A defendant on trial in the killing of an eastern Pennsylvania man whose body was found tied to a tree says the victim was supposed to be having a “timeout” to teach him a lesson about stealing.
The Republican-Herald of Pottsville reports Keith Reber told jurors Wednesday that 26-year-old Bryan Smith went to the tree willingly in May 2012. Authorities say he was bound and left there for almost a day before being found dead that night.
According to the paper, Reber wept as he testified about what he found when he returned to the tree to find Smith’s lifeless body. Reber testified he didn’t intend to kill Smith.
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Prosecutors allege Reber, 49, suspected Smith of stealing from his girlfriend. They say he led him to woods behind his house, brandished a gun and used flex-ties to bind him to the tree.
Reber says the idea had been for Smith to have a timeout and “think about what he did.”
Earlier, a pathologist testified that the victim being left tied to a tree for nearly a day was a factor in his death. The Republican-Herald of Pottsville reported Dr. Neil Hoffman said Tuesday that being bound to the tree exacerbated Bryan Smith's condition before he died in South Manheim Township.