BATH — After getting instructions on the law from Judge Joseph W. Latham, the Steuben County Court jury in the Joseph A. Meyers first-degree murder trial was expected to begin deliberations today.

The jury of 11 men and three women (two jurors are alternates and will deliberate only if another juror or jurors are excused) heard more than a week of testimony, and may consider well over 100 prosecution exhibits ranging from high-tech cell phone mapping to a Valentine’s Day tab at a local bar and grill, as it decides whether Joseph Meyers set the Feb. 15, 2016 fire at 9458 New Galen Road, Wayland, that killed his friend and employee at Loon Lake Services, David N. O’Dell.

Meyers, 45, is charged with first-and second-degree murder, first-degree arson, first-degree falsifying business records, second-degree attempted insurance fraud and fourth-degree conspiracy. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Later this year, Iryn Meyers, Joseph Meyers’ wife, will go on trial for second-degree murder, first-degree arson, conspiracy and other charges in connection with the same fire.

In a steady, measured final summation Thursday afternoon, defense attorney Christopher Tunney told the jury there is an “ocean of doubt whether this fire was intentionally set,” pointing to Steuben County Fire Inv. Joseph Gerych's final “undetermined” cause for the blaze.

Tunney requested the jury "take impartiality into the jury room."

Tunney said the prosecution’s theory of the case: that Joseph and Iryn Meyers conspired over a few months to construct a financial scheme, carefully plot the murder of O’Dell and then attempt to conceal the plan, can’t withstand a close look at the evidence.

Why, asked Tunney, if the pair had devised a “master plan,” would Joseph Meyers not dispose of his home surveillance system that proved so useful to the prosecution? He noted that the surveillance video, which appeared to show the pair going back and forth from Loon Lake Services to New Galen Road in the hours before the fire was discovered, was not seized by investigators until some three weeks after the fire. Tunney asked: Wouldn’t Joseph Meyers have gotten rid of the surveillance video if he was guilty of setting the fire?

A later search warrant turned up a propane torch at Joseph Meyers’ business. Tunney noted that there was no effort to hide the torch, and it was sitting in plain sight when the warrant was executed.

“This is a master plan? Does that make sense? Some master plan,” Tunney said.

Tunney reminder jurors to consider the witnesses who testified about insurance policies connected to the case. He said all the witnesses testified Joseph Meyers did not stand to receive any money, because he was not the beneficiary on the policies. Additional testimony revealed Joseph Meyers' Loon Lake Services property was assessed at approximately $277,000, the defense attorney said.

Of the evidence the prosecution presented for arson, Tunney said “What it can’t say speaks volumes.”

Tunney said prosecutor failed to prove what time the fire began, how it began, or where it began. He said there was not a single trace of accelerant detected by fire investigators on any tested material from the house.

And even though the investigation ruled out an outside electrical-based cause for the fire, neither the meter or electric box were collected as evidence, Tunney said.

Tunney downplayed an April 15, 2016 report submitted by the state fire investigator who took up the probe after Gerych. State Inv. James Ryan testified there were “ignitable liquid patterns” on the exterior of a wood burning furnace in the basement of the house and he called the fire “incendiary” in nature.

But Ryan admitted, Tunney told the jury, that absent the outside evidence like opportunity and motive, there would not be enough physical evidence alone to classify the fire as arson.

Tunney said the final fire report filed in the case — the county report which was submitted on April 18, 2016 — had the last word on the cause of the fire, unknown.

If there is no arson, Tunney added, “there is no murder.”

“It was arson, and it was murder,” countered Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker in his final argument, which followed Tunney’s.

Baker said Ryan, the state investigator, had better, more advanced tools to work with than the county investigator, Gerych, and was able to see something that Gerych had no way of detecting — burn patterns on the side of the basement wood furnace.

Baker said to the jury that thanks to Ryan, the level where the fire began is known — the basement — and the placement is known — alongside the furnace.

In his opening statement on May 9, Baker described O’Dell as the “perfect victim,” and he continued that theme in his closing statement. Baker characterized O’Dell as a “nice guy, a simple guy,” who Meyers abused at work — paying him only $120 a week — and also outside of work, directing a conspiracy with his wife Iryn Meyers.

That plot, Baker said, involved buying O’Dell’s house for half its value, orchestrating three insurance policies worth some $140,000 with his wife as beneficiary, and then burning down the house on a cold February night in 2016.

