SALAMANCA – Shortly after a jealous husband was arrested for murdering Keith Reed Jr., the victim’s brother had to confront the woman at the center of the tragedy while visiting Reed’s grave site. He had to order her to stay away.
The unusual encounter was a precursor of a painful lesson: There is no normal for Reed’s family to return to after Anthony “Rob” Taglianetti was found guilty of his murder on Friday.
Reed’s parents, brother, Kevin, and Kevin’s wife, Heather, continue to battle a variety of emotions, from anger to relief to the continuing grief.
“The worst of it is that Keith’s daughters lost a wonderful father,” said his brother.
Reed was a dad who called his daughters frequently and shared time with them, Kevin said. Just weeks before he was found shot dead in September 2012, the family was together for the wedding of Keith’s oldest daughter.
“His daughter’s wedding was perfect, Keith had the job he wanted at Clymer and all was right with the world,” Heather said, referring to her brother-in-law’s position as superintendent of Clymer Central Schools.
Shortly after the ceremony, Keith helped the newlyweds, Katelynn and William Olin, move into a new home. Several months later, Katelynn found a note her dad left in a special clock.
“I love you,” it said.
Kevin Reed said his brother wanted to move to a small rural district and had every intention of staying there until retirement and beyond.
“Clymer was Keith’s dream job,” Kevin said.
Reed had lived in the newly built home less than a year before he was slain, staying with his parents in Salamanca prior to that.
“Every once in a while, when I come down the staircase, I expect to see him taking a nap on the couch,” said his father, Keith Sr.
His parents, married 64 years, are very close with their children. The Reed family businesses include a store in Salamanca and a transportation company, and they involved all of the children.
“Keith drove cab,” said his mother, Shirley.
He worked through his college years at St. Bonaventure University, just a few miles from the family homestead, and lived at home during college.
His brother said Reed had a vision for the Clymer school district and was proud of his efforts to help it fix some financial problems.
“He wrote a five-year plan that was well received by the board of education,” Kevin said.
Throughout the nine-day murder trial that resulted in Taglianetti’s second-degree murder conviction, various School Board members and former co-workers showed up to listen and show their support for the Reed family.
Clymer students wove bracelets and had their former superintendent’s initials engraved into the clasp. Many of the family members wear them.
For Kevin, the loss has been especially hard.
“We talked all the time,” he said of his younger brother.
Seeing Mary Taglianetti, whose relationship with Reed apparently triggered the murder, was also difficult.
“She appeared at my brother’s grave in October 2012,” revealed Kevin.
He said he shouted at her in the cemetery and asked her to never return.
He said he thought the one thing the defense got right was that Mary Taglianetti’s encounter with her brother made her want more of a relationship. He said he wasn’t sure the two had any type of relationship at all, just some conversations.
“My brother was a good-looking single guy,” he said, adding that Reed had been divorced many years and enjoyed dating.
“He liked to talk on the phone. In fact, I would tease him about not having enough time to work because he called and chatted so often,” Kevin said, adding that his brother called family members nearly every day, especially his daughters. Allison, the youngest of Reed’s three daughters, testified as the first witness in the trial. A student at SUNY Fredonia State, she has been having health problems and found the trial and events especially hard to deal with. Kevin said his niece often thinks about the last time she saw her father alive, on Sept. 21, 2012. He asked her to return home with him and spend some additional time visiting.
“He never would have asked his daughter to return home if he thought he was in any danger,” said Kevin.
A retired FBI agent, Kevin has his own theory about his brother’s death. He believes Taglianetti surprised his brother after hiding on the property. Kevin thinks there probably was a struggle between the two men, and that his brother was overpowered because he had lost a lot of strength in his hands and arms from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident a few years before.
“I could see my brother giving him a butt to the head,” said Kevin.
Some of the trial testimony particularly annoyed Kevin. For instance, witnesses who talked about Taglianetti’s service in the Marine Corps was difficult to listen to. The father of three sons who all served in the military, one in the Marines, said Taglianetti wasn’t a war hero.
“He was a disgrace to the Marines,” said Kevin.
Kevin’s own law enforcement background provided him with the ability to organize the family and act as the “tough guy.” “I haven’t cried yet,” he said.
He looks after his parents, Keith Sr. and Shirley, who have had to face the untimely deaths of two children. Their daughter, Kimberlee, died in 2000 from cancer.
There are family reminders everywhere around the Reed home. They grasp on to notes written by former students who became friends with Keith Reed and photos of him smiling with family.
Keith Sr. and his wife are fond of sharing stories about their son.
“Just before he was getting ready to go to Clymer to interview for the superintendent’s job, he realized he forgot to bring his shoes to our house,” his mother said.
Keith borrowed a pair of his father’s dress shoes and declared that they were the most comfortable he had ever worn.
“I guess you could say, ‘He walked in my shoes and I walked in his,’ ” said Keith Sr., who got the shoes back after his son’s death.
Besides memories and stories, Kevin wears an amulet with ashes of his brother around his neck. He also has a tattoo with both his siblings’ initials on his upper arm.
Now that the trial is over and sentencing awaits, family members will call each other often to share memories and make plans to see each other.
“It just seems unreal, like something you see on a television news show,” Heather said. “You just never want to believe it could happen in your own family.”