"Craigslist Killer" Case Before Ohio Supreme Court
Lawyers for an Akron man who was called the Craigslist Killer asked the Ohio Supreme Court today to throw out his conviction. Richard Beasley is facing a death sentence after being convicted of killing three men and trying to kill a fourth.
Prosecutors said Beasley and his 16 year old accomplice Brogan Rafferty lured men to a farm in southern Ohio through Craigslist job ads and then robbed and killed them. His appeal is based on 11 issues which include pretrial publicity.
But oral arguments focused on the claim that Beasley had ineffective counsel. Attorney Donald Gallick citing court precedent, told the court the case was fatally harmed when prosecutors referred to Jesus when calling Beasley a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
“You shouldn’t get into religious arguments in closing arguments, let alone opening statement that sets the tone for the entire trial,” said Gallick.
But Stephen Maher, representing the state, argued that Beasley’s defense counsel did its job. They objected to the religious reference and the judge agreed.
“It was shut down completely,” Maher said. “The trial Judge put a stop to it, sustained the defense objection, and it never came up again.”
But it was an accumulation of errors in the trial, said Gallick, that may have made the difference between Beasley being convicted on some lesser charges and now, when he’s facing the death penalty.
The state argues the outcome of the trial would not have changed.