Richard Leon Wilbern, 60, of Rochester, NY, who was convicted by a federal jury of the August 12, 2003, armed robbery of the Xerox Federal Credit Union which resulted in the death of Raymond Batzel, was sentenced to serve life in prison by U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Douglas E. Gregory and Joel L. Violanti, who handled the prosecution of the case, stated that on August 12, 2003 at approximately 9:45 a.m., the defendant walked into Xerox Federal Credit Union (XFCU), located on the Xerox Corporation campus at 800 Phillips Road in Webster, NY. Wilbern was wearing a dark blue nylon jacket with the letters “FBI” written in yellow on the back of the jacket, sunglasses and a poorly fitting wig. The defendant was also carrying a large briefcase, a green and gray-colored umbrella and had what appeared to be a United States Marshals badge hanging on a chain around his neck.
Wilbern went into the cubicle of a female employee and told the employee that he was there to conduct a security assessment and to “stage” a robbery. The defendant subsequently removed two firearms from the briefcase, one described as a handgun, the other a sawed-off shot gun or sawed-off rifle. Wilbern also removed a bag and instructed the employee to fill the bag with money from behind the teller counter. The employee complied with the demands.
Shortly after, the defendant ordered employees and customers to lay down on the floor. While doing so, Wilbern confronted a customer Raymond Batzel who had just finished a banking transaction with the teller. After a very brief verbal altercation, the defendant shot Batzel in the neck which resulted in his death. As Wilbern shot Batzel, a second customer, Joseph Doud, entered the credit union and attempted to turn and run back outside after witnessing the shooting. The defendant shot and wounded the customer in the back as he fled. After shooting the two customers, Wilbern returned to the teller counter area and, while holding the firearm in the air, told credit union employees to fill the bag with cash. The defendant then took the money and fled the credit union leaving behind the umbrella.
Authorities tried to get DNA samples from the umbrella, but with the technology of the time, samples were “inconclusive.” However, in 2011, a new testing technique, referred to as High Sensitivity DNA testing, was used, and DNA was recoverable. The police reopened the investigation, published pictures of the robber, and received a “tip” from a citizen that the picture looked like a former employee who had been fired in 2001, before the robbery, and was able to identify him by name.
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 envelope was sent to OCME, and after comparing the DNA profile from the envelope to the DNA profile previously developed from the umbrella, determined there was a positive match.
The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Stephen Belongia; the Webster Police Department, under the direction of Chief Joseph P. Rieger, the New York State Police, under the direction of Acting Major Barry Chase, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Todd Baxter, the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Acting Chief Mark Simmons, the United States Marshals Service, under the direction of Charles Salina, and the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Sandra Doorley.