SCHUYLKILL HAVEN — A homicide trial began in Schuylkill County Court Monday.
Keith Reber is on trial for the death of Bryan Smith in May of 2012.
There are differing opinions as to how the victim died.
Prosecutors say Reber led Smith at gunpoint to a wooded area near Schuylkill Haven. He then tied the victim to a tree, where he was found dead 20 hours later.
The defense attorney says Reber gave Smith water, and checked on him several times. Smith had a large amount of methamphetamine in his system. The defense says that’s what killed him, not being tied to the tree.
Accused killer Keith Reber spoke out publicly for the first time as he was led into court.
“Reporter: Do you have anything to say about the situation you’re in?
Reporter: Do you have anything to say to the victim’s family?
Reber: I am very sorry.
Reporter: So you did it?
Investigators believe Reber tied Smith to the tree near Schuylkill Haven because Smith had ransacked the home of Reber’s girlfriend, apparently looking for prescription pills and cash.
Daniel Dull, was also there when Smith was tied up. He testified he was scared of Reber and that’s why he didn’t immediately call police.
Beverley Pelachick said she is supporter of Daniel Dull.
“I grew to love him like he was my grandson.”
Pelachick knows Dull’s testimony is part of a plea agreement with prosecutors that will have him spend three to six years in state prison.
“Dan walked in on something and he was scared and I know from the bottom of my heart, he doesn’t have a bad bone in his body.” Pelachick explained.
Sheena Smith, the victim’s sister also testified for prosecutors. She admits that Bryan was high that night. She thought Reber was going to take him home.
Prosecutors say some of their key evidence involves recordings where Keith Reber confesses to his crimes.
His defense lawyer told the jury that Reber will testify in his own defense.