By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — At a motion hearing in Dunn County Circuit Court October 4, it was clear that the Gary Wayerski trial would go forward this week.
Wayerski, who formerly served as the part-time police chief in Wheeler, is charged with 16 felonies related to sex crimes involving teenage boys, including child enticement, exposing children to harmful material, and sexual assault of a child by a person who works or volunteers with children.
The 57-year-old Wayerski also formerly served as a police officer in Colfax.
At issue during the October 4 motion hearing were the 30 photos that Ben Webster, a special prosecutor from Eau Claire County, planned to introduce as evidence.
Webster said the photos were necessary to establish Wayerski’s motive and intent.
Lester Liptak, Wayerski’s attorney, said the photographs would be an attempt to “nauseate” the jury instead of having them listen to evidence and that the “impetus was to inflame the sensibilities of the jury.”
No evidence exists that the photos involve underage juveniles, Liptak said.
The photos would be a “subtle backdoor attempt” to bring in other acts evidence, he said.
Judge William Stewart said motive and intent would be an important issue for the trial and that it was not his job to tell Webster what he could offer as evidence.
The 30 photographs may be “too many,” or Webster may be able to make the argument that 30 is enough, Judge Stewart said.
The judge also noted that while the photographs may be entered into the record as evidence, members of the jury may not end up seeing all of the photos.
Webster said he planned to submit the photos to the court as eight-and-a-half by 11-inch hard copies.
The photographs would be given to the jury to see, but they would not be put up on a screen electronically to avoid having other witnesses and members of the public view the pictures, he said.
Webster also said that he planned to introduce material from Wayerski’s computer as evidence, such as chat logs and URL locations, and that the material would be submitted to the court as hard copies.
The trial started on Monday, October 8, and was scheduled to finish on Friday, October 12.
A special prosecutor from Eau Claire County was assigned to handle the case because of Wayerski’s former position as a police officer with cases pending in Dunn County.
The Wayerski trial was previously scheduled for June, but on the morning that jury selection was set to begin — June 26 — Judge Stewart agreed to reschedule the trial.
The trial initially had been scheduled in January after Wayerski requested a speedy trial but was rescheduled until June after Wayerski waived his right to a speedy trial and at the request of the prosecution and the defense.
Since his arrest in July of 2011, Wayerski has remained in custody on a $20,000 cash bond.
In November of last year, Judge Stewart denied a request from Liptak for a change in venue.
Liptak argued that a fair and impartial jury could not be found in Dunn County because the case had been publicized from Minneapolis to Green Bay.
Judge Stewart noted that he is not allowed to go outside of the judicial district for a change of venue and said that Liptak’s description of media coverage from Minneapolis to Green Bay had essentially described the judicial district.
The Wheeler Police Commission terminated Wayerski’s employment last October.