Jury deliberations to resume Monday in trial of Corrections Officer

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) -The jury has gone home for the weekend without reaching a verdict in the case of a local correction officer accused of beating an inmate at Midstate Correctional Facility in January of 2010.

Jurors heard a week's worth of testimony, conflicting at times.

A key prosecution witness was a fellow C.O. at Midstate, who said he saw Wehby stomp three times on inmate Jose Rivera's head and then say, "I hope you (expletive) die!"

During closing arguments Friday morning, the defense called into question the credibility of former C.O. James Alley, saying he was open to suggestion and easily led, as well as a victim of manipulation by the Department of Corrections' Inspector General's Office, which investigated the incident. Defense Attorney Michael Daley asked jurors if they'd want to be sitting in Wehby's seat, with their job and their freedom at stake, hinging on what he called a shoddy investigation.

The prosecution pointed out the consequences Alley suffered for telling the truth. The former C.O. says he was treated as an outcast by his co-workers for telling supervisors what he saw. He claims they dumped the contents of his locker and wrote, 'rat' on it. Alley retired, he says, because he no longer felt safe on the job. He said that fellow C.O.s are the only security on the inside and once they turn against you, you have nothing. Prosecutor Kurt Hameline told jurors they're at the same fork in the road as Alley was two and a half years ago-challenged to do the right thing even though it may not be a popular choice.

During closing arguments, the defense reminded jurors of the victim/inmate's past.

"First, you have an inmate that even Mr. Hameline will concede is a bad man. Everything he's done on the outside and much of what he's done on the inside involves violence," said Defense Attorney Michael Daley.

The prosecution acknowledged the challenge before jurors: convicting someone who carries a badge of a crime. A challenge made more difficult by the fact that the victim is not quite innocent.

"I know it's not an easy task, asking you to find a correction officer guilty. I know it's not easy. Especially when the person that was injured is an inmate, whom I'm sure you don't really like and I don't blame you," Prosecutor Hameline said.

The jury will resume their deliberations at 9 a.m. on Monday morning.

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