AKRON, Ohio – The self-styled Ohio street preacher convicted of killing three men lured into a robbery scheme by fake Craigslist job offers had his sentencing postponed Tuesday because one of his attorneys fell ill.
Richard Beasley had been scheduled to learn his sentence in the killings of a trio of down-on-their-luck victims who died after responding to online ads for work on a southeastern Ohio farm.
The jury that convicted Beasley, 53, last week recommended he be executed. The judge has the option of reducing the sentence to life in prison.
Co-defendant Brogan Rafferty, who was 16 at the time of the crimes in 2011, was sentenced by the same judge last year to life without parole. Because of his age, he wasn’t eligible for the death penalty.
The slain men were Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron; David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Va.; and Timothy Kern, 47, of nearby Massillon. All were down-and-out men looking for a fresh start in life, prosecutors said at trial.
A fourth man who was wounded testified at Beasley’s trial.
Beasley, who sat through the proceedings in a wheelchair he uses because of back pain, testified the survivor pulled a gun on him first in retaliation for being a police informant in a motorcycle club investigation.
Beasley didn’t take the stand at the trial’s sentencing phase to appeal for mercy.
His attorneys instead called his mother, a psychologist and one of his friends.
Prosecutor Jonathan Baumoel said last week that Ohio reserves the death penalty for “the worst of the worst” and, as such, said Beasley deserves to be executed.