AKRON, Ohio – The man suspected in a deadly Craigslist robbery scheme in the U.S. pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges including aggravated murder and kidnapping.
Richard Beasley, 52, hid his face in his arms during his arraignment by video hookup from an Ohio jail. He said he worried that showing his face might contaminate the jury pool.
Beasley is accused of killing three men last fall and wounding a fourth, who was shot but escaped after hiding in the woods. Prosecutors say victims of the alleged plot were lured with a Craigslist online job ad for work on a nonexistent cattle farm. The scheme targeted older, single, out-of-work men with backgrounds that made it unlikely their disappearances would be noted right away.
Beasley was indicted on 27 counts and could face the death penalty if convicted.
A 17-year-old boy also charged has pleaded not guilty to juvenile count on similar charges.
In a four-page handwritten letter to the Akron Beacon Journal, Beasley has said he has been miscast as a con man when he really helped feed, house and counsel scores of needy families, alcoholics, drug addicts, the mentally ill and crime suspects for years.