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Apex mother seeks justice for son’s death

Posted May 4, 2008

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— A year ago, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate was killed in Hawaii. His mother – who lives in Apex – talked Sunday with WRAL about her son and the need for closure.

“The joy is just gone,” Judy Wilson said.

Wilson's son, Chris Reuther, was fatally struck while on a Hawaii beach.

“It was a totally unprovoked attack on someone who loved life to the fullest,” she said.

Reuther, 34, was a photographer and environmental journalist. His passion was taking photographs. So when he went to Hawaii, naturally he had his camera with him.

His first night there, he took a photograph of a man on the beach who didn't want his photo taken.

“The witnesses said Chris apologized profusely when the man became incensed. He erased the picture and he still killed him,” Wilson said.

Police said Less Schnabel Jr. hit Reuther just once behind the ear.

“It's a punch people learn in the military,” Wilson said. “He was brain dead when he hit the ground.”

Schnabel is not in jail.

“They reduced the bail to $50,000 and he posted bond and he's out free," Wilson said.

Wilson, who is battling breast cancer, said her son's case has been continued six times. She said she just wants to see justice done.

“He just robbed us of so much. I think he needs to be robbed of his freedom,” she said.

Reuther was an organ donor. Wilson said her son's decision to donate his organs helped save five lives

Schnabel is scheduled to appear in court in Hawaii sometime in June.


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  • Frank Downtown May 5, 2008

    Like father like son!! This is amazing!

  • doubletrouble May 5, 2008

    Based on what I read, a friend of the person who punched the NC gentleman, actually testified to what happened and is probably the star witness. He also seems to be a high school dropout, and with various run-ins with the law. The sob story the criminal's Mom is spewing.."he doesn't remember anything"..or "he would never do anything such as this"..makes me sick. 50g bond is a joke-he should still be jail. His defense is putting off the court case, to fog people's memory..which is often a tactic they use. How defense lawyers sleep at night, in such cases...is beyond me.

  • jackadoo May 5, 2008

    Sounds like he got in one "lucky" sucker punch, I am sure he did not realize the kid would die. Also sounds like the kid was being naive. Just a tragedy, but both parties were at fault.

  • Obscurite May 5, 2008

    "No one becomes that incensed, that when their pciture is taken they kill, even as the victim is apologizing." NC Native 56

    Just curious...do you ever leave your home? The world is full of crazies...some of them angry crazies...drive on the beltline (you'll see a few).

  • Adelinthe May 5, 2008

    "people have killed for less."

    So true, and so sad.

    Praying for God to touch the heart of the brute, for only He can heal and bring to judgement.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Adelinthe May 5, 2008

    tp1453 posted: "These young people must understand that privacy means privacy. It is a shame that we are coming to an age where no one has respect to the word "PRIVACY"."

    Young people???

    Folks of all ages do this, so let's not saddle it on young people.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • 5-113 FA Retired May 5, 2008

    Rolling a long what and Pink Floyd Turbo; You guys took the bait without a struggle. WRAL must be real disappointed.

  • MayberryDreamin May 5, 2008

    I currently live in Hawaii and, sadly, I'm not surprised at the lax and apathetic attitude towards the assailant. Hawaii is overrun with ultra-liberals who cow-tow to those that perpetrate crime to innocent others while doing nothing to help the victims or at least maintain some semblance of justice. And the crime out here is much more prevalent than mainlanders know...the state is very adept at keeping quiet all the bad out here so as to not jeapordize their tourism cash cow.

    And the fact the victim is haole (ie - white) certainly doesn't help the cause of justice either.

    And it is for these reasons I am currently looking to relocate back to the mainland.

  • See Chart May 5, 2008

    Ah! If someone wants to kill a person it does not take
    much then to make them angry.I have known men to be knifed dead
    just for looking at another mans's ladyfriend ,when living in a
    large city in California.
    I feel for this person's family and for those that criticize
    WRAL for reporting on this,shame shame.on you.

  • howdiditgettothis May 5, 2008

    What a very STRANGE comment that was made regarding "respecting ones privacy."

    How many (thousands) of times have you been a tourist and taken pictures with someone you don't know in the background.........

    Obviously, there are more details that were not included in the story.

    Sometimes I wonder if WRAL does this to aggravate it's readers?

    How terrible for the grieving mother and family.