District attorney will retry 1984 cold case murder after mistrial ruling

Mistrial declared in cold case murder trial

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A judge’s decision to declare a mistrial in the case of a man accused of raping and killing a 14-year-old in 1984 was disappointing, but the right call.

That is how Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley described Judge Thomas Moran’s decision Wednesday on the “Bob Lonsberry Show” on WHAM1180.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” she said. “We were almost done with our proof. We had a few more witnesses scheduled for today. We were going to finish with additional forensic testimony regarding DNA and then we were going to hopefully close and submit the case to a jury. And now we’ve got to do it all over again.”

The mistrial is because of jury misconduct, according to Doorley.

“Based upon that, the defense made the motion. He didn’t feel the jury would be fair and impartial, you know, they were grossly incompetent to serve, and the court granted that motion,” she said.

The allegations of misconduct were brought to light Tuesday afternoon.

Fourteen-year-old Wendy Jerome left her Denver Street home Thanksgiving night in 1984 to go to a nearby friend’s house. Her body was found near School 33 on Webster Avenue.

For nearly four decades, there was little advancement in the case. In 2020, police announced the arrest of Timothy Williams.

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Shortly after Judge Thomas Moran declared a mistrial, News10NBC crews at the Hall of Justice saw Wendy’s family leave the courtroom in distress.

Wendy’s mom, Marlene Jerome, tells News10NBC it was “a shock and a setback.”

“However, the prosecution, my family, friends, Wendy’s friends and I are strong and will do whatever is necessary to get justice for Wendy.”

Marlene Jerome

The district attorney plans to retry the case next year. In the meantime, Timothy Williams will remain in the Monroe County Jail.