Zachary Wester takes the stand on day 5 of his trial
MARIANNA, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Friday, the defense called up three witnesses including two former Jackson County Sheriff’s deputies who worked backup on some of Zachary Wester’s stops and a former IT employee with the Sheriff’s Office. Then, Wester himself took the stand.
Zachary Wester is facing more than 60 charges including official misconduct, fabricating evidence, and false imprisonment.
Over the last week, Jackson County jurors heard from a dozen alleged victims of Wester who claim the drugs found in their cars during traffic stops were not theirs. On Friday, jurors heard Wester’s side of the story.
“It’s very common for someone in possession of narcotics to deny knowledge,” Wester said.
Defense Attorney Ryan Davis questioned Wester about each of the twelve witnesses. One by one, the former Sheriff’s Deputy denied ever planting drugs or falsifying reports during these traffic stops.
Davis: “Crystallized residue and other items that you found in and around the vehicle. Did you plant any of that in there?”
Wester: “No I did not.”
Davis: “And the report that you wrote in that case, is this a true and accurate report?”
Wester: “It is.”
Davis: “Is there anything false in this report?”
After lunch, the prosecution had their turn.
“The goal of the body camera is to allow someone else in this very court system perhaps, to see what you or any other deputy would see while they have that body camera on. Am I right,” State Attorney Thomas Williams asked Wester.
“Body cameras are very beneficial yes,” Wester replied.
“Not for Regional Williams. We don’t have one right? So why don’t we have one for him,” Williams asked.
Wester continued to deny all allegations against him.
Wester: “If the body camera video for Mr. Region Williams would not have been deleted from the server, this jury would have had a chance to review that body camera.”
Williams: “Who deleted it?”
Wester: “Mr. Williams I don’t know. All I can attest to is whenever I start the video and I upload it to the server. What happens to it after it leaves the server, I’m not in control of that.”
The state finished questioning Wester Friday afternoon. Judge James Goodman said the trial is well ahead of schedule. He said the jury could be getting instructions as soon as Monday.
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