Stow teen sentenced to life in prison for Craigslist murders

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by Jeremy Nobile | Reporter

Akron -- A Stow teenager convicted of participating in Ohio's so-called Craigslist murders will be spending the rest of his life in jail with no chance of parole.

Brogan Rafferty, 17, sat stoically Nov. 9 in Summit County Common Pleas Court while Judge Lynne Callahan, choking back emotion, delivered the maximum possible sentence.

"You got dealt a lousy hand in life," Callahan said, "but none of that is an excuse for murder."

The defense has said it plans to file an appeal.

After a couple of tearful statements made by and on behalf of friends and family members of the three deceased and one living victim, defense attorney John Alexander referenced the past several months he has spent with Rafferty, noting the teen was never in a position where he lacked remorse for his actions.

He talked of Rafferty's suffering from nightmares where he dreamt of 53-year-old Richard Beasley killing him. Beasley, Rafferty's mentor and self-proclaimed chaplain, allegedly committed the murders with Rafferty as his accomplice.

Alexander asked for leniency and requested the court give a sentence that would allow Rafferty some chance of parole "at some time so he can get out and have some sort of life after this."

Rafferty then delivered a brief statement of his own.

"I think that if I've been through hell and back, as I believe I have, they [the victims' friends and family] must be living there, and that's just my opinion," he said.

Rafferty has described himself as a manipulated, misguided youth incapable of finding a way out of the situations he said he was forced into by Beasley.

"I would just like to say I was involved. I didn't like it. I wouldn't do it if I had any other choice," he added.

However, Callahan said she didn't accept Rafferty had "no way out."

She said she took into account Rafferty's age, lack of any criminal past, and his "heartbreaking" upbringing from a broken home -- but her sympathy ended there.

"The evidence in this case clearly has you intertwined with Mr. Beasley," she said, adding that she wouldn't comment further about Beasley with his case coming up in January.

Jurors found Rafferty acted as an accomplice to Beasley in luring men through a bogus job ad posted on Craigslist and then killing them for their possessions.

The two were accused in the deaths of Ralph Geiger, 56, David Pauley, 51, and Timothy Kern, 47, and the attempted murder of Scott Davis, 49. The murders took place in Noble and Summit counties.

Email: jnobile@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400, ext. 4179

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