Akron (US): The teenage suspect in the killings of three US men lured by phony Craigslist job offers testified at his murder trial on Tuesday that he went along only because he feared the gunman would kill him, too.
Brogan Rafferty, 17, said he feared his co-defendant might kill him and family members if he objected. Rafferty`s co-defendant, Richard Beasley, will be tried separately. He has pleaded not guilty.
Authorities say the victims answered Craigslist ads for work on a nonexistent cattle farm in Ohio.
The scheme targeted older, single, out-of-work men with backgrounds that made it unlikely their disappearances would be noticed right away, according to authorities.
Beasley could face the death penalty if convicted. As a juvenile, Rafferty instead faces a life prison sentence without chance of parole if convicted of aggravated murder.
Rafferty said his father befriended Beasley, and the ex-convict took Rafferty under his wing, taking him to church and becoming a "spiritual mentor."
On the first outing of what led to three shooting deaths and the wounding of a fourth man, Rafferty said there was no warning in the killing of Ralph Geiger, 55, on August 9, 2011. Rafferty testified that he vomited during a rest stop during the drive home.
"Did you agree to any of this?" defense attorney John Alexander asked.
"No," Rafferty said.
Rafferty testified that Beasley stayed in touch, sometimes daily, to check on his whereabouts after the first killing.
"Did you fear he was watching?" his attorney asked.
"Yes," Rafferty responded. "Because he was."
Rafferty said there was no logic to the killing, leading him to believe he might become the next victim.