The testimony of Dillon Brito, one of the men who admitted to taking part in a robbery on State Street, Batavia, in September, was the focus of closing arguments for both the defense and prosecution in the trial of Reginald M. Wilson.
Wilson is charged with burglary and possession of stolen property and faces a possible life sentence because of his prior felony convictions if the jury finds him guilty.
The jury began deliberations this morning.
In his summation, Defense Attorney Fares Rumi told jurors that Brito lacked credibility.
"He's a young criminal who took a deal to testify," Rumi said.
District Attorney Lawrence Friedman countered that Brito implicated Wilson when he was first arrested, long before the prosecution offered a plea agreement. Brito's testimony was credible, Friedman said, because his statements were consistent from the time of his arrest to his testimony and even under cross-examination.
"It's not like he tried to accuse Reginald Wilson to save his own skin," Friedman said. "How does implicating Reginald Wilson saves his own skin? Why would he implicate Reginal Wislon when it hasn't been shown he has a motivation to lie? I’m not saying people never lie, but people usually lie for a reason. What was the reason?"
Brito said Wilson asked him to act as a lookout during the break-in and that he saw Wilson enter the residence. Brito also testified that he was with Wilson and the other defendants, Quentin L. Gibson, 25; Joseph D. Dash, 24, when they were showing off the allegedly stolen items.
Wilson's possession of the car that was stolen from the State Street house was also a key part of the closing arguments.
Rumi asserted that the prosecution failed to prove that Wilson knew the car was stolen. He relied heavily on the fact that Wilson drove that car around Batavia the day after the burglary, even hanging out with it on State Street.
"Think about it, men and women of the jury, my client rode around all over Batavia all day," Rumi said. "He wouldn’t have done that if he knew it was stolen. He would have taken it out of town or he would have ditched it."
Friedman told jurors that Wilson obviously knew the car was stolen because he gave differing versions of how he came to possess the car. First he told Toni White that his girlfriend gave it to him. Later he told her it belonged to "Joey." When he was picked up by police, he reportedly said it belonged to a friend.
Obviously, Friedman said, Wilson wasn't worried about being caught with the car. "He had his story ready," Friedman said.
The car not only proves, Friedman said, that he knowingly possessed stolen property, but it corroborates Brito's testimony that Wilson participated in the burglary.
Following the arguments, Judge Robert Noonan instructed the jury on its role in evaluating facts, what they heard in court and that it is not the juror's job to decide what the law should be. He further explained the law and the scope of the case.