More than a dozen witnesses take the stand at day two of the Zachary Wester trial
MARIANNA, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -
Jurors in the Zachary Wester trial heard testimony Tuesday from several people who were arrested by the former Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputy.
Wester is being accused of planting drugs in cars during traffic stops. He is facing more than 60 charges including official misconduct, fabricating evidence, and false imprisonment. If Wester is found guilty of all charges, he could face more than 13 years in state prison.
A jury consisting of two females and seven males heard testimony from witnesses who were arrested by Wester. Similar to what was said Monday, many of the witnesses said they were victims of Wester.
“He told me that it was methamphetamine,” witness Trevor Day said. “I told him there was no way that was in my car.”
Jurors heard from about a dozen witnesses who all had one thing in common, which was denying the drugs were theirs.
“We would never mess with something like that,” witness Kimberly Wood said.
Many of the witnesses testifying in court entered plea deals, including a gentleman named Richard Driggers. State attorney Thomas Williams asked him why he did that if he’s innocent.
Williams: “Why did you enter a plea when you say the drugs were not yours?”
Driggers: “They wouldn’t believe me.”
Williams: “Why would you feel nobody’s going to believe it?”
Driggers: “Because he’s a cop.”
Wester’s defense attorney Ryan Davis tried to create doubt in the minds of jurors.
Davis: “Have you used marijuana today?”
Driggers: “No sir.”
Driggers: “Yes sir.”
Davis: “What time did you use marijuana yesterday?”
Driggers: “In the afternoon.”
Davis: “But you don’t think that’s affecting you now?”
Driggers: “No sir!”
One of the final people to take the stand was Teresa Odom, a key witness for the prosecution.
In 2019 a video surfaced that state attorney Thomas Williams said shows Wester allegedly planting meth in Odoms truck while searching her vehicle during a traffic stop. The body camera footage is from February of 2018 when Odom was arrested on felony drug charges.
In Tuesday’s testimony, jurors saw clips of that video where Odom can be heard clearly saying the substance found in her truck was not hers.
Odom spent several weeks in jail before taking a plea deal which the defense asked her about during her testimony.
“You said you did that because you just wanted to go home,” Davis asked.
“My daughter did not have a father present for her child. She works forty, sometimes more hours a week. I needed to be there to help take care of my grandchild sir,” Odom replied.
Other witnesses who took the stand for the prosecution were former and current Jackson County Sheriff’s deputies, a former probation officer, and an attorney involved in some of the cases.
Court officials said that Zachary Wester will also be taking the stand at some point during the trial.
Court proceedings will resume Wednesday morning.
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