ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – Jurors have started deliberating in the Richard Wilbern case. Lawyers gave closing arguments on Thursday, wrapping up the five-week-long trial.
Wilbern is accused of robbing the Xerox Federal Credit Union in Webster and shooting and killing Raymond Batzel in the process, back in 2003.
Hiding in plain sight or not hiding at all? That’s the final question both prosecutors and defense attorneys left for the jury as they were sent off to deliberate Wilbern’s fate.
From the beginning, both sides have said this case is about DNA and identification. Each side has different opinions about the DNA evidence. Prosecutors said it’s Wilbern’s. The defense said it’s not reliable enough to be sure, beyond a reasonable doubt.
They make the same argument about the identity of the man in surveillance photos. The defense said photo quality isn’t good enough to prove it’s Wilbern, again, beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors said factors like the wig, FBI jacket, and height add up, along with witness testimony that it’s him.
Overall, each side simplified their arguments down to a few points. Prosecutors said the DNA is there, desperation is the motive, and there’s enough proof that Wilbern is in the photo.
The defense said the DNA isn’t conclusive and people were influenced to believe the man in the photo is Wilbern but didn’t have the thought themselves originally. They said there’s just not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Wilbern did this.
The jury will deliberate until 8:00 p.m. on Thursday and will return Friday morning to continue. Deliberations will continue into next week if necessary.