There’s an incredibly detailed background story on Wired UK this week on the infamous Craigslist Killers, Richard Beasley and Brogan Rafferty. Beasley was recently sentenced to death after being found guilty for luring three men to the death with fake job postings on the popular Craigslist website. Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison as he was technically a minor at the time of the crimes.
Beasley, a street preacher, joined up with an impressionable Rafferty to use the promise of jobs on a southeast Ohio farm to lure them into robberies. Three men were killed, and a fourth testified at their trial.
The Wired article reports:
It is November, and 5am feels like winter. As he has on many mornings these past four months of 2011, Brogan Rafferty, age 16, wakes up early to help his friend and mentor, Rich Beasley, on an errand of Beasley’s design. Rafferty doesn’t need to pick up Beasley until six, but unlike your typical teenager, Rafferty likes to get up early and drink coffee in the morning so he has some time to himself before he leaves the house.
Today they are going to pick up Timothy Kern, age 47, who will be waiting for them in a strip-mall parking lot with all his earthly possessions. Like the three men who preceded him on this grim adventure, Kern answered an ad on Craigslist that said: “We need someone to watch our farm down in southern Ohio. Live for free in a double-wide trailer, nothing in the way of duties except to take in the peacefulness of the countryside and remark on the changing of the seasons and make sure no one steals any farm equipment or perpetrates any mischief. The pay is $300 (£175) a week.”
When they brought men to “the farm”, Beasley had a trick he’d pull. He’d walk in front of the subjects right away and let them follow him down one of the tracks into the forest. Having a stranger walking behind you into the woods tends to raise defences. And then at some point — like in Scott Davis’s case, when they were looking for some construction equipment they couldn’t find — there’d be an excuse to turn around. And just like that, the subject would be out in front. That’s when Beasley would shoot him in the head without the victim ever knowing what happened, Rafferty says. It was the beauty of Beasley’s method that he never had to lay a hand on anyone, never had to overpower a body — he simply had to pick the right people and then be the guy in charge.