Ohio Craigslist Murders: Purported Chaplain Defends Himself in Jailhouse Letter

PHOTO: Richard J. Beasley appears in Summit County Common Pleas Court on drug charges, Dec. 1, 2011, in Akron, Ohio.
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The purported Ohio chaplain linked to the murders of three men who answered a phony job ad on Craigslist defended himself in a jailhouse letter saying he is not a "con man."

Rich Beasley, 52, appeared in court today for the second time in two days. He was arraigned on 14 counts of promoting prostitution and one count of compelling prostitution. On Thursday, he was arraigned on charges of selling oxycontin.

FBI spokesman Michael Brooks told ABCNews.com that Beasley is a suspect in the Craigslist murder investigation, but would not comment on a report that Beasely is also facing federal charges of kidnapping and wire fraud. Brooks said federal documents in the case have been sealed.

Beasley appeared in court Thursday slumped in a wheelchair, wearing a striped prison uniform and with his head hanging without saying a word. His attorney Rhonda Kotnik did not respond to requests for comment today.

As the charges piled up against him, Beasely wrote to the Beacon Journal to defend his reputation.

"To call me a con man when I sacrificed for others is wrong," wrote Beasley, who has spent 15 of the last 30 years in prison. "To turn their back on me is not following Christ's example. I gave three full years of my life to that ministry and what I got out of it was the satisfaction of doing the right thing."

"I gave away almost all I had and got almost nothing in return," he wrote. "That is not the actions of a con man."

Both Akron churches that Beasley was associated with have denied direct links to the self-styled chaplain and he has been accused of using religious work as a cover for dealing drugs and managing prostitutes.

Beasley said that by helping drug addicts and domestic violence victims, he gained some enemies and denounces those who have spoken out against him.

"The point is, I have enemies, but for the right reasons," Beasley wrote. "So when you quote someone as a family friend who says something horrible about me, you better believe that's not a family friend."

Reports also emerged that Beasley should not have been free at the time of the Craigslist murders and that he was improperly set free by an Ohio judge.

After spending some time in a Texas prison, Beasley was released on parole in 2004 and transferred to Ohio. He was on parole there when he was arrested earlier this year. Those new charges resulted in a parole warrant being issued and he bonded out of jail twice in July. Texas authorities say he was supposed to be held without bond.

"The offender was released from detention on 7/12/11 under an Ohio judge's order despite the existence of the Texas warrant and detainer," read a statement from the Texas Department of Corrections. "All Texas Parole Warrants are no bond warrants."

Officials in Ohio say that a Summit County judge in Ohio lifted the holder put on him by Texas parole authorities while his drug-trafficking charges were pending, set a trial date for those charges and granted him bond in July.

Brogan Rafferty, 16, also appeared in court this week. Rafferty, whose family claims Beasley was his mentor, has been charged with attempted murder, complicity to attempted murder, aggravated assault and complicity to aggravated assault.

Rafferty is scheduled to be in court again on Dec. 15 when a judge will decide if the teenager will be tried as a juvenile or as an adult for his alleged participation in the deadly scheme. If convicted as an adult, Rafferty could face life in prison.

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