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Testimony continues in trial for man tied to tree

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 24 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 25 2013 06:15:25 PM CDT

Testimony continues in trial for man tied to tree

POTTSVILLE, Pa. -

It's a vicious crime.

Prosecutors say a man was tied to a tree, gagged and eventually he died.

Keith Reber is on trial for the killing of Bryan Smith last May.  Tuesday, the trial entered its second day.

About a half dozen witnesses took the stand. But it was the testimony of a forensic pathologist that captured the jury's attention.

He testified Bryan Smith did have drugs in his system but not enough to kill him.

Testimony was given inside the Schuylkill County Courthouse from forensic pathologist Neil Hoffman.

Bryan Smith was delirious as he tried to escape from being shackled by both his wrists and ankles, to a tree, he said.

On the stand Hoffman, who preformed the autopsy, said Smith died from excited delirium due to acute methamphetamine intoxication.

The result, Hoffman said, of being tied to a tree for 20 hours.

Defendant Keith Reber has admitted that on a very hot day last May he gagged and then tied Smith to a tree on his property near the Berks County line to "teach Smith a lesson."

The lesson was for Smith allegedly stealing from Reber's girlfriend.

Reber claims Smith, of Orwigsburg, was high on drugs at the time.

In court, Hoffman testified toxicology reports show Smith did have high levels of Meth in his system but not enough to kill him.

The defense argued if Smith's system was drug free he wouldn't have died.

But Hoffman responded by saying if given medical attention instead of being tied to a tree he would have survived.

The question many here have is will Keith Reber take the stand himself. The defense has said he would.