American Scene

OHIO

Craigslist killings suspect expects short prison term

CLEVELAND — An Ohio 16-year-old charged with murder in a deadly Craigslist robbery scheme says in a letter to his father that he believes God will keep him from a long incarceration.

“There’s a chance I might be out by the time I’m 42,” Brogan Rafferty wrote. “I know there is no way in hell that any kind of God would do that to me.”

The handwritten letter expressing his hopes and fears was sent last month. Mr. Rafferty’s father gave a copy to the Plain Dealer newspaper in Cleveland.

Mr. Rafferty has been charged with aggravated murder and complicity to aggravated murder and is expected to be transferred to adult court after a hearing next week.

Authorities have linked at least two deaths to a bogus help-wanted ad posted to the online Craigslist site to lure victims to rural Ohio. David Pauley, 51, of Virginia was killed Oct. 23, and the body of Timothy Kern, 48, of Massillon was found near an Akron shopping mall Nov. 25. Both had been shot in the head.

MISSOURI

Ex-deputy suspected in double slaying

JEFFERSON CITY — A former rural Missouri sheriff’s deputy is suspected in the killing of his ex-wife and her new boyfriend before leading officers on a high-speed chase that ended with a shootout at an upscale hotel hosting a huge Christmas party, authorities said Sunday.

None of the hotel’s guests, which included members of a youth hockey team and hundreds of partying doctors, nurses and their families, was injured in the Saturday night shootout just two blocks from the Missouri Capitol.

The night’s drama began about 70 miles to the southeast in the rural town of Salem, where authorities say former Dent County Sheriff’s Deputy Marvin Rice, 44, went to the home of his ex-wife and her current boyfriend, demanding custody of his 2-year-old son and pulling out a handgun during an argument.

Annette Durham, 32, and Steven Strotkamp, 39, were fatally shot. Mr. Rice fled with the boy while Ms. Durham’s 6-year-old daughter — who heard the gunshots from a bedroom — ran to a neighbor, who called authorities, the sheriff’s office said.

Mr. Rice was in fair condition Sunday at a Columbia hospital. No charges had yet been filed Sunday.

CALIFORNIA

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