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Craigslist killer gets death sentence

| Thursday, April 4, 2013, 9:42 p.m.

AKRON, Ohio — A self-styled street preacher was sentenced to death on Thursday in the killings of three down-and-out men lured by bogus job offers posted on Craigslist.

The jury that convicted Richard Beasley of murder recommended that he face execution. The judge had the option of reducing the sentence to life in prison.

Beasley, 53, was convicted of teaming up with a teenager in 2011 to use the promise of jobs on a southeast Ohio farm to lure them into robberies. Three men were killed, and a fourth who was wounded testified at Beasley's trial.

Beasley skipped the chance to speak to the judge before the sentencing on the aggravated murder convictions. He listened to the verdict with his head on his chest, sitting in a wheelchair he uses for back pain.

Later, about to be sentenced on other crimes including kidnapping, Beasley said he sympathized with the families of victims but said he was innocent and expects to have his conviction overturned on appeal.

“I have killed nobody, and that's a fact,” Beasley said.

“This case will be reversed,” said Beasley, whose statement was cut short by the judge. She said he could comment on the sentencing only.

Beasley's co-defendant, who was 16 at the time of the crimes, was too young to face the death penalty. Brogan Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole on his conviction last year.

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