Local News

Apex mother seeks justice for son’s death

Posted May 4, 2008 6:10 p.m. EDT
Updated May 4, 2008 9:57 p.m. EDT

— 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.