Opening statements in Craigslist murder trial

Opening statements in Craigslist murder trial
Richard Beasley and Brogan Rafferty
Richard Beasley and Brogan Rafferty

AKRON, OH (WOIO) - Opening statements started Friday morning in the trial for the teen accused in the Craigslist murder plot.

16-year-old Brogan Rafferty faces multiple charges, including four counts of murder.

Rafferty and 52-year-old Richard Beasley are accused of luring men to a farm in Noble County through a Craigslist ad that promised work.

Three men were killed, a fourth man was shot, but survived.

Special Prosecutor Emily Pelphrey described the victims as men who were down on their luck and responded to job postings to try and start new lives. In her words "light at the end of the tunnel."

Scott Davis, a man who responded to the Craigslist posting, was the first witness to testify and described his attack and Rafferty's role in it.

Davis was shot in the arm as he walked through woods with Beasley and Rafferty. He says Beasley had the gun pointed at his head. He was able to knock the gun away, and was shot in the arm.

Davis ran from the pair and then hid in the woods for seven hours. He said he felt they were hunting for him. He began to feel light-headed about dusk and walked three miles to a home where the owner called 911. Davis said he is fearful still, and refused to allow his face to be shown on camera.

Beasley was Rafferty's mentor and police believe co-conspirator in robbery and murder. Rafferty's family says Beasley was a trusted family friend.

Defense Attorney John Alexander told jurors how Rafferty came from a broken home with little guidance from parents. He says this case involves horrible events caused by a monster. He says Richard Beasley is that monster, not Brogan Rafferty.

Rafferty's attorney said that he knew nothing about the postings on Craigslist, and that he was unaware of Beasley's plans until Beasley pulled the trigger on the first victim.

Alexander says that Beasley told Rafferty that he had better keep his mouth shut because he knew where his mother and sister lived.

The attorney says Rafferty felt he had no choice but to do what Beasley ordered him to do because he feared that he would kill his mother and sister.

Rafferty's attorney said he contemplated suicide to "end the madness" he was caught up in. He didn't because he still feared for his family. By the time of the last murder, Rafferty was aware that they would be shooting someone and "digging another hole."

Alexander says much like the victims he picked, Beasley picked Rafferty because he had no one else and could be easily controlled.

The attorney said his defense will be that he acted under duress and didn't feel he had any other choice.

The trial will take several weeks, according to Pelphrey.

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