Trial for man accused of killing Brighton businessman will resume Wednesday

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ROCHESTER N.Y. (WHEC) — Opening statements from special prosecutors and defense attorneys were heard Monday morning in the trial of the man accused of killing a Brighton businessman last year. The trial will resume on Wednesday.

Prosecutors say Edward “Ted" Boucher was struck in the head 31 times with a blunt object by Christopher Wernle at Wernle’s Irondequoit home, which prosecutors described as a place for drugs and prostitution.

Prosecutors say Wernle and the prostitutes are drug addicts and claim Boucher went to the house to meet the woman he was having an affair with and that money was exchanged for her services. He left around midnight and prosecutors say he wasn’t seen again until his body was found on May 15.

"So there was a preexisting relationship to the defendant as the defense conceded," said Special Prosecutor James Nobles. "He has a long-standing drug problem and was always out of money and that’s what precipitated this event."

Acting Sgt. Taylor Barth, the first of several witnesses, took the stand to talk about the missing person’s case, and how cell phone “pings” helped in Boucher’s body. Wernle’s defense attorney cross-examined Barth until the court took a break for lunch.

While Wernle’s defense attorney, Emily Fusco, admitted that Wernle and the people in his home are all drug addicts or prostitutes, but have denied the other allegations made by prosecutors.

"It is early, this is going to be a long trial," Fusco said. "Like Mr. Zimmerman [Wernle’s other defense attorney] said there’s been no surprises so far so as far as we’re concerned, things are going well."

Wernle has already pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder and evidence tampering.

Nobles said the trial will pick back up Wednesday when testimony will expose how the drugs and prostitution allegedly connect to Boucher’s murder.