By CNN Staff
(CNN) — An Ohio jury Tuesday convicted a 53-year-old man for killing three men who had answered a Craigslist ad for work on a cattle farm.
Richard Beasley was found guilty on 26 counts of aggravated murder, kidnapping, aggravated robbery and other charges.
Jurors will return March 20 to determine if Beasley should receive the death penalty, CNN affiliate WKYC reported.
Prosecutors said Beasley was the “principal offender” in the murders of three men between August and November 2011. During the trial, prosecutors indicated robbery might have been one possible motive for the killings.
The victims — Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron, Ohio; David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Virginia; and Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon, Ohio — were found dead in separate shallow graves after responding to an online ad soliciting workers, authorities have said.
The investigation into the killings began the night of November 6, 2011, when a Noble County deputy sheriff responded to a call and came upon a “white, middle-aged man being treated for a gunshot wound to the right arm,” according to Sheriff Stephen S. Hannum of Noble County.
The wounded man — Scott Davis from South Carolina — told the law enforcement officer that he had answered an ad on the Craigslist website offering work caring for cattle on a 688-acre property in eastern Ohio before he was shot by Beasley.
Brogan Rafferty, 17, of Stow, Ohio, a high school sophomore, was convicted in October on charges of aggravated murder and attempted murder in connection with the killings, CNN affiliate WJW reported. He was sentenced to three life sentences without the possibility of parole.