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Courts and Crime

Akron jury recommends death for Craigslist killer
Judge is expected to hand down the sentence for Richard Beasley 

Mark Urycki
Richard Beasley uses his cane to hide his face as he is wheeled into Summit County Common Pleas Judge Lynne Callahan's courtroom during the mitigation phase in Beasley's prosecution on Wednesday. He kept his head down and covered his face with one hand as his mother testified.
Courtesy of Paul Tople/Akron Beacon Journal
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The Summit County jury in the trial of the so-called Craigslist Killer has recommended the death penalty. Richard Beasley was convicted of killing three men and attempting to kill another, all of whom he met by placing fake job ads on Craigslist. Today, in his sentencing hearing, Beasley‘s attorneys attempted to show him in a sympathetic light. WKSU’s Mark Urycki reports that included putting his mother on the stand.
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Richard Beasley testified in his trial that he was a victim, and the man he wounded, Scott Davis, was trying to kill him. And Wednesday the jury heard testimony again that Beasley was a victim. But not from him. Beasley did not testify in the sentencing phase of his capital murder trial.  

He kept his head down, one hand covering his face, as his mother described his childhood. His father left when he was a baby and she married Jim Beasley, a man she says abused her and the boy, Richard. She was asked whether Richard brought any friends home.

“We never had anyone come to our house, kids or adults, because you just never knew when Jim was going to go into a rampage, and he (Richard) would’ve been embarrassed.”

Mrs. Beasley said she told her children to keep their problems within the immediate family. Clinical psychologist John Fabian testified that Beasley’s mother was unable to properly parent her son.

“I think she had difficulties caretaking at times for Richard due to the abuse she had experienced developmentally. It’s kind of the cycle of violence, as we say in the field.”

Fabian said Beasley’s isolation, abuse and depression turned into narcissistic and anti-social personality. He also said the case should be viewed through a multi-generational lens. Richard Beasley served as a mentor to 16-year- old Brogan Rafferty, who was an accomplice in the murders. Rafferty is serving a life sentence.  

The jury took about 2½ hours to deliberate and recommend the death penalty for each of his three murders. Judge Lynne Callahan will listen to the surviving victim and the relatives of the others next and is expected to hand down her sentence Tuesday.

Beasley's convictions: 

  • Nine counts of Aggravated Murder with
    • Gun specification
    • Multiple victims death specification
    • Aggravated robbery death specification
    • Kidnapping death specification
    • Under detention death specification
  • One count of Attempted Murder with a gun specification,
  • Four counts of Aggravated Robbery with gun specifications,
  • Four counts of Kidnapping with gun specifications,
  • Four counts of Having Weapons Under Disability,
  • One count of Identity Fraud
  • Two counts of Grand Theft, and
  • Two counts of Petty Theft.
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