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Jury deliberating in murder trial of Keith Reber, accused of tying Bryan Smith to tree

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 27 2013 12:14:40 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 27 2013 01:30:45 PM CDT

Reber trial closing statements

POTTSVILLE, Pa. -

The trial of a man accused of tying another man to a tree and leaving him to die is coming down the home stretch in Schuylkill County.

The jury began its deliberations Thursday in the trial of Keith Reber.

Much of Thursday morning was taken up by a last-minute meeting between the lawyers and the judge.

Reber, 49, is accused of gagging and shackling 26-year-old Bryan Smith to a tree for 20 hours on a very hot day last May. Smith eventually died.

During the trial, Reber testified Smith, of Orwigsburg, was tied up voluntarily as punishment for being caught ransacking Reber's girlfriend's house.

On the stand, Reber called it "adult timeout" -- a compromise to calling the cops or beating Smith up.

A forensic pathologist who preformed the autopsy said Smith was high on methamphetamine. Smith died from excited delirium, a result of being tied up and not getting medical attention.

Reber said he didn't know Smith was on drugs at the time.