The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

May 9, 2013

BREAKING: Jury finds defendants not guilty

By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item

MIDDLEBURG — A jury deliberated for three hours on Thursday before finding Robert L. Reich, 37, Christopher J. Aucker, 39, and Ryan C. Sprenkel, 37, not guilty on all charges in the 1997 beating death of Donald E. Seebold.

Seebold, then 22, was found dead on July 13, 1997 after a part in Port Ann. Closing arguments in the case were heard on Wednesday afternoon. Thursday morning the jury got its instructions from Senior Judge Louise O. Knight. It took roughly three hours for the jury of eight women and four men to return the not guilty verdict on all charges, which included either first-degree or third-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter and perjury.

Snyder County District Attorney Mike Piecuch alleged Seebold was fatally assaulted by Reich, Aucker and Sprenkel after he flirted with Aucker’s then girlfriend, now wife, Sheila Liddington Aucker, during a birthday party celebration in Port Ann on the mid-July evening in 1997.

Sprenkel and Aucker claimed they found Seebold lying semi-conscious on the side of Troxelville Road a few miles from the party. Believing Seebold was passed out from intoxication, Sprenkel left him in the back seat of his car where he was found dead the next day.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Samuel Land testified that Seebold died of blunt-force trauma from at least three blows to the head.