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Zachary Wester trial goes to the jury

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 9:35 PM CDT
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MARIANNA, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - After a week of arguments, the trial against former Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputy Zachary Wester has now gone to the jury.

Wester is accused of planting drugs inside of cars during traffic stops. He faces more than 60 charges including official misconduct, fabricating evidence, and false imprisonment.

Monday morning, Judge James Goodman read final instructions to the jury. Then both the state and the defense gave their closing arguments leaving it to the jurors to decide if Zachary Wester is guilty or not.

The prosecution went first.

“He used his authority as a deputy sheriff to commit these crimes and render these people powerless and charge them for crimes they didn’t commit,” Assistant State Attorney Thomas Williams said.

The defense went next, telling jurors 28-year-old Wester had so many drug arrests because he was doing his job and not sitting around.

“Or could his motivation have been as he told you, to help rid this county of a serious problem? And that’s why he was proactive, and that’s why he would you know if he wasn’t on a call, he was pulling people over and not just sitting and waiting for the next one, taking a break. He was proactive,” Defense Attorney Ryan Davis said.

Wester took the stand last Friday and denied all allegations against him.

Jurors heard both sides of the case and now it’s up to them to decide Wester’s fate.

Deliberations will continue Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m.

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