52-year-old Richard Beasley of Akron, Ohio is the primary suspect in the murder of 3 men in Ohio that responded to a phony craigslist ad offering employment at a fictitious ranch. Beasley has not yet been charged with any of the murders but had been charged previously with drug trafficking and profiting from prostitution. Beasley recently sent a letter to the Akron Beacon Journal defending his ‘good name’.
“ … to call me a con man when I sacrificed for others is wrong,” Beasley wrote. “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.
“There was no ‘con’ to it.”
“Who paid for this? I did,” he wrote. “I had a financial settlement [from a traffic crash that injured his back] and spent most all of it to help others and got almost no financial help from anyone.”
Beasley also wrote that he spent three years on the church staff helping people, mostly drug addicts, alcoholics, the mentally challenged and the homeless who were charged with a crime and facing the possibility of prison.
He said he appeared in court on behalf of defendants three to four times a month for three years. After just one year of work, he was ordained by the church pastor, the Rev. Randy Baker, as a chaplain.
“I was very well-known for these things, but never looked for credit on this Earth,” Beasley wrote. “A number of people from doctors and judges and lawyers and preachers and the homeless can stand witness to these facts.”
While helping drug addicts, he made drug dealers unhappy, he said. While helping domestic violence victims, he angered spouses. At times, he had to “sanction” people who violated rules at his transitional home, he said.
“The point is, I have enemies, but for the right reasons,” he 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.”
“I lived in an old, inner-city house, drove old cars, got up in the middle of the night uncountable times to answer calls for help,” he wrote. “I gave away almost all I had and got almost nothing in return. That is not the actions of a con man.”
Except one could argue that con men and grifters have a long history of using churches and religion to perpetrate their cons. I only have to go as far as mentioning the so-called Christian Missionaries working in Africa who have fleeced so many people out of money through craigslist.
Right now the details surrounding Beasley make me think that he fits the description of a con man to a T.