By Phil Trexler, Akron Beacon Journal –
AKRON, Ohio — A grand jury is now expected to hear murder charges against a Stow, Ohio, teen, who did not contest the prosecution’s efforts to have him tried as an adult in two slayings from the Craigslist shootings case.
The decision to bypass a probable cause hearing on Wednesday is expected to bring a merger of all murder and robbery charges against 17-year-old Brogan Rafferty in Summit County Common Pleas Court, where he would face a potential lifelong prison sentence.
Rafferty appeared before Juvenile Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio on Wednesday morning. He sat handcuffed at a table flanked by his attorney, John Alexander, and his mother, Yvette Snyder.
He made no statements other than to acknowledge to the judge that he understood the rights he was surrendering when waiving his probable cause hearing on charges that included two counts of aggravated murder.
Teodosio ordered that Rafferty be moved from juvenile detention to the county jail while awaiting trial. By law, he must be segregated at the jail from adult inmates.
Rafferty and co-defendant Richard Beasley, 52, are accused of luring three men to their deaths with a bogus help-wanted Craigslist ad placed late last summer and offering work on a nonexistent farm in rural Noble County. A fourth man survived a gunshot wound, escaped and alerted police to the sham.
Beasley has pleaded not guilty. His trial is scheduled for Jan. 7.
Alexander said holding a probable cause hearing and fighting a transfer to Common Pleas Court would be futile because state laws essentially mandate juveniles over 16 be tried as adults.
The defense attorney added that he wanted to avoid a hearing and witness testimony and the subsequent public airing of evidence facing the former Stow-Munroe Falls High School junior.
Rafferty is already charged as an adult in Summit County on one murder and one attempted murder case connected to the Craigslist shootings. In February, he pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, kidnapping and other felonies.
Two other homicide charges had been pending in juvenile court and will now go to the Summit County grand jury for consideration of an indictment that would also be tried in Common Pleas Court. Alexander said he expects an indictment to be forthcoming in two to three weeks.