Neighbors of a retired school teacher from the Poconos found dead in South Carolina are glad the man’s accused killer is locked up in the Monroe County Jail.
Joseph Devivo’s home near Stroudsburg has been sitting empty since late February, when he disappeared. It’s a sight Devivo’s neighbor Sherri Hakes Blaney said she can’t get used to.
“It’s very strange because the light’s still on in the house. There were flowers in front of the mailbox up until just recently,” said Hakes Blaney of Stroud Township.
Newswatch 16 was there Monday night when Rico Herbert was led out of district court in Monroe County after being arraigned on criminal homicide and other charges connected to the death of Devivo.
Devivo’s neighbor said it was upsetting seeing Rico Herbert for the first time as he was being escorted out of court.
“I got angry. I felt a little angry when I saw him cause all I could think about is how defenseless he must have been,” said Hakes Blaney.
According to court papers, Devivo disappeared in late February from his home. Police said they found evidence that someone broke into Devivo’s house through the back door.
Days later, police arrested Herbert in North Carolina. He was driving Devivo’s car and had Devivo’s wallet and credit cards.
Police interviewed Herbert who they said kept changing his story about his connection to Devivo and how he got Devivo’s car.
But Herbert did admit to being inside Devivo’s home and to driving to a secluded area in South Carolina to dump Devivo’s remains.
“I’m glad to see it moving along. I’m glad to see some justice being done. I’m sure it means a lot to the family,” said Hakes Blaney.
While neighbors said they are glad police brought back Herbert to Monroe County to be formally charged in the death of Joseph Devivo, they added they are now starting to realize that their neighbor is gone.
“It’s strange, it’s strange, especially now. It’s spring. He’d be out cleaning up his yard getting things going. It’s weird,” said Hakes Blaney.
Court papers also said the forensic pathologist determined that Devivo had been killed but it’s not known exactly how.
Rico Herbert is in the Monroe County Jail and scheduled to be back in court for a hearing on Friday.