Pennsylvania's New Bike Safety Law to Take Effect April 2

(stock photo)

Joseph Vassil of 430 N. 25th St., Pennside, was found dead in his second-floor bedroom on Friday, March 24. His death, the result of a gunshot wound to his head, was later ruled a homicide.

The next day, John Reigle, 58, the primary suspect in the murder, was found dead in the parking lot of a Wyomissing restaurant. Police said Reigle died of two gunshot wounds to his chest.

On Monday Reigle's death was ruled a suicide by the Berks County coroner's office.

Police believe Reigle used the same gun, a .357-caliber Magnum, to kill Vassil and himself, Central Berks Regional Police Chief Michael Moyer said.

Officials are waiting for lab test results to confirm whether the same gun was used in both incidents.

"Unless something bizarre pops up, we're hoping this is the end of [the investigation]," Moyer said. "Until you get everything back in order, you don't want to assume anything."

Vassil graduated from Boyertown Area High School in 1973. He and Reigle had lived together in the house that Reigle inherited from his father, Wilbert Reigle. The elder Reigle committed suicide at the residence with a gun in September 2005.

Vassil and Reigle had lived together for a while, Moyer said. "They were friends - close friends," he said.

"Domestic and money issues" are suspected motivations behind the killing, according to Moyer. Police found a will, handwritten by Reigle and dated March 21, that specifically outlined realtor information and possession distribution to the children of his brother, Steven Reigle of Bechtelsville.

Investigators believe John Reigle shot Vassil between Tuesday, March 21 and Thursday, March 23. Steven discovered Vassil's body around 8:45 a.m. on Friday, police said.

Reigle had sent his brother an envelope with a letter and key enclosed, which prompted Steven's visit to the home in Lower Alsace.

"That sort of got him concerned about his brother," Moyer said. When Steven Reigle received the envelope is unclear, investigators said.

Members of the Berks County coroner's office pronounced Vassil dead on Friday, determining that there was no struggle and that Vassil was shot in his sleep.

The biggest problem, Moyer said, was that the house was cold, which made it difficult to determine the time of Vassil's death.

Reigle became a prime suspect in the murder when police could not find him.

A manhunt immediately ensued, involving neighboring agencies and state police. "We put out flyers every which way you could possibly have them," Moyer said.

Officials of the county coroner's office pronounced Reigle dead at 6:26 p.m. after he was seen by a passerby on Saturday, slumped over in his car behind Wyomissing Family Restaurant.

An autopsy on Monday at Lehigh Valley Hospital concluded that Reigle shot himself twice in the chest, Deputy Coroner Ellis Edmonds said.

The apparent murder-suicide has rocked the characteristically peaceful neighborhood of Pennside, Moyer said.

"We are a nice, quiet neighborhood," he said.

Vassil was divorced and has two grown children.

Reigle was a retired Oley Valley High School science teacher. Oley Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Zackon said Reigle retired in the same month he entered the school district in 1986. Zackon said he never met Reigle and doesn't know how long he taught in the district, but he confirmed that Reigle graduated from Kutztown University.

Joseph DiCindio of Boyertown was a friend of Reigle's for 20 years. Reigle previously lived in Douglasville.

"It's not a good thing," DiCindio said. "It's very uncharacteristic of John. I don't know what the hell happened. I don't know how you can take another person's life."

DiCindio remembered Reigle as a "decent man" with a master's degree in science who worked as an operator at Bell of Pennsylvania in Allentown before his death.

"He was a good friend," DiCindio said. "When you know somebody for that long and he does something uncharacteristic like that, it just blows you away."

"There are just so many variables...It's just horrible," DiCindio said. "It's just scary how people can turn."

Contact reporter Aaron Jenkins at 610-367-6041, ext. 240 or

ajenkins@berksmontnews.com.

comments powered by Disqus