AKRON, Ohio, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- At his Ohio murder trial Tuesday, Brogan Rafferty, 16, said he did not expect the first of three killings and was threatened by his mentor who did the killing.
Defense attorneys in Summit County Common Please Court pointed to Rafferty's alleged involvement in the slayings of three men and the wounding of a fourth, respondents to a Craigslist advertisement seeking a non-existent position of property caretaker, as an example of being duped by alleged mentor Richard Beasley, 53, who claimed to be a born-again Christian with a man-of-God persona, the Akron Beacon Journal reported Tuesday.
Prosecutors contend Rafferty was a willing participant in the murder plots. He is charged with murder, kidnapping, robbery and other charges.
Beasley has pleaded not guilty to similar charges and will be tried early next year.
On the witness stand under questioning by his attorney, John Alexander, Rafferty said he was caught unawares by the first killing, in which Beasley allegedly shot Ralph Geiger on Aug. 9.
He also testified Beasley threatened to kill his mother and sister if he spoke of the slaying. Prior to the shooting he had trusted Beasley, Rafferty said, describing him as his "spiritual mentor" and family friend.
Michael Rafferty, Brogan's father, testified Monday he divorced Brogan's mother before his son's first birthday because of her crack addiction. The mother and son only saw each other sporadically over the years, he said.
Frequent visits by Beasley, a friend of the elder Rafferty, after Beasley's release from prison in the late 1990s, turned into a "mentor" or "uncle" relationship with the boy, the father said. Beasley, who had undergone a religious conversion, frequently took Brogan Rafferty to church, the father testified.
"As a parent you just don't know. Just look at what happened," Michael Rafferty said in court.
The trial is expected to end this week, the newspaper said.