Corrections Officer testifies against colleague in abuse trial

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Some of the most damaging testimony so far in the assault trial of a local correction officer accused of beating an inmate came from one of the officer's fellow C.O.s.

Michael Wehby is accused of assaulting inmate Jose Rivera at Midstate Correctional Facility in January of 2010. The inmate took the witness stand and testified that Wehby teased him about a protective helmet he wears due to seizures and that when he asked the officer to stop, the exchange between the two escalated to a fight. The alleged incident began in the main mess hall, but Rivera claims Wehby pulled him aside into a private vestibule and began assaulting him.

On Wednesday, former Correction Officer James Alley took the stand and told jurors what he saw in that vestibule two and a half years ago.

"Describe to this jury exactly what you saw Officer Wehby do to the inmate," asked Prosecutor Kurt Hameline.

"He lifted his foot off the ground and stomped on the inmate's head," said Alley.

"How many times?" asked Hameline.

"I saw three," responded Alley.

Alley stood up and demonstrated the action. Then, he told jurors what he heard Wehby say to the inmate.

"I heard him, in his words, say, 'I hope you (expletive) die' three times."

Alley says he didn't volunteer any information after the incident because he didn't want to be a 'rat', but that, when officially questioned, he had to tell the truth. Prosecutors say that, after doing that, Alley was ostracized by fellow officers at work to the point where he had to go out on leave, and ultimately retire, sooner than he'd planned.

Testimony ended on Wednesday before the defense had a chance to question former officer Alley. Defense attorneys will get that chance on Thursday.

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