Opening statements made in trial of Xerox FCU suspect Richard Wilbern

Updated: October 10, 2019 08:19 PM
Created: October 10, 2019 11:58 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The high-profile trial of Richard Wilbern began on Thursday.

Opening statements in the case wrapped up Thursday morning in the case of Wilbern, who is charged in a deadly robbery and shooting in Webster 16 years ago at the Xerox Federal Credit Union. 


Authorities say Wilbern shot two people during his robbery in October 2003, killing Xerox employee Raymond Batzel. Wilbern was then on the run for 13 years before he was arrested in 2016. The other person wounded survived.

In his opening statement assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Gregory told the jury the evidence would show this is a case about motive and opportunity. He says Wilbern was fired from Xerox for excessive absenteeism.

Eight months before the shooting Gregory said a judge ruled Wilbern's discrimination suit against Xerox had no merit.

Defense attorney Anne Berger says this is a case about identification. She says she will put on a case and her evidence will show that this is about confirmation bias.

Berger says people were almost brainwashed by intense media coverage. She says because of this when people close to Wilbern were asked if he was the person on the surveillance video, it was easy for them to say yes.

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