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Ohio street preacher sentenced to death

AKRON, Ohio — A self-styled street preacher was sentenced to death Thursday in the killings of three down-and-out men lured by bogus job offers posted on Craigslist.

The jury that convicted Richard Beasley of murder recommended that he face execution. The judge had the option of reducing the sentence to life in prison.

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Beasley, 53, was convicted of teaming up with a teenager in 2011 to use the promise of jobs on a southeast Ohio farm to lure them into robberies. Three men were killed, and a fourth who was wounded testified at Beasley’s trial.

The judge read the three death sentences in a hushed courtroom crowded with victims’ relatives, some of them holding back tears.

Beasley skipped the chance to speak to the judge before the sentencing. He listened to the verdict with his head on his chest, sitting in a wheelchair he uses for back pain.

Later, Beasley said he was innocent and expects to have his conviction overturned.

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