Court Of Appeals Affirms Conviction And Sentence Of Former Xerox Employee Sentenced To Life In Prison For Credit Union Robbery And Murder
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
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ROCHESTER, N.Y. —U. S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has affirmed the conviction and sentence of Richard Leon Wilbern.
On November 8, 2019, following a five-week trial, a federal jury convicted Wilbern of the August 12, 2003, armed robbery of the Xerox Federal Credit Union, which resulted in the death of Raymond Batzel. On September 22, 2020, Wilbern was sentenced to serve life in prison by U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa, who presided over the trial of the case.
On August 12, 2003, Wilbern walked into Xerox Federal Credit Union, located on the Xerox Corporation campus in Webster, NY, and told an employee that he was there to conduct a security assessment and to “stage” a robbery. Wilbern then shot customer Raymond Batzel in the neck which resulted in his death. A second customer, Joseph Doud, was shot and wounded as he attempted to run outside after witnessing the shooting. Wilbern subsequently fled the credit union with a bag of money but left behind an umbrella.
In March 2016, with a suspect still not in custody, a press conference was held seeking new leads in the investigation. Details of the crime were released as well as photographs of Wilbern committing the robbery. On March 27, 2016, a concerned citizen contacted the FBI and indicated that the person who committed the crime was likely a former Xerox employee named Richard Wilbern, an employee who worked for Xerox prior to the robbery but had been fired. In July 2016, FBI agents met with Wilbern regarding a complaint he had made to the FBI regarding an alleged real estate scam. During one of their meetings, agents obtained a DNA sample from Wilbern after he licked and sealed an envelope. That DNA was compared to DNA taken from the umbrella left behind by the suspect the day of the robbery and was determined to be a positive match.
In his appeal, Wilbern raised DNA, counsel, juror, and witness issues but his arguments were rejected, and the verdict and sentence were affirmed.
On appeal, the government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine A. Gregory.
The Xerox investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Webster Police Department, the New York State Police, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, the Rochester Police Department, and the United States Marshals Service. Additional assistance was provided by the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Douglas E. Gregory and Joel L. Violanti.
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