Family reacts to Phoenixville murder verdict (with video)

File photo by Barry Taglieber Saleem Williams, left, and Stephan Reidler, right, are led to their preliminary hearing in Phoenixville.

PHOENIXVILLE — It’s been an emotional time for the family of Guatemalan immigrant Selvin Mamerto Lopez-Mauricio who was killed for a backpack containing a paycheck, $300 cash and a fast food meal.

Having to experience the court proceedings has caused the murder victim’s family to relive the Sept. 2011 robbery and shooting, said Jose Parra, a friend of the family.

Parra said the family has mixed emotions about court proceeding outcomes of the trio Monique Robinson, 19, of Phoenixville, Saleem I. Williams and Stephan Reidler, 25, of Linfield.

Last Thursday, a jury found Robinson guilty of second-degree murder, finding that she was an accomplice in the shooting death of the restaurant worker during a robbery. Robinson refused to testify despite encouragement from her defense attorney.

In addition, Robinson was found guilty of robbery, aggravated assault, theft, conspiracy, firearms violations, and flight to avoid apprehension for the September 2011 shooting death, according to past reports.

In a plea agreement Saleem I. Williams, 21, of Sharon Hill, pleaded guilty to charges of third-degree murder, conspiracy to commit robbery, illegal possession of a firearm, and possession of instruments of a crime. He was sentenced to 40 to 80 years in prison. Williams had presented a statement that the gun had “gone off” when there was a struggle with the victim.

Stephan Reidler, of Montgomery County, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in December and is facing 20 to 40 years in prison.

According to testimony, Williams had pointed a .22 semi-automatic handgun at the victim’s uncle, Robinson took the backpack and Reidler prevented the uncle from calling the police.

Parra said the victim’s brother cried after the verdict for Robinson was presented.

“He was glad that justice was served,” Parra said. “He said he would have liked Monique to take responsibility for what she did and say sorry to the family.”

Parra said the family wanted Robinson to take a plea bargain where she would get 30 to 60 years in prison.

“We don’t think Saleem was ordered to shoot,” Parra said. “We know Monique ran away with the backpack, but wasn’t there ”

“We don’t think the men were truthful,” he said about Williams and Reidler. “The truth was not said as we know it to be.”

Parra said the family wasn’t happy that Williams’ minimum sentence was 40 years because Williams would be in his 60s if he was released then.

“The district attorney told us most prisoners don’t make it past 55,” Parra said.

“No matter what has happened with proceedings, it’s not over,” he said, adding that the family will still be living without Lopez-Mauricio.

Parra said he spoke with victim’s father from Guatemala over the phone. The father had asked why the case was taking so long.

Parra said he assured him that evidence was being looked over and that sometimes the process for that takes a long time.

He said the father was very appreciative of the support Parra had given to the family.

Parra said that he was still going to help support the family because they have to live without Lopez for the rest of their lives.

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