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Ohio jury recommends death for convicted Craigslist killer

Accused Craigslist killer Richard Beasley reacts while jury verdict forms are checked after being found guilty in Summit County Court of Common Pleas courtroom in Akron, Ohio March 12, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal/Pool

AKRON, Ohio (Reuters) - An Ohio jury recommended the death penalty on Wednesday for Richard Beasley, who was convicted of murdering down-on-their-luck men who responded to a Craigslist ad for a non-existent job.

Beasley, 53, was found guilty earlier this month for the kidnapping and murder of David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Virginia; Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron; and Timothy Kern, 47, of Massillon, Ohio.

He was also convicted of the attempted murder of Scott Davis, a South Carolina man who answered the Craigslist ad and was shot in the arm while escaping after meeting Beasley and a teenage accomplice, Brogan Rafferty.

The jury took less than three hours to come to a decision recommending the death penalty, and Judge Lynne Callahan said on Wednesday she will sentence Beasley on March 26.

Beasley and his accomplice were convicted in separate trials over the deadly scheme, in which they lured three of the men by promising a bogus $300-a-week job as a ranch hand in rural Ohio.

Prosecutors said Beasley was the mastermind and trigger man behind the murders and contend he first lured Ralph Geiger, a homeless man, to Noble County where he shot and killed him to steal his identity and escape arrest on an outstanding warrant.

Reporting by Kim Palmer; Writing by Mary Wisniewski and James Kelleher; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Bob Burgdorfer