April 4th, 2013 | By love not hate
A self-styled street preacher insisted ‘I killed nobody’ as he was sentenced to death today in the killings of three down-and-out men lured by bogus job offers posted on Craigslist.
The jury that convicted Richard Beasley of murder last month recommended that he face execution and Judge Lynne Callahan chose not to reduce the sentence this morning to life in prison, uttering under her breath as the killer left the court room ‘I think I’m going to be sick.’
Beasley, 53, was convicted of teaming up with a teenager in 2011 to use the promise of jobs on a southeast Ohio farm to lure the men to their deaths.
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Three men were killed, and a fourth who was wounded testified at Beasley’s trial.
The judge read the three death sentences in a hushed courtroom crowded with victims’ relatives, some of them holding back tears, Beasley skipped the chance to speak to the judge before the sentencing.
He asked to speak later, but the judge said that was his chance, and he passed on it. He listened to the verdict with his head on his chest, sitting in a wheelchair he uses for back pain.
Sick: Judge Lynne Callahan, pictured right, chose not to reduce Beasley’s sentence to life in prison, uttering under her breath as the killer, left, exited the court room ‘I think I’m going to be sick’
Beasley, however, was allowed to make a brief statement before being sentenced on additional counts.
He told the court, ‘I killed nobody. To the families, I’m sorry. … I will continue to pray for you.’
As family members left the courtroom, one of them was overheard to say to Beasley, ‘Your words mean nothing.’
Beasley wore a red and white striped prison jumpsuit and was seated in a wheelchair during the proceeding.
Beasley’s co-defendant, who was 16 at the time of the crimes, was too young to face the death penalty. Brogan Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole on his conviction last year.
Victims: David Pauley (left) was found buried in a shallow grave in 2011. Police later unearthed the body of Timothy Kern (right)
Murderer: Ralph Geiger, right, was also lured to his death by Beasley, pictured left in his mugshot
One victim was killed near Akron, and the others were shot at a southeast Ohio farm during bogus job interviews.
The slain men were Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron; David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Va.; and Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon. All were looking for a fresh start in life, prosecutors said repeatedly during the trial.
The survivor, Scott Davis, now 49, testified that he heard the click of a gun as he walked in front of Beasley at the reputed job site.
Davis, who was shot in an arm, knocked the weapon aside, fled into the woods and tipped police.
Beasley, who returned to Ohio from Texas in 2004 after serving several years in prison on a burglary conviction, claimed at trial that Davis had in fact pulled a gun on him in retaliation for Beasley serving as a police informant in a motorcycle gang investigation.
In arguing the sentence before the jury, both sides highlighted Rafferty’s case: The defense said his life sentence should factor into the jury’s deliberations but prosecutors said it shouldn’t because Rafferty’s age ruled out the death penalty entirely.
The jury recommended execution after hearing two hours of testimony from witnesses, including Beasley’s tearful mother, who were called to portray him sympathetically and press for leniency.
Carol Beasley testified that her son had a troubled childhood and suffered physical abuse by his stepfather.
She also said she learned within the past year that her son had been sexually abused by neighborhood youngsters.
Partner in crime: Beasley’s co-defendant Brogan Rafferty, seen, who was 16 at the time of the crimes, was too young to face the death penalty for his part in the murders
‘I always felt there was much more than he told me,’ she said.
As she testified, Beasley slumped forward, his chin on his chest and his right hand covering his eyes.
The defense also called a psychologist, John Fabian, who testified that Beasley suffers from depression, alcohol abuse, low self-esteem and a feeling of isolation, all possible results of a troubled, abusive childhood.
Prosecutor Jonathan Baumoel had urged jurors to consider the ‘enormous’ weight of Beasley’s crimes as they considered his punishment, calling him ‘the worst of the worst.
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