Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Teresa Odom

Summary of Official Misconduct tied to Jackson County Sheriff's Office
On February 15, 2018, Deputy Zachary Wester of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office stopped Teresa Odom on U.S. 231 near the town of Cottondale, Florida.

He wrote in his arrest report that he pulled her over because he saw her brake light wasn’t working properly. During the stop, Odom told Wester that the wiring had gotten wet during some recent rain. Wester asked Odom whether she would agree to a search and if there was anything he should know about. “Absolutely nothing,” she said.

Nothing in Wester’s report indicates why he asked to search Odom’s truck. But a few minutes later, after rummaging around in her vehicle, Wester emerged with a tiny white baggie that he said he had fished out of Odom’s purse. She denied any knowledge of the substance, but Wester said it needed to be tested. After the field test came back “positive,” the other deputy told Odom that she was headed to jail.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, Odom was on her cellphone while the search was taking place, and she told a friend: "It damn sure ain't mine. I'm under arrest, OK. I love you."

Odom pled guilty on March 6, 2018, to possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. She served 19 days in the county jail prior to her conviction and was placed on probation for four years.

In May of 2018, Christina Pumphrey joined the State Attorney’s Office for the 14th Prosecutorial District, which includes Jackson County. She would later say that it wasn’t long after starting her job that she began hearing from public defenders that there was something amiss with Wester’s arrests. But the clients of the public defender’s office were poor and many had previous arrests, and they stood little chance of being believed if they argued that Wester framed them.

Pumphrey began studying the video footage that accompanied the arrests. She noticed that the footage often didn’t match up with the arrest reports. In addition, Pumphrey noted the statements of the defendants after Wester said he had found drugs. “It wasn't, ‘OK, crap, I'm busted,’” she would later tell The Appeal. “It was, ‘What do you mean?’”

She continued to study the footage, then approached the sheriff’s office, which began an internal affairs investigation and took Wester off of patrol duty. That summer, Pumphrey again reviewed the video from Odom’s arrest, playing it in slow motion. She saw what appeared to be a baggie in Wester’s hand before he began the search on Odom’s car.

The sheriff’s office placed Wester on administrative leave on August 1, 2018 and fired him on September 10. Odom’s convictions were vacated and her charges dismissed on September 18, 2018.

Wester was arrested on July 10, 2019, and later charged in a 52-count criminal information on July 22, 2019. The charging document was amended on January 14, 2020, and increased to 76 counts of racketeering, official misconduct, perjury, fabricating evidence, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and false imprisonment. The perjury charges are based on allegations that Wester made false statements on his arrest reports, as opposed to giving false testimony in court. On May 18, 2021, a jury in Jackson County convicted Wester on 19 counts of the 67 that went to trial.

After her charges were dismissed, Odom filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida against Wester and the sheriff’s office seeking compensation for her wrongful conviction.

– Ken Otterbourg

Report an error or add more information about this case.

Posting Date: 3/5/2021
Last Updated: 5/21/2021
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2018
Age at the date of reported crime:52
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No