Details emerge during opening statements and early testimony in Liberty Street murder case
Jurors listened closely to opening statements and testimony about the bludgeoning death of 47-year-old Raymond L. Morgan, of 111 Liberty St., Batavia, in the third day of the Richard D. Hanes trial.
District Attorney Lawrence Friedman drew the attention of jurors as he described the brutality of Morgan’s death in his opening statement. Friedman told the jury that at least 24 blunt force trauma injuries, most likely caused by blows from a hammer, were sustained by Morgan’s body.
As he explained the timeline of events on the night of July 24, 2018, Friedman revealed the perpetrator dropped 12–15 feet from a second-floor window of Morgan’s apartment and fled the scene in the direction of Ellicott Street after the incident occurred.
During the course of the investigation, Batavia PD investigators collected blood samples matching the DNA profiles of both Morgan and Hanes from a bathroom at 5 Thorpe St., Batavia, which is the rooming house where Hanes resided at the time. Friedman said detectives will testify to the significance of this finding later in the trial.
In defense attorney Frederick Rarick’s opening statement, he described Morgan's murder as "bloody, vicious, in your face."
Rarick explained to jurors that Hanes was in the vicinity of the Liberty Street home on July 24 to purchase drugs from Morgan. Rarick emphasized that neither forensic evidence at the scene nor witness testimonies will prove Hanes as the perpetrator.
Rarick told jurors that police did not ask for blood or fingerprint samples from other witnesses once Hanes was questioned and his DNA sample was taken. Rarick’s last words in his opening statement — that Hanes had no motive to allegedly commit the murder — rang loudly in the silent courtroom.
Damien Boyd was called by Friedman to testify because he lived at 111 Liberty St. and witnessed Morgan’s badly beaten body moments after the attack. Boyd said he briefly spoke to Hanes outside the house on July 24 about 10 minutes before he heard banging noises coming from Morgan’s room.
Boyd said he saw an air conditioning unit thrown from the window of Morgan’s room and a white male drop to the ground shortly after. Boyd observed blood on the man’s hands, but he could not identify the individual due to the poorly lit surroundings.
Boyd said that the man who had fallen picked up an object Boyd described as "1 ½ to 2 feet long with an L shape on the end." Yet, Rarick pointed out during cross-examination that Boyd previously failed to choose the correct hammer from a lineup of eight hammers, one of which was the weapon used in the beating.
Hanes faces a life sentence if the jury returns a guilty verdict for his second-degree murder charge. Jurors will draw nearer to a verdict today in Genesee County Court.