A 16-year-old boy, who is trying to muster a criminal defense after being convicted for the murders of at least three people, will not be eligible for the death penalty, according to a report from ABC News.
The crimes for which the boy is convicted are particularly dark. Sources indicate that the boy, Brogan Rafferty, who was allegedly aided by his mentor, 52-year-old Rich Beasley, lured potential victims into death traps by posting advertisements for farm workers on Craigslist.
The boy and his mentor allegedly posted job openings on Craigslist for people looking to work on an Ohio cattle farm. The job posting told applicants to bring all of their possession since they would be expected to live on the farm.
At least three people who responded to the ad were ultimately killed, and a fourth victim escaped death but suffered serious injuries.
This November, Rafferty and Beasley were arrested by Ohio police after they suspected that the boy and the man, who has spent 15 of the last 30 years in prison, were behind the killings.
The biggest issue facing the court in the preliminary stages of Rafferty’s trial is whether to try the 16-year-old as a child or an adult. Whatever the decision, though, Rafferty will not be eligible for the death penalty under Ohio criminal law because he is younger than 18.
Nevertheless, the distinction between being tried as an adult and as a child could have a monumental impact on Rafferty’s future freedom.
According to ABC News, if Rafferty is tried as a juvenile and convicted of his most serious criminal charge, aggravated murder, he would still probably be able to leave prison as soon as he turns 21.
On the other hand, if the judge determines that Rafferty should be tried as an adult for the four murder-related crimes, the boy could have to spend the rest of his life in prison, as life sentences are apparently allowed for teenagers under 18.
All told, Rafferty is facing charges for attempted murder, complicity to attempted murder, a
ggravated murder, and complicity to aggravated murder. The trial is taking place in Noble County, Ohio.
This week, the judge was supposed to issue a ruling on Rafferty’s status as a juvenile or adult, but the court’s failure to abide by a rule requiring it to provide notice to the boy’s parents about the hearing delayed the decision.
In a chilling courtroom moment, though, during the initial hearing, Rafferty repeatedly responded to the judge’s questions about the alleged killings with the brief phrase, “no comment.”
And, while Rafferty has not admitted to committing the crimes, he did apologize to his father for putting his family in a difficult position an asked that his father forgive him. The plea for forgiveness came in the form of a letter from jail.