Defense Argues Alleged Craigslist Mastermind Mistakenly Targeted by Police
The prosecution says Richard Beasley is a "wolf in sheep's clothing," reports the Akron Beacon Journal.
Wolf in sheep's clothing or wrongly accused man?
In her opening remarks Monday, Assistant Ohio Attorney General Emily Pelphrey used the biblical reference to portray Richard Beasley -- the suspected mastermind of the Craigslist slayings -- as a killer who preyed on unsuspecting men in need of work.
The prosecution alleges Beasley, a self-proclaimed Akron minister, posted a fake job ad on Craigslist luring men to a southeast Ohio farm; and when they arrived, his accomplice, Brogan Rafferty, would kill them.
Pelphrey said Beasley assumed various identities, including that of Ralph Geiger, "a homeless man whose body was found on the farmland in Noble County where the killings allegedly took place," reports the Akron Beacon Journal.
However, defense attorney James Burdon said Beasley got mixed up with the wrong crowd, leading police to unjustifiably conclude he was the guilty party.
Burdon said Beasley befriended members of local motorcycle gangs known for violence, and one of those members owned property near the alleged site of the killings.
Burdon also refuted accounts by the state's key witness, Scott Davis, who was reportedly shot on the farm in question after responding to Beasley's job ad, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.
The trial will likely last another five weeks, and the prosecution may ask Rafferty to testify against Beasley during the trial.
A 12-person jury found Rafferty, a former Stow-Munroe Falls High School student, guilty on nine counts of aggravated murder and other charges in November for his part in the Craigslist killings.