JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB)–On Tuesday, a Jackson County jury reconvened for day two of Zachary Wester’s trial. Wester is a former deputy accused of planting drugs on people during traffic stops and arresting them on fabricated charges. He is facing more than 60 charges. Tuesday’s testimony consisted of several witness statements and a lot of body camera footage.
“You’re going to jail for possession of methamphetamine.”
These are words no wants to hear. But for several witnesses in the court room Tuesday, it became their reality after being pulled over by former Jackson County Deputy Zachary Wester.
“I did not put that under there. I don’t even do that,” said Joshua Clenney in body camera footage from his arrest. Wester pulled him over for not wearing a seat belt and then claimed he found methamphetamine in his car.
More than a dozen witnesses testified in court, each with their own story, but similar reactions when learning Wester was arresting them for possession.
“I asked for fingerprints, I asked for DNA tests on the straw, I asked for the video camera and body camera, everything they had,” said Benjamin Bowling, another witness when recounting his interaction with Wester.
“You can drug test me right now,” Clenney can be heard saying in another body camera recording.
Jurors learned most witnesses testifying Tuesday entered plea agreements after being arrested.
“It was my word against an officer,” said Trevor Day, a witness when asked why he plead.
“No one was going to believe it, he’s a cop,” said Richard Driggers, another one of Wester’s alleged victims. Driggers was pulled over for a busted headlight.
The most shocking body camera evidence jurors saw was body camera footage of Wester searching Teresa Odom’s car with his gloves off and something noticeably in his left hand. Seconds later he tells her he found meth along with a spoon.
“That is not mine. No sir,” Teresa Odom can be heard saying in the footage.
As the video played, Odom was sitting in the courtroom Tuesday. She was brought to tears as she relived that moment.
Diana Chase, the Case Agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, took the stand next. She said she was the one who reviewed the footage from Odom’s arrest and sent it to an FDLE Digital Evidence Analyst.
“I wanted to see if I could get a better look at Deputy Westers left hand,” Chase said.
As former Deputy Wester drove Odom to jail, he can be heard giving her a lesson on trust, saying “A lot of people you think you can trust, you can’t.”
The prosecution has hinted that the body camera footage from Odom’s arrest is one of their strongest pieces of evidence.
The defense’s argument is that most of Wester’s alleged victims have prior backgrounds and have been charged with crimes of dishonesty in the past. Wester’s attorney, Ryan Davis, questions their credibility.
Some witnesses have since filed civil suits against the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. Davis claims they could be motivated by money.
The jury will reconvene Wednesday morning.