Weighing the Craigslist Killer’s death sentence

Joe Bittner, ‘Doah Staff Writer 
April 10, 2013 
“Craigslist killer” Richard Beasley was sentenced to death by a judge in Akron, Ohio this month.

The nickname came from his method of attracting victims. Beasley would post job opportunities on the extremely popular advertising website Craigslist, seeking a caretaker on his farm for a weekly salary of $300. Through this he lured me in financial struggle who were looking for a tiny sliver of hope.

Three were ultimately kidnapped and killed: David Pauley of Norfolk, Va.; Ralph Geiger of Akron, Ohio; and Timothy Kern of Massillon, Ohio.

A fourth man, Scott Davis of South Carolina, was able to survive the attack and alert local police. After being shot in the arm, he fled the scene into a nearby wooded area.

During Beasley’s trial, evidence was shown for both sides. The prosecution brought forth numerous witnesses. Beasley’s mother testified for the defense about his childhood, claiming that he was physically and sexually abused by his stepfather.

However, the jurors did not feel any sort of sympathy. After hours of testimonials, they came back with a guilty verdict and recommended the death penalty. The judge did not oppose.

Is capital punishment the correct punishment for Richard Beasley? Should he be killed for his actions? Should the death penalty even be an available option?


Some people think that the death penalty makes the judicial system just as bad as the criminal. Killing is killing, right?

But this does not come down to a simple equation. While death remains the same in the sense of the word, the causes vary, and the pain and suffering felt by the families of the victims vary.

Let’s take this serial killer Beasley for example: he plotted a way to find men that were down on their luck in order to murder them in cold blood. These men were cruelly given false hope that their lives would finally turn around for the better.

The judicial system does not do this. The system does not take inmates and dangle in front of them the vain hope that they will live, then proceed to shoot them with a gun. Instead, they make the inmate as comfortable as possible with shelter and three square meals a day. They then execute them in a painless manner, unlike the bullet of a gun.

Although the death penalty may seem harsh, it is no harsher than the cruel and inhumane acts that bring about the sentence.

Life in prison does not guarantee a sense of safety to the families of the victims. Knowing that the person who brutally murdered your loved one was put to death can help begin the healing process. Closure is crucial for families.

The death penalty brings serial killers to justice — the justice they deserve for their actions.

By keeping the death penalty, the judicial system will become more sympathetic to victims of tragedy instead of cutting deals with criminals. Without it, criminals will continue to find a safe haven in the law.

What do you think?

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