David, Tim, Ron, and Scott were down on their luck, to say the least. All of them were either approaching or way past minimum wage, out of work, and trying desperately to find any job at all that would allow them to live and care for their loved ones.
Then, one day, each of them received a godsend. It was an ad on Craigslist, the same ad in fact, for a job that might be just the opportunity they needed to get themselves back on track. For most of them, the job was much farther away than they would have considered normally, but desperate times call for desperate measures…
In 2008, a series of economic blunders throughout the United States and other countries landed the world economy in a complete economic recession. The result of which was that millions of people lost not only their jobs but many lost their retirement funds and their 401Ks. The recession hit hard throughout rural America.
The people of Ohio were still feeling the effects of the recession for years afterward. Many older people, in particular, those with no higher education who were competing against younger, more qualified workers, were forced to find odd jobs to make ends meet. Some of these desperate folks, like David Pauley and Timothy Kern, sought jobs on the website Craigslist…
The advertisement in question, the one that all two men responded to, offered $300 a week as well as a free trailer and unlimited fishing. All the men had to do was watch over a 688-acre patch of hilly farmland and feed a few cows. David and Tim, both of whom were from different walks of life but in the same desperate position, applied for the job.
What joined the two men was not just the job, but also their desperation. Both men had been on the receiving end of a string of unfortunate events. They were out of work, their marriages had been broken, and their youth had begun to flee them. David, was so desperate for a job that would support his three children, that he drove from Virginia to Ohio for the interview…
Tim Kern had worked for five years as a delivery driver at a Domino’s Pizza but had been forced to quit when his broken down car proved too expensive to repair. He too had kids of his own and was trying to find any job at all to keep them fed and clothed. It didn’t matter that the job might force him to live away from his family, just as long as he could send them money.
Thousands of Applicants
Among the multitude of applicants that came in for this cushy, though inglorious position, only David, and Tim were called in for the interview. It seemed like it was too good to be true, and even if it didn’t pay exceptionally well, it wasn’t as if the two men had job offers lining up outside their doors. They had to take a chance and hope that luck would hold out…
David and Tim all drove to Ohio to apply for the position: but neither of them ever returned to their families. At first, the missing men seemed wholly unrelated. After all, they were both of them from different places in the country, one as far as Virginia. It seemed unlikely that they would be connected by anything but misfortune.
Because of the men’s desperate situations, police initially believed that suicide was possible. On November 6, 2010, police officers from Noble County, Ohio responded to a call about “a white middle-aged man” with a gunshot wound to the arm. The wounded man had recently answered an advertisement on Craigslist and had barely escaped with his life…
Scott Davis had been walking through a wooded area next to a farmland; the same farmland eluded to in the Craigslist ad. He too had been desperate enough to drive out to meet the job poster in this unusual locale. As he wandered through the woods, he heard a gun being cocked and turned to see a man pointing the gun at his head. He deflected it and ran, but was shot in the arm as he fled.
Hide and Seek
He managed to hide in the woods until nightfall before seeking help at a house two miles away. When they arrived, police searched the property and found a hand-dug grave but no perpetrator. Five days later, David Pauley’s twin sister, who lived in Boston, called the Ohio police. She’d heard the story of the man who escaped and believed that her brother had answered the same ad…
The entire ad had been a ruse to lure these desperate men to their deaths. Scott too had come from another state to apply for the position, all the way from South Carolina in fact. It seemed that whoever was responsible for the original posting, was looking specifically for applicants from many states. It would ensure his macabre scheme could go on unnoticed for some time.
Sadly, the ensuing investigation uncovered the bodies of both missing men in shallow graves dotted across the purported “farmland” where they were supposed to be living for the job. Though their families could find some solace in the fact that they could now rest in peace, there was still the matter of locating their killer…
At first, police suggested that robbery might be a possible motive. This was quickly dismissed as all three men were as down-on-their-luck as can as can be and probably didn’t have more than $50 on their person at the time of the killing. It seems more likely that the killer simply enjoyed killing and sought out loners with few ties to the community who wouldn’t be missed.
The police tracked the add back to 52-year-old Richard Beasley of Akron and Brogan Rafferty, a 16-year-old high school student who lived in Stow, Ohio. But what could these two very different individuals have to do with the murders and attempted murder of four downtrodden men? For answers, police looked into Mr. Beasley’s substantial criminal record…
Beasley’s long criminal record includes 15 counts of promoting prostitution, likely on Craigslist, as well as selling OxyContin. The Noble County sheriff arrested Beasley on these charges but couldn’t seem to trace him back to the Craiglist killings. For that, they looked to his unusually young accomplice: Brogan Rafferty.
Rafferty, on the other hand, was identified by Scott Davis as being the man who attempted to shoot him in the woods. They were also able to connect him to the aggravated murder of David Pauley as well, though not that of Timothy Kern. Beasley was a family friend of Rafferty’s, and the boy idolized him, but even so, what could have possessed the boy to kill for him?
According to Brogan’s mother, her son is a good boy, who has spent hundreds of hours doing charitable work like taking food to the poor. She insists that her son is innocent that he must have been in thrall to Richard Beasley, who she also maintains had never exhibited that level of malevolence before.
Not his Fault
“All I know is he would not hurt anyone in the world unless he was threatened,” said Carol Rafferty. And while that much is clearly not true of her son, there is some evidence that Beasley was, by all accounts, a completely non-threatening person. One of the job applicants, Ron Sanson also managed to get away, having seen the real mastermind behind the macabre murders…
Ron, a former construction worker, was interviewed by Mr. Beasely in the food court of a mall. He said that he had good antennae for trouble and picked up nothing strange about Beasley. He looked like a scraggly farmer to him. Fortunately for him, he didn’t get the job, and his life was spared.
Life for Their Lives
In the end, the police were able to successfully link Richard Beasley to the murders. He was given life in prison. Brogan Rafferty, despite his naïveté and his age, was given 30 years to life for his part in the gruesome scheme. As uncommon as it is in this day and age, in this case, justice was served.