BROOKVILLE — The first to testify in the double murder trial of Steven Patrick Rebert was Michelle Bright of DuBois, formerly of Coudersport, who works for the Brady Street Florist, DuBois.
Bright began to work for Flowers & More in Brockway in 2007, after she was hired by Vickie Shugar, who, along with her husband Wayne Shugar, was killed around April 10, 2010, in their Coal Tipple Road home, Snyder Township.
Bright said before she moved, she sent flowers from Flowers & More to her boyfriend’s mother and got to know Vickie.
Bright said she had been in the flower business since she was a teenager, but when the former Adelphia Cable went out of business, it took her business along with it.
“Lost all of my accounts, people losing their jobs, and I called it quits,” she said. “Vickie said if I ever moved, she’d love to have me, so I took her up on the offer.”
Bright said she knew Rebert, whom she identified sitting at the defense table, and said he had worked with her ex-husband as a cable contractor, and they became friends.
Bright said that she and Rebert enjoyed outdoor activities, such as fishing, hiking, campfires and watching football games. She said it was seven years since they first became friends in 2005.
“We were close friends, we got along well when we were together,” she said. “Sometimes he’d have work in other areas, and I’d hear from him when he’d come back.”
“It was not romantic,” Bright testified. “Steven (Rebert) didn’t have a lot of friends. He kept to himself.”
She and Rebert remained friends after she moved to DuBois, while he lived in Emporium, but she testified that in December 2008, she began to observe inappropriate behavior from Rebert, who started acting strangely.
“He was spying on me; he would pretend to be people that he wasn’t,” she said. “It went on for a couple of months.”
Bright, who attends the Tri-County Church of God and lives nearby, said she saw his bucket truck one time at the church.
“I saw him duck down and hide so I couldn’t see him,” she said. “That day, he called and told me he was in St. Marys, which I knew was false since I saw him in his truck.”
She said she periodically received hang-up calls on her phone, and upon using the function *69, she learned the calls were from Rebert.
“I believe he took a key from my house, as there was one missing, and I blamed my kids,” Bright said. “In the meantime, suspicious things happened. I can tell when things have been moved in my house. In my bedroom, someone’s head impression was on my pillow, and someone was in my undergarment drawer.”
Bright said when she asked Rebert about doing these things, he wouldn’t discuss the issue.
“Two weeks after I confronted him, he never came to discuss this with me,” Bright said, adding that Rebert claimed he didn’t have time or was out of town.
On cross-examination, defense attorney Jacqueline Mizerock asked Bright if she was in a relationship with another person when she would participate in outdoor activities with Rebert.
“I was married when I first met him, before we split up,” she testified. “I was involved intimately with another man. Steve bought me a flower at the flower shop one day. He was just being Steve, I said.”
Rebert brought her a handgun, which she kept under her bed for a week in a special box, Bright said.
“I wasn’t keen on having it; I had it for a short time, then he came and got it,” she said. After she moved to DuBois, he spent the night at her house numerous times.
When Mizerock asked Bright if she and Rebert used drugs together, she replied that they had used marijuana and cocaine, and one time Oxycontin, which made her sick, with a headache.
“That was years ago that we did drugs together,” Bright said, adding that she told police that “Steve and I were friends and had no boundaries.”
When Burkett asked Bright if Rebert ever came on to her sexually, she replied, “He stated he was in love with me once. I didn’t act the way he had hoped.”
Also Monday, several witness testified about seeing Rebert’s vehicle on Coal Tipple Road March 3, 2010.
Ingros questioned all the witnesses if they also saw his vehicle the day of the murders — April 10 or April 11, 2010 — to which the witnesses replied that they had not.
The second day of the trial resumes at 9 a.m. today at the Jefferson County Courthouse.