This Morning in Craigslist Crime

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The murder trial of portly former street minister Richard J. Beasley got underway yesterday in Summit County. Beasley, a "wolf in sheep's clothing" — per the prosecution — is accused of luring men to a remote location in Southern Ohio with bogus farmhand work and then murdering them.

Three men died and a fourth was shot in a 3-month span during 2011. In the opening statements, defense attorneys pointed to a lack of physical evidence linking Beasley to the murders. The prosecution, after citing the bible, told jurors of cell phone and computer records which tied him to the crimes. They also revealed Beasley's penchant for assuming new identities.

In another Craigslist crackdown, the Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy girls' basketball coach was arrested on misdemeanor charges for responding to a fake prostitution ad. The 42-year-old Hudson man was one of a dozen arrested Thursday and Friday in a sting orchestrated by the Willoughby police department. The men were told they'd be meeting a 20-year-old in a hotel room. When they arrived — surprise! — handcuffs.

The man has been relieved of his basketball coaching duties and put on administrative leave from his high school teaching job at Eastlake North.

The Craigslist ad evidently was convincing enough to inspire some interstate commerce. In addition to the local men arrested (from Painesville, Rocky River, Beachwood, Cleveland, Eastlake, Mentor, etc.), one fellow from Palm Beach found himself upon this woebegone roster.

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