The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

June 26, 2013

Schuykill County trial continues in death of man tied to tree


The Associated Press

POTTSVILLE — A pathologist testifying in a Schylkill County murder trial says the fact that the victim was left tied to a tree for nearly a day was a factor in his death.

Dr. Neil Hoffman testified that being bound to the tree exacerbated Bryan Smith's condition before he died in South Manheim Township in May 2012. Forty-nine-year-old Keith A. Reber is charged with homicide.

State police allege Reber suspected Smith of stealing from his girlfriend. They say he took the 26-year-old man to the woods, brandished a gun, bound him to the tree and left him there for 20 hours. Authorities say Reber returned that night and found his body.

Reber's lawyer, Robert J. Kirwan II, challenged Hoffman on his statement that excited delirium, in addition to the methamphetamine and being tied to the tree, caused Smith's death.