AKRON, Ohio — A Summit County judge on Thursday sentenced Richard James Beasley to death for the murder of three men and for attempting to kill a fourth.
Common Pleas Judge Lynne S. Callahan followed the jury's recommendation of death for Beasley, 53, in the so-called Craigslist case. The jury convicted him last month.
"Richard Beasley is a cold-blooded manipulator with zero regard for human life," said Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh. "Beasley has shown no remorse and would likely still be preying on men who were seeking a better life. It is never a joyous occasion when someone is sentenced to die, but in this case, the death penalty is the most appropriate sentence."
Beasley's attorneys had implored jurors to spare Beasley's life and consider lesser penalties, such as life in prison with no parole, or parole eligibility after 25 or 30 years. Jurors, however, recommended death after only two hours of deliberations.
At the sentencing, Beasley listened to his fate with his head down. He asked to make a statement only after the sentencing.
He continued to maintain his innocence. He said the killings were "horrible" and that he was heartbroken for their losses, but insisted he did nothing wrong.
"I have killed nobody."
He encouraged family members to write to him or visit him in prison.
Beasley was sentenced to death in the shooting deaths of Ralph Geiger, David Pauley and Timothy Kern. Beasley also was convicted of attempting to kill Scott Davis.
Davis was met with applause in the hallway of the courtroom after the sentencing by the family members of those killed. They credited him for helping to get Beasley convicted.
Davis said he thanks God for the strength to get out of the situation alive to bring Beasley to justice.
He called Beasley a "worthless monster" and a "liar."
All four men had been lured by a bogus job offer as caretaker of a vast, isolated property in Noble County, Ohio. The ad, which Beasley wrote, first appeared on Craigslist, according to trial testimony, on Oct. 6, 2011.
Prosecutors said Beasley targeted down-on-their-luck men, with few family ties, who were hoping to land their dream job.
Geiger, 56, of Akron, was killed Aug. 9, 2011. His body was found in Noble County in November, the same day the body of Kern, 47, of Massillon, Ohio, was found in a wooded area near the former Rolling Acres mall in southwest Akron.
Authorities believe Kern was killed Nov. 13, and Pauley, 51, of Virginia, on Oct. 23.
The scheme came to the attention of law enforcement when Davis, 50, a Stark County, Ohio, native living in South Carolina, was shot Nov. 6 while touring the property. He escaped and alerted Noble County sheriff's investigators.
Beasley's co-defendant, Brogan Rafferty, a former Stow-Munroe Falls High School student, was convicted of three counts of aggravated murder last year. He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. Because he was 16 at the time of the crimes, he could not receive the death penalty.
"While nothing can erase what happened to Scott Davis, Ralph Geiger, Timothy Kern and David Pauley, I hope that their families and Mr. Davis can now find some measure of peace," said Walsh.