Prostitution hearing for Ohio Craigslist suspect
THOMAS J. SHEERAN
COLUMBUS — A suspect in a deadly Craigslist robbery scheme pleaded not guilty to unrelated prostitution charges Friday, while an investigation continues into two deaths and a nonfatal shooting linked to the plot.
No charges related to the scheme have been filed against Richard Beasley, but the FBI has placed a hold on Beasley requiring the agency to be notified if he’s released from jail.
Beasley was arraigned in Summit County Common Pleas Court in Akron on a 15-count prostitution indictment, including one count that he pressed a 17-year-old boy into prostitution.
Beasley plans to fight the charges, said his attorney, Rhonda Kotnik. She asked for more time to review evidence in light of the prosecution’s announced plan to add a racketeering count to the case against Beasley.
Bond on an unrelated drug charge against Beasley was revoked Thursday and bond was set earlier at $1 million on the prostitution case.
Also, a new court date has been set to determine if an Ohio teen charged in the Craigslist plot should be tried as an adult.
Brogan Rafferty, 16, of Akron faces juvenile charges of aggravated murder, complicity to aggravated murder, attempted murder and complicity to attempted murder in the death of a Norfolk, Va., man and the shooting of a man from South Carolina.
The assignment commissioner of Noble County Probate Court scheduled a Dec. 15 hearing for Rafferty.
Rafferty appeared briefly in court earlier this week but the hearing was postponed because his father, who wasn’t present, hadn’t received proper notice of new charges filed last week.
Authorities say the teenager was involved in a scheme in which applicants answering a phony Craigslist ad for farm work were robbed, then killed. Two bodies and a man who survived the shooting have been tied to the scheme, while investigators haven’t said whether another body, found in Noble County last week, is also connected.
Funeral services are scheduled Tuesday in Massillon for Timothy Kern, 47, who interviewed for the job earlier this month, and was last seen leaving to meet Beasley on Nov. 13. Authorities found his body Nov. 29 in a shallow grave near an Akron shopping mall.