Conviction of two men charged with selling drugs within a 1,000 feet of a church is overturned

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Two men who were convicted in 2013 in Indian River County for selling oxycodone within a 1,000 of a church have had their convictions overturned and will be given a new trial.

The Fourth District Court of Appeals in West Palm Beach reviewed the convictions of Neil Lemaster and Paul Wilder who were charged with selling drugs near the church in November 2011.

The court in it's ruling says that the state offered evidence that Ryanwood Fellowship Church was located within  a 1,000 feet of a drug sale at the time.

The state, according to the appeals court, failed to offer evidence from which a jury could find that church services were being regularly conducted at the time of the November 2011 crime.

The jury, according to the court, was shown photos of the church in 2012, however, the appeals court said that the photos did not indicate how the church looked at the time of the crime.

An officer, according to the appeals court, told the jury about activity at the church in 2010, but not during the time of the crime.

The Fourth District Court of Appeals overturned Lemaster and Wilder's conviction of selling drugs within a 1,000 feet of a church.

Both men were also convicted of drug possession in 2013.


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