LIVE TRIAL: FL v. Zachary Wester Trial – Day 6: Prosecution Rebuttal Closing Argument

Law&Crime Network published this video item, entitled “LIVE TRIAL: FL v. Zachary Wester Trial – Day 6: Prosecution Rebuttal Closing Argument” – below is their description.

FL v. Zachary Wester Trial Day 6 – Fired Deputy Allegedly Planted Drugs During Traffic Stops – Kevin Arnold – Kevin Arnold, Ms. Finsh & Sam Catalani

Charges: 67 counts

Count 1: Racketeering

Counts 2-13: 12 counts of Official Misconduct

Counts 14-25: 12 counts of Perjury

Counts 26-37: 12 counts of Fabricating Evidence

Counts 38-49: 12 counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance

Counts 50-60: 11 counts of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Counts 61-67: 7 counts of False Imprisonment

Amended information (Charges)

Counts 1, 48, 49, 60

August 1 suspension/search of patrol car

Possible sentence: If convicted on all 67 counts, Wester could be sentenced to a maximum of more than 200 years in state prison, though he would serve only a fraction of that. Under state sentencing guidelines, his actual term could top out under 20 years. Local legal experts says if convicted on all counts he likely will serve 13 ½ years.

A fired sheriff’s deputy in Jackson County, Florida stands trial for allegedly planting drugs on people during traffic stops. Zachary Wester, 28, is accused of framing 12 people, but prosecutors ultimately dropped charges in almost 120 cases that he was involved in. Opening statements are scheduled to begin Monday, May 10, at 9 a.m. ET. You can watch in the player above.

The defendant faces charges including racketeering, official misconduct, perjury, fabricating physical evidence, possession of controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, false imprisonment, and possession of a controlled substance.

According to authorities, Wester’s M.O. was to pull over people for alleged minor traffic violations, searching their vehicles after claiming to smell marijuana, and planting drugs. Naturally, this caused major harm, and not just incarceration. Alleged victim Benjamin Bowling lost custody of his daughter.

His body cam video shows the February 15, 2018 arrest of Teresa Odom.

Wester began to search her white pickup truck at about 4:30 of the footage. As seen on video, he was about to put a black glove on his left hand, but had some fingers closed. The hand disappeared out of frame, and then he put on the glove.

Authorities suggest that he was holding the drugs he planted in the vehicle.

Wester confronted Odom with the substance at about 9:30.

“That is not mine,” Odom said. “No, sir.”

Wester went to the trunk of his cruiser to test the substance.

“Oh, no, Teresa, you’re going to jail,” said a female deputy.

But based on the allegations, it was all Wester’s fault.

“It did return presumptive positive for methamphetamine, okay,” the defendant told Odom. “I’m just letting you know.”

Wester previously served at the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office but got fired eight months into the job. Former Sheriff Nick Finch told the Tallahassee Democrat he warned then-Jackson County Sheriff Lou Roberts not to hire the defendant. He said there were rumors about Wester having sex on the job, and having affairs with married women. Reported misconduct with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office included sharing nude photos of an employee with other deputies, and starting an affair with a woman he arrested for shoplifting a Dr. Pepper.

[Mugshot via Wakulla County]

#ZacharyWesterTrial

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