The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

March 13, 2013

Man convicted in deadly Craigslist plot in Ohio

(Continued)

One man was killed near Akron, and the others were shot at a southeast Ohio farm during bogus job interviews.

The slain men were Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron; David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Va.; and Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon.

The survivor, Scott Davis, testified that he heard the click of a gun as he walked in front of Beasley at the reputed job site. Davis, who was shot in an arm, knocked the weapon aside.

"I spun around," testified Davis, who told a harrowing story of running through the woods and hiding for seven hours. "I was worried about bleeding to death."

Prosecutors said it was a miracle that Davis, who also was the star witness at Rafferty's trial, survived the encounter with Beasley in Noble County, 60 miles east of Columbus.

"Only by the grace of God did he escape with his life," Baumoel told the jury.

It was Davis' escape on Nov. 6, 2011, that led authorities to find Pauley's body in the same area where Davis was shot. Geiger's body also was found in Noble County. Kern's body was found in a shallow grave near an Akron-area shopping mall.

Kern's father, Jack Kern, watched the Beasley verdict from the front row of the courtroom's gallery and said later he was satisfied.

"I didn't have a doubt," he said.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys, governed by a gag order, left the court without commenting.

Beasley, who returned to Ohio from Texas in 2004 after serving several years in prison on a burglary conviction, testified that he met with Davis and that Davis was the one who pulled a gun.

"It misfired three times about 2 feet from my face, and I ran into the woods, and he ran after me," Beasley said.

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