Teacher-husband acquitted in sex case after student-wife a no-show in court
Matthew Shane Wester, a former Blount County teacher accused of having sexual contact with a 17-year-old whom he married shortly after she graduated high school, was acquitted today after his young wife failed to show up for court and prosecutors said they couldn't continue without her.
Amy Nicole Cox Wester was expected to be called to testify by Blount County District Attorney Pamela Casey, but Casey said multiple efforts to serve her with a subpoena were unsuccessful. She said they left a copy of the subpoena on the door of the couple's apartment, which defense attorneys brought with them to court Wednesday, but Circuit Judge Dennis E. Odell ruled that wasn't "proper" service.
Casey asked that the case be continued until Thursday so they could make additional efforts to subpoena Cox-Wester, who previously worked at Sonic and now works at a Leeds outlet store, and Odell refused. Outside of the jury's presence, defense attorney Robert Bentley expressed concern to the judge that Casey had apparently emailed the judge the previous night, and that she had also called Wester's cell phone in attempt to locate his wife, also the previous night.
Casey told the judge both actions were unintentional and she apologized. "The court then warned Ms. Casey against further improper communications indicating the possibility of contempt sanctions for further violation should they occur,'' according to the judge's official order released late Wednesday.