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Windermere's disgraced former police chief, Daniel Saylor, was found guilty of perjury by a jury on Wednesday for lying on the witness stand during the child-rape trial of a friend.
It was the culmination of a fall from grace that began when the then-chief was arrested in January 2011, accused of covering up the allegations against that friend, Scott Frederick Bush.
Before sentencing, Saylor asked for mercy, but continued to deny wrongdoing: "I still believe what I said was the truth," he said.
Bush was convicted of rape and sentenced to life in prison.
Saylor's six-member jury deliberated just more than an hour Wednesday before returning their verdict.
On Wednesday, Saylor took the stand again, in his own defense. Fred Westerberg, who ran the OCSO sex-crimes unit at the time, testified that one of his detectives sat in on an interview of Bush's victims in 2003, but only as a courtesy."There was no recommendation, because there was no investigation," Williams told jurors in the state's closing.
He claimed his officers told him the State Attorney's Office and Orange County Sheriff's Office had reviewed the case in 2003 and recommended against charging Bush: "That's what I was told."However, on cross examination, he acknowledged telling Bush's jury that the case had been investigated "thoroughly" in 2003. Defense attorney William Mc Clellan argued that Saylor was no different than any police agency head: "They get their information from ... However, Williams noted that Saylor didn't tell Bush's jury that the information he had was secondhand, or solely an opinion."When he took the stand on the behalf of Scott Bush, there was no uncertainty whatsoever," Williams said.
Saylor, 47, was sentenced to eight years in state prison.
Saylor was arrested in 2011 after a Florida Department of Law Enforcement probe.He later pleaded to official misconduct and other charges.He was accused of falsely claiming that two outside agencies recommended against charging Bush after sexual abuse allegations against the Windermere man first surfaced in 2003.In reality, prosecutor Ryan Williams said in the state's closing argument, Saylor "took the stand and told a statement that was not true — a lie — to undercut [Bush's victims'] credibility," Williams said.By January 2013, while on probation after a year in work release on a plea deal, Saylor testified defiantly in Bush's trial, denying that he had impeded the case.
A year later, he was led from his own trial in handcuffs Wednesday, after his fifth felony conviction: perjury in an official capital proceeding.