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Man takes plea deal in murder-for-hire plot to kill best friend

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Posted at 5:30 PM, Jun 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-23 17:30:40-04

NEW RICHMOND, Ohio — Christian Beasley, accused of accepting payment from another man in exchange for murdering 23-year-old Bobby Farrell Jr. in the summer of 2021, accepted a plea deal on Thursday.

Beasley pled guilty to aggravated murder and conspiracy to commit murder; Keyanta Gerdner, who hired Beasley to kill his best friend, pleaded guilty to the same charges in October 2021. Gardner was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Beasley will face sentencing on August 5.

During Gardner's sentencing hearing, Judge Richard P. Ferenc called the case one of the most brutal and cold-blooded murders he's seen in his career.

Farrell went missing on July 6, 2021 and after multiple searches, was found dead and abandoned on a tree-lined country road on July 12. By Wednesday, Gardner was charged with Farrell's murder. Beasley was arrested on July 22.

Prosecutors said Gardner paid Beasley to kill Farrell, then abandoned the body, cleaned out his car to conceal evidence and consoled Farrell's family during the searches for him that followed.

“The defendant (Gardner) plotted with the co-defendant (Beasley) to murder one of his best friends in cold blood," said Katie Terpstra, assistant prosecutor, in 2021. "To that end, he withdrew money to pay the co-defendant to murder the victim.”

Prosecuting Attorney Mark Tekulve said Gardner and Beasley picked Ferrell up in New Richmond on July 6 around 5:30 p.m. They shot him inside the vehicle.

The pair then left Ferrell's body on SR 222 in Monroe Township, Tekulve said.

Gardner initially pleaded not guilty, but later changed his plea to guilty in October.

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Keyanta Gardner sentenced to life for 'brutal' murder