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Trial Goes To Jury

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POTTSVILLE — A jury in Schuylkill County is deliberating the fate of a man accused of killing another person by tying him to a tree.

The jury started deliberating in the homicide case Thursday afternoon in Pottsville.

Closing arguments were heard by the jury as defense and prosecution attorneys had their last attempt to make their case.

Keith Reber walked into the Schuylkill County courthouse knowing a jury will decide his fate.

“Mr. Reber, any thoughts going into this?”
“No, sir.”

Reber is accused of killing Bryan Smith in May of 2012.  Police say Reber tied Smith to a tree as punishment for ransacking the home of Reber’s girlfriend.  Smith’s body was found still tied up in a secluded area on Reber’s property near Schuylkill Haven.

Investigators say Smith had a toxic level of methamphetamine and other drugs in his system. That, coupled with being tied up and the stress of being restrained, killed Smith.

Reber contends he wanted Smith to think about the ransacking and had not intended to kill.

Prosecutor Micheal O’Pake told the jury “Keith Reber is a liar. Reber intended to kill Smith.”

O’Pake said Reber took Brian Smith at gunpoint and tied him to a tree until he died.

Defense attorney Robert Kirwan said “this is not a murder case. And that being stupid doesn’t make you a murderer.”

There were four alternate jurors who heard the testimony but were dismissed when the other jurors went into deliberations.

“I was proud to do it although I was an alternate and had no true say in the matter. It was an interesting case and I was glad to be on it,” said former juror Jim Mitchell.

Mitchell of Ringtown believes the prosecution only proved one charge, reckless endangerment and not homicide.

“I think the only thing I can vote on is number 10. I don’t think they proved this case. I think the guy was kind of slow and I don’t think he meant to hurt anybody. I really don’t.”