16-year-old To Be Tried On 1st-degree Murder Charge

Posted: March 08, 1990

A 16-year-old Bristol Borough youth was ordered to stand trial on first- degree murder charges for allegedly shooting another teenager after the two argued over an older, married woman.

Mark Graber, a freshman at Bristol Junior-Senior High School, is to be arraigned April 6 in Bucks County Court in Doylestown. Assistant District Attorney Lawrence M. Cherba said he would seek the death penalty for the youth, who is being tried as an adult.

During an hour-long preliminary hearing before District Justice Michael J. Manto on Friday, police read from a grim written confession in which Graber admitted killing Shane Reilly, 18, on Feb. 10.

"I looked across the street and I saw Shane standing by the corner of the truck," read Bristol Detective Charles Favoroso. "I aimed the gun at his head and pulled the trigger. Shane started to fall down. I shot two more times at him from the same distance across the street. I then walked to about 10, 15 feet away from where he was laying. He wasn't moving and was on his right side. I aimed at his body and shot him again."

The testimony brought muffled sobs from friends and relatives of the two youths, including Graber's father and Reilly's mother. Graber, a slight teenager with dark blond hair shaved at the sides, sat quietly through the reading.

According to police, Graber argued with Reilly over Kimberly Smith Winter, Reilly's 22-year-old girlfriend, in front of her mother's home on Corson Street. Graber then went home and got his father's .357 magnum revolver from a gun cabinet and returned to Corson Street, where he and Reilly began quarreling again, they said.

According to police, Reilly had accused Graber of seeing Winter, who is separated from her husband.

Graber pulled out the gun but did not shoot, police said. He left then returned a few minutes later and allegedly fired four shots at the victim.

A neighbor, David Girard, testified that he heard two bangs outside his house around midnight. He opened his front door and saw a flash, which he thought was made by a starter gun, he said. He then saw a person walking across Corson Street and heard another bang, which police said was Graber firing at Girard.

"I looked to my right and saw something lying in the street. I ran over and that's when I found the body," Girard testified.

Reilly, a Bishop Egan High School senior, was shot in the head and shoulder, police said.

In addition to first-degree murder, Graber is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and weapons offenses.

Raymond F. McHugh, Graber's attorney, said the hearing went "pretty much as expected." He said he planned to contest the confession but declined to say on what grounds.

Several friends of Graber took off from school to attend the hearing. Annie Black, 15, said she went because she wanted to see Graber, perhaps for the last time.

"He's not the kind of person to do something like that. It's like it wasn't him," she said.

Students at Bristol Junior-Senior High School are split over how they feel about the incident. Some feel sorry for Graber while others "think he should get what he deserves," Black said.

Black said she just wished it never happened.

"I can't hate him for what he did. I was too close to him," she said.

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