ONEIDA COUNTY - Thursday morning, Oneida County District Attorney Michael Schiek argued an affair with a 15-year-old girl gave Robin Mendez motive to murder his wife, Barbara Mendez, in 1982.
"There was the potential for that information and that affair to be released to other people in the community even the victim, Barbara," said Schiek.
But Thursday Mendez's attorney argued the affair should not be a part of that evidence. Peter Prusinski said the affair began in the summer of 1981 and ended in the fall of 1982. Nothing stopped it from happening, even the murder.
"If this was relevant to motive, we could expect a change in behavior in the status of the affair. The affair was going on before and after the death of Barbara Mendez," said Prusinski.
Judge Jill Falstad ultimately decided to allow the affair as evidence because it would provide intent for Mendez.
This afternoon, lawyers and Judge Falstad met again, this time to determine whether D.A. Schiek can call a forensic expert as a witness in trial. Christopher Robinson, a private forensic consultant and expert in crime scene reconstruction, appeared via video.
He used clay molds to show that Barbara's injuries were consistent with a hit to the head with a pry bar, which is often used in upholstery. That's the type of business Mendez's family owned.
But Mendez's lawyer argued that this type of science is not precise enough and Robinson's testimony should not be accepted.
"I do not believe there are sufficient facts and data that he used in his experimentation today to establish what he is testifying to and that the testimony is a product of reliable principles and methods," said Prusinski.
Judge Falstad heard both arguments, and well as questioning of Robinson, and will make a decision after reviewing all materials.