March 10, 2009
Thibeault found guilty of murdering wife
CORTLAND — Charles “Randy” Thibeault Sr. appeared calm and emotionless as a jury in County Court found him guilty this afternoon of murdering his estranged wife Wendy Thibeault on May 26.
The verdict, issued at 3:05 p.m., came as a mixed blessing to Wendy Thibeault’s mother, Natalie Maurer of Towanda, Pa.
“There is no real happiness in this,” Maurer said after the verdict. “We couldn’t bring Wendy back but at least we got justice.”
Wendy Thibeault's family and friends, gathered in the rotunda of the County Courthouse after the verdict was read, applauded as the jurors emerged from the County Clerk's Office after they were released out of a back door to the second-floor courtroom.
Randy Thibeault, 60, stood trial in Cortland County Court for strangling Wendy Thibeault, 47, in May in the couple’s Tower Road home. Testimony lasted eight days.
Wendy Thibeault was found May 26 at about 7 p.m. lying at the bottom of a wooden staircase, surrounded in blood. She was beaten, strangled and wearing only underwear.
The jury found Randy Thibeault guilty on all charges — second-degree murder, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, first-degree burglary and first-degree criminal contempt, all felonies — included in the indictment.
Randy and Wendy Thibeault had separated after he allegedly choked her unconscious April 14. She obtained an order of protection and he moved to a house on Durkee Avenue in Homer.
District Attorney Mark Suben had tears in his eyes as he stood outside the courtroom after the verdict was read.
“I feel privileged to have been in the position to do justice. And justice was done,” Suben said.
Suben called the murder a crime of passion in his closing statement to jurors Monday, arguing he believed Randy Thibeault had become angered at losing control of his wife after she asked for a divorce in January and she took nearly $13,000 from a joint bank account in May and deposited it in one of her own.
Suben linked Randy Thibeault to the crime scene through tire tracks found outside the Tower Road home, matched by police to his GMC Sierra pickup truck. A small amount of Wendy Thibeault’s blood was found inside the pickup truck by investigators.
Wendy Thibeault’s sister Lori Monahan, of Towanda, Pa., said after the verdict she was not surprised that Randy Thibeault showed little emotion when found guilty, adding the guilty verdict brought relief from sitting through a difficult trial.
As he left the courtroom, defense lawyer Emil Rossi declined to comment on the verdict. Cortland attorney Patrick Perfetti, who was part of the defense team, said afterward that an appeal is expected.
Randy Thibeault was taken in handcuffs, wearing a bulletproof vest, to Cortland County Jail. He will be sentenced April 23.
He faces 25 years to life in prison and Suben said Tuesday he plans to recommend the maximum sentence.
See tomorrow's issue of the Cortland Standard for full coverage of the verdict.
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