Carol Beasley testified that her son had a troubled childhood and had suffered physical abuse by his stepfather. She also said she learned within the past year that her son had been sexually abused by neighborhood youngsters.
"I always felt there was much more than he told me," she said.
As she testified, Richard Beasley slumped forward, his chin on his chest and his right hand covering his eyes. He uses a wheelchair because of back pain.
The defense also called a psychologist, John Fabian, who testified that Beasley suffers from depression, alcohol abuse, low self-esteem and a feeling of isolation, all possible results of a troubled, abusive childhood.
One of Beasley's victims was killed near Akron, and the others were shot at a southeast Ohio farm during bogus job interviews.
The slain men were Ralph Geiger, 56, of Akron; David Pauley, 51, of Norfolk, Va.; and Kern, of Massillon. All were down-and-out men looking for a fresh start in life, prosecutors said during trial.
The survivor, Scott Davis, now 49, testified that he heard the click of a gun as he walked in front of Beasley at the reputed job site. Davis, who was shot in an arm, knocked the weapon aside, fled into the woods and tipped police.
Beasley, who returned to Ohio from Texas in 2004 after serving several years in prison on a burglary conviction, testified that he met with Davis and Davis had pulled a gun in retaliation for Beasley serving as a police informant in a motorcycle gang investigation.