AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Jurors deliberated for a second day Tuesday in the triple murder case against an ex-convict charged in the deaths of three men and wounding of a fourth man lured with Craigslist job offers.
With a gag order in place, there was no word from the judge on whether jurors had sent any questions that might indicate what issues were on their minds as they weigh the evidence against 53-year-old Richard Beasley.
Jurors got the case late Monday and will be sequestered in a hotel each night until reaching a verdict.
If Beasley is convicted of aggravated murder, the same jury will return later to consider whether to recommend the death penalty.
His 18-year-old co-defendant, Brogan Rafferty, was convicted and sentenced last year to life in prison without chance of parole. Brogan was under 18 at the time of the crimes and was ineligible for the death penalty.
The jury must consider two weeks of testimony and decide 26 counts including aggravated murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, aggravated robbery and possession of a weapon by an ex-convict.
There are nine aggravated murder counts — three for each victim and each offering a different theory: that the murder was planned or was done while committing a kidnapping or robbery.
Each aggravated murder count includes specifications which would toughen the possible sentence to death, including killing two or more people.
The jury received 80 verdict forms detailing each count and specification and each must be signed by each member of the unanimous jury. A trial judge typically will make sure the forms are filled out properly before reading the verdict.
Prosecutors brought more than 300 items of evidence to court from last year's trial of Rafferty. The items included autopsy photos, surveillance video, DNA analysis and bullets.
Prosecutor Jonathan Baumoel urged jurors in a closing statement on Monday to use common sense and follow the "straight line" of truth and convict Beasley.
One of Beasley's defense attorneys, James Burdon, asked jurors to put aside any pressure they may feel to convict Beasley because of the notoriety of the case and instead decide on the evidence.
Beasley, who returned to Ohio from Texas in 2004 after serving several years in prison on a burglary conviction, denied involvement in the 2011 attacks and said that the lone survivor was sent to kill him in retaliation for being a police snitch in a motorcycle gang investigation in Akron.
Prosecutors said Beasley and Brogan used the job postings as bait in a robbery plot aimed at down-on-their-luck victims with few family ties that might highlight their disappearance. The slain men were Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron; David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Va.; and Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon.
Rafferty has said the crimes were horrible but he didn't see any chance to stop the killings. Rafferty said he feared Beasley would kill him and his relatives if he tipped off police.