered the courtroom.
Beasley is charged with killing three men and wounding a fourth man. Beasley, an ex-convict and one-time street preacher, could face the death penalty if convicted.
His 18-year-old co-defendant, Brogan Rafferty, was convicted and sentenced last year to life in prison without chance of parole. Brogan was under 18 at the time of the crimes and was ineligible for the death penalty.
Beasley said he knew nothing about the killings.
"I had no idea that somebody, anybody, had been killed down on that farm. I had no way to know," Beasley testified in his defense.
Beasley denied involvement in the 2011 attacks and said that the lone survivor was sent to kill him in retaliation for being a police snitch in a motorcycle gang investigation in Akron.
Prosecutors said Beasley and Brogan used the job postings as bait in a robbery plot aimed at down-on-their-luck victims with few family ties that might highlight their disappearance. The slain men were Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron; David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Va.; and Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon.
Rafferty has said the crimes were horrible but he didn't see any chance to stop the killings. Rafferty said he feared Beasley would kill him and his relatives if he tipped off police.