Day Three: Snyder County homicide trial continues

MIDDLEBURG – The third day of trial continues for three men accused in the beating death of another man in Snyder County.  During the trial for 39-year-old Christopher Aucker of Beavertown, 37-year-old Ryan Sprenkel of Middleburg and 37-year-old Robert Reich of Beavertown, Reich’s half-brother, Kurt Gotshall, testified over a span of two days.

During this trial, in the preliminary hearing, and during a grand jury investigation, Gotshall’s story of the events in July 1997 seemed to change.  It was something both the prosecution and defense pointed out numerous times.  Gotshall’s story is that he was at a Port Ann home for a party the night of July 12.  There he says he witnessed a fight involving 21-year-old Donald Seebold III.  He says Aucker and Reich were involved in the fight.  He also said he believed Sprenkel was, but then admitted he never saw Sprenkel hit, punch or kick Seebold.  Gotshall says after the fight, Seebold was still conscious and walking around.  It was then that he, Reich and another man picked up Seebold, put him in the back of Gotshall’s pickup truck and drove away.

Gotshall says he and the other man were in the front seat, while Reich and Seebold were in the bed of the truck.  Gotshall heard what he described as a banging noise in the back of the truck, though he could not specify what the sound was.  The men then stopped, took Seebold out of the vehicle and left him on the side of Troxelville Road.

Gotshall says he initially lied to police about his half-brother Reich being in the vehicle because he wanted to shield him from harm.  He then said he was also afraid of Reich, who had once punched him the face.  The trial will continue, and is expected to last about two weeks, in Snyder County Court.  The three men face homicide, conspiracy and perjury charges. (Sara Bartlett)




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