Trial of Christopher Wernle for the murder of Edward ‘Ted’ Boucher begins
Body found on Helendale Road in Irondequoit
A body found in Irondequoit on Sunday has been identified as that of Edward “Ted” Boucher, who was reported missing on Friday.
Supplied, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
A key witness in the trial of the man accused of beating Brighton businessman Edward ‘Ted’ Boucher to death is expected to be a townsman suspected of dealing drugs with the ex-husband of former Mayor Lovely Warren.
In a bizarre convergence of two of the area’s most high-profile criminal cases, Jason Siplin, who has a history of local drug trafficking, is set to testify against 49-year-old Christopher Wernle, who is accused of Boucher’s murder and concealment of the corpse of Butcher under a porch at Irondequoit House in Wernle. Siplin is one of six men who have been charged in federal court with participating in a drug trafficking ring. one of the defendants is Timothy Granison, Warren’s husband.
Wernle’s trial is due to begin on Monday April 18 and last up to three weeks. He is charged with second degree murder and tampering with evidence.
According to court documents, Siplin alleges that he knew Wernle because he previously sold drugs to Wernle. While in jail together, following Wernle’s arrest in May 2021 for Boucher’s homicide, the two allegedly spoke about the murder, according to court documents.
Siplin alleges that Wernle spoke about the homicide during the conversation and provided information that had not been made public. For example, Wernle allegedly told Siplin that he faked fainting after police found Boucher’s body.
Siplin faces criminal charges in federal court, accusing him of being a major player in a drug ring in which Granison also sold drugs. A court filing shows Granison is due to plead guilty on April 25, though the filings don’t say to what crime.
Siplin, Granison and others were arrested in May 2021 for drug trafficking. Police searched the townhouse shared by Granison, Warren and their young daughter, finding no drugs but discovering firearms which led to a gun possession charge against Warren and Granison. Warren said she was unaware of any drug sales by Granison.
After: Police records relating to the death of Brighton businessman Ted Boucher have been released. what they show
Special Prosecutor: Defense attorney James Nobles assigned in homicide of businessman Ted Boucher
Grand Jury: Irondequoit man Christopher Wernle charged in Ted Boucher’s death
Warren lost the Democratic primary to current Mayor Malik Evans last year. In October, she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor campaign finance violation, satisfying that and other criminal charges. She said she and Granison were separated but living together at the time of her arrest.
The criminal case against Wernle could be particularly salacious, as it was discovered that Boucher, a businessman known for his local philanthropy, had regularly paid a woman for sex. He may have paid her more than $100,000, according to the investigation.
Wernle reportedly ran prostitution services from his 403 Helendale Rd. home, and Boucher was known to be a visitor. Boucher was easy to spot in the neighborhood; he was driving a 2020 Audi R8, a car worth around $170,000.
The woman Boucher was dating for sex then usually used the money to buy drugs.
Boucher’s son is a prosecutor in the district attorney’s office. Wernle is being prosecuted by two special prosecutors outside the office – local defense attorney James Nobles, who previously worked as a prosecutor, and Yates County District Attorney Todd Casella.
Nobles said Friday that “there is a lot of evidence in this case.” A coat found in Wernle’s house reportedly had Boucher’s blood on it.
Police allege that when they drove to Wernle’s home, he tried to distract them and move them away from the porch. Boucher’s body was on the porch; he had been violently beaten.
Boucher, who was 65, previously ran Caldwell Manufacturing Co., a global supplier of window and door manufacturing. He was the fourth generation of the Boucher family to run the business, founded in 1888 by William Caldwell and Allen Boucher.
Defense attorney Clark Zimmermann said the case against Wernle was “largely circumstantial” and that Siplin was not a witness to be believed.
“I question his motive, his credibility, his credibility and his reliability,” Zimmermann said.
Court documents: Brighton businessman Ted Boucher beaten to death at Irondequoit
Ted Boucher investigation: Police raid Irondequoit home linked to death of businessman
2021: Missing Rochester businessman Ted Boucher found dead in Irondequoit
Siplin’s attorney, Paul Guerrieri, said Friday that Siplin had not received any offers from federal officials for his testimony against Wernle. Records show Siplin is considering a plea deal in federal court.
Another man was also seen around Wernle’s home by a neighbor at the time of Boucher’s murder, Zimmermann and Nobles said. Nobles said police were unable to identify the person, but there was no evidence linking him to the homicide.
“There is absolutely evidence that there is another person there on multiple occasions,” Nobles said. “It could be as simple as someone stopping to say ‘Hello.'”
If Wernle knows the individual, he has not told the police.
The allegations of a prominent local businessman frequently paying for sex will surely be aired during the trial. No matter how unseemly the allegations are, they shouldn’t impact the trial, Nobles said.
No one should end up a victim of murder, he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a drug user, drug dealer, prostitute, or john,” Nobles said.
“There may be salacious allegations, there may be salacious facts, but no one deserves to be murdered.”