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Friday, November 15, 2019

$100,000 reward remains in 14-year-old murder case

By SCOTT DESMIT 
SDESMIT@BATAVIANEWS.COM

Fourteen years have gone by and still no answers in the senseless murder of an Oakfield man.

William “Bill” Fickel, 46, was shot to death outside his home on Burns Road on Nov. 10, 2005.

For Fickel’s wife, Lisa, another anniversary of her husband’s death passed on Sunday, with police still no closer to solving the murder.

There is a suspect, however.

Stephen P. Rebert has been a “person of interest” in the case since he was arrested in 2011 and charged with murdering an elderly couple in Brockway, Pa.

Rebert, formerly of Oakfield, was living in Emporium, Pa. at the time and is serving four consecutive life prison terms in a Pennsylvania prison.

Genesee County sheriff’s investigators believe Rebert is responsible for Fickel’s murder and have some evidence against him but the case was never presented to a grand jury for consideration.

The prime investigator, Jerome Brewster, retired earlier this year and the case was taken over by Joseph Graff, chief deputy of investigations.

“There has been nothing new,” Graff said. “It remains open and we will continue to work on it.”

The murder happened about 8 p.m. the night of Nov. 10. A vehicle stopped in front of Fickel’s house and he assumed it was someone stopping to look at a van for sale that was parked on his father’s property across the street.

Lisa Fickel was inside the house when she heard shots moments after he husband went outside.

Fickel was shot twice with a rifle.

No motives have ever been produced.

Rebert, however, lived near the Fickels and near Kevin Smith of Shelby, who was shot to death in his house in 2007. Rebert also is a suspect in that murder and knew both the victims.

Rewards are still being offered for both cases: $100,000 for any information leading to an arrest in the Fickel case and $20,000 for the Smith case.

Anyone who has information can contact Genesee County Sheriff’s Department at 343-5000 or Orleans at 589-5527.

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