Neighbors speak out after man killed in Reading apartment


A Douglassville man, working in Reading for decades, runs wire for something that isn't a common scene anymore, a pay phone.

"I was always around," said Tim Uttley. "There isn't much I haven't seen."

Something he said he's seeing more of is violence.

"Yes. I think in the last decade, 12 years maybe," Uttley explained. "It seems to be more prevalent in the summer, obviously."

As he worked Wednesday, a memorial made of candles in the shape of a "J" was across the street. Police said that's where Joseph Basnight, 33, was fatally shot one day earlier, inside an apartment in the 100 block of South Third Street.

"Well, the irony of it is, over those years I've worked here, I've lost six of my accounts to homicide," Uttley said.

One woman, who did not want to be identified, arrived with her children to view the memorial. She said Basnight grew up with her kids and was turning his life around.

"It is a sad situation," she said. "Very sad. Yes. Everybody knew him. He was a well-loved child. If you look on Facebook, he was a well-loved child. Made his mistakes like any other child."

Berks County District Attorney John Adams said it may have been those mistakes that cost Basnight his life. He was on parole for drug charges in 2013.

"They play with fire, some people get burned. This is another example of the connection," Adams said. "While it's early on in the investigation, sometimes we can assume that there is a connection between the drugs and the violence that occurs here in the city of Reading."

If you have any information regarding the homicide, you are asked to contact Crime Alert Berks County.