ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Thursday was the beginning of the trail for the man accused of robbery and murder in 2003.
Richard Wilbern was arrested in 2016, 13 years after the robbery-homicide took place at the Xerox facility in Webster.
In opening statements, both sides said this case is about identification and reliability of DNA evidence.
With DNA evidence and surveillance footage of the incident, the prosecution believes Wilbern is guilty.
The defense argued that the DNA sample is too small and the actual testing method used isn’t reliable enough to conclude the DNA sample belongs to Wilbern. They also argued the surveillance video from 2003 is of too low quality to recognize the person in the video.
This cold case has been open for years, and a former Webster police investigator testified on Thursday that when he left the force in 2013, there had been over 900 leads called in.
During a separate case, investigators were able to use Wilbern’s saliva from an envelope and match it with a genetic sample off of an umbrella left at the scene.
In the robbery-homicide, two people inside the credit union were shot — 51-year-old Raymond Batzel of Lima was killed. Joseph Doud was shot in the shoulder but survived.
Wilbern, an African-American, worked at Xerox in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. He sued the company in 2000 for racial discrimination.
Prosecutors say Wilbern traveled overseas to Japan more than a dozen times before the robbery as part of a marijuana trafficking ring. According to court papers, two possible partners in that alleged ring are expected to testify.
According to court documents, Wilbern asked for his trial to be moved to Buffalo. He implied he couldn’t get a fair trial in Rochester. Federal prosecutors plan to oppose the transfer.