“They each had roles to play in this conspiracy,” Baker said.

Baker acknowledged that Joseph Meyers’ name does not appear on the key financial documents that the prosecution said are the key to understanding the case: the deed to O’Dell’s house, insurance policies on the house, on O’Dell’s life, and on personal possessions belonging to Iryn Meyers’ that were in the house.

The prosecution said Joseph Meyers needed money because he was in the final stages of buying a new tow truck business for about $20,000. As a bonus, Baker said, another witness testified that Meyers was planning to buy two towing businesses.

Iryn Meyers, Baker said, wanted to buy a new double-wide home and place it on the New Galen Road property, going as far as showing a co-worker photographs of the unit she was considering for purchase.

“He may not be the beneficiary (on the insurance policies),” Baker conceded, “but he set up all meetings” with his own insurance agent for Iryn Meyers to acquire the policies, Baker insisted the evidence shows.

And Baker said Joseph Meyers was present in a Dansville lawyer’s office in July of 2015 when the deed for O’Dell’s home was transferred to Iryn Meyers for a promise of $8,000, and with the stipulation that David could live in the house for as long as he was alive.

Baker took on Tunney’s argument about a “master plan,” saying “It was a plan, it just wasn’t a good one.”

He added, “Bad plans keep failing for one reason — he’s guilty.”

Baker said the plan failed, in part, because Meyers forgot about the surveillance system, forgot to turn off his cell phone, allowing a cell phone mapping analyst to place him around O’Dell’s house three times the night before the fire, and “he forgot to keep his mouth shut.”

Baker asked the jury to remember and review the series of profanity-laced recorded phone calls Joseph Meyers made from the Steuben County Jail, calls where he is heard beseeching family members to get bail taken care of so he can get out of the lockup. Joseph Meyers is also heard worrying that he may spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Those calls, Baker reminded jurors, were recorded when Meyers had only been charged with falsifying business records, a low-level felony punishable by a couple of years in prison at the most.

One thing that is not heard on any of those recorded phone calls, Baker said to the jury, is Meyers professing his innocence.

“He never said he didn’t do it. Not one time,” Baker said.

In their closings, both Baker and Tunney reviewed statements that Joseph Meyers gave to a State Police investigator on the day of the fire. Joseph Meyers told Inv. Thomas Khork, at least initially, that he never left his Loon Lake home after 8:30 p.m., Feb. 14, 2016.

Meyers had spent several hours earlier in the day drinking at the Laf a Lot bar and grill in Wayland, eventually asking an off-duty state trooper to drive him about two miles to his home. He later called the bar from his home to ask if the trooper was still there, the on-duty bartender that night testified during the trial.

The bartender also testified that Meyers did not appear drunk that night, but at one point was walking around the place in his stocking feet.

According to testimony, later in the night, Meyers went back to the bar, retrieved his truck and drove it home.

Defense attorneys later indicated that Meyers lied about being home the rest of the night, because he was concerned he would get charged with drunk driving.

Baker ridiculed the story, saying State Police on the morning of the fire had neither any interest or any legal authority to investigate a self-reported driving while intoxicated incident from the night before.

Baker said a two-week bar tab from the Laf a Lot showed Meyers had nearly the same amount to drink the weekend before, and didn’t ask for a ride home, and in fact had never previously asked for a ride home, while drinking at the bar.

Wednesday Defense witnesses

Wayland resident Kevin Saxton, who testified as a prosecution witness earlier in the week, was called by the defense on Wednesday. Questioned by defense attorney Peter Glanville, Saxton told the jury that about two weeks before the Feb. 15, 2016 fire, he saw smoke exiting the chimney on O’Dell’s house. That presumably would be the chimney that was attached to the wood-burning furnace in O’Dell’s basement.

Saxton also said that several years ago, he applied some surface bonding cement to the outside of the chimney.

Another defense witness testified Wednesday that he examined the wood furnace, at O’Dell’s request, sometime in late 2015. O’Dell had complained of smoke in the basement when wood was burned. The witness said the chimney leading from the furnace was filled with creosote, and he advised the witness to clean it out.

The prosecution and defense view the furnace quite differently. Several prosecution witnesses, including Ryan, testified that the furnace showed no evidence of recent use.

With these witnesses, the defense looks to at least raise the possibility that something other than arson may be responsible for the fire.

Latham was scheduled to begin the jury instructions at 9 a.m., and then send out to begin deliberations.