Jury to begin deliberations Friday in trial of man accused of killing a Brighton businessman last year

IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y. (WHEC) — The jury will begin deliberations Friday in the case of an Irondequoit man accused of killing a Brighton businessman last year.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers delivered their closing arguments Thursday in the trial of Christopher Wernle for the death of Edward "Ted" Boucher. Boucher was found dead under the porch of Wernle’s home near Helendale Road in Irondequoit on May 15, 2021.

Wernle is charged with second degree murder and tampering with evidence.

Prosecutors say this was a case of money and resentment. Money, as in Boucher had it and Wernle resented him until they got into an argument and he flew into a deadly rage. That was the essence of the prosecution’s wrap-up Thursday afternoon.

Special prosecutor James Nobles said evidence from the scene, like a jacket spattered with Boucher’s blood, testimony from a neighbor and a confession Wernle allegedly made to someone else in jail, prove Wernle beat Boucher to death, then tried to hide his body, and cover-up evidence in Boucher’s high priced Audi, which was parked at the scene.

Wernle’s defense attorney, Emily Fusco, said those pieces do not fit together.

"One of the big things is a lack of DNA," Fusco said. "You have a jacket that every single prosecution witness described differently and they want to put it on him, and they want to put it on him on a daily basis. And yet, not one shred of our client’s DNA is anywhere, it’s not on the coat, it’s not in the car, it’s not on the victim’s body. It’s nowhere. So, that’s a huge problem in my mind. Any one of those things is reasonable doubt."

"The jury has a lot of different evidence to choose from," Nobles said. "They’re not having us pick one specific thing, obviously, that’s our job, to put in everything we think might be relevant, but they could use the confession, they could use the jacket, they can use other evidence, they can use his behavior, the physical evidence of the hearing that was found at his driveway and at the house. It’s not one thing they have to determine this case on, but everything together. And I think it’s a strong case when you put it all together."

The jury was sent home for the night. Friday at 9 a.m., the judge will give jurors their instructions for considering the case, which Wernle’s lawyers.