Teen in Craigslist killings gets life

By Phil Trexler

Akron Beacon Journal


Brogan Rafferty’s confession to the Craigslist killings continued to haunt him as the Stow teen was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

His confession to the slayings of three men about a year ago was given in lieu of a chance of parole after 26 years and his pledge to testify against his co-defendant. The deal died.

Just this week, prosecutors offered him another deal, one in which Rafferty could seek freedom after 30 years. Rafferty took it, but that deal was pulled with no comment from the state in court.

So with no agreement in place, the 17-year-old stood like a wide-eyed target before Summit County Common Pleas Judge Lynne Callahan, facing three aggravated murder convictions and an assortment of other charges.

Although appearing emotional at times, the judge hammered Rafferty with a no-parole sentence that would — if it withstands a constitutional challenge — guarantee that Rafferty dies behind bars.

Callahan said she didn’t buy Rafferty’s claim that he aided Richard Beasley, 53, his so-called spiritual mentor, only out of fear. Instead, she called his actions “cold, calculated and methodical.”

Defense attorneys John Alexander, Ed Smith and Jill Flagg pledged to appeal Rafferty’s conviction in the slayings of three men and the attempted killing of a fourth.

They reiterated Friday that Rafferty, before being sentenced, was still willing to testify against Beasley.

Prosecutors are seeking a death sentence for Beasley, who they claim conceived the Craigslist plot to lure three men to their deaths. Beasley is set for trial in January.

Rafferty’s testimony would have put Beasley behind the trigger of all three killings, something prosecutors currently lack in terms of eyewitness testimony.

Alexander criticized prosecutors for requesting such a harsh sentence despite previously agreeing for half the time.

Alexander also took exception to Assistant County Prosecutor Jonathan Baumoel criticizing Rafferty for taking his case to trial and forcing family members to listen to horrific details.

Alexander said the original deal struck in Noble County fell apart because of conduct of Rafferty’s former court-appointed attorney, Jack Blakeslee. He said Blakeslee would not talk with Rafferty’s parents about the deal and the agreement fell apart.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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