Peoria City Councilman Zach Oyler pleads not guilty; jury trial set

Local News

PEORIA, Ill.– Peoria City Councilman Zach Oyler pleaded not guilty after being charged with domestic battery and interfering with the reporting of domestic violence.

Oyler appeared in Peoria County Judge John Vespa’s courtroom Wednesday afternoon.

Oyler is represented by attorney Rob Hanauer. The at-large councilman has a status hearing set for Oct. 16 at 9 a.m. and a jury trial Jan. 13, 2020.

Judge Vespa said both him and Oyler are Republicans and attend the GOP breakfast every other month. He asked if the State prosecutors or defendants had an issue with him overseeing the case, both say they have no problem with it. 

Vespa is going back to federal court duty beginning in January, so he will only oversee the status hearing on Oct. 16.

The wife of Peoria City Councilman Zach Oyler, Heather, claims her husband was drunk when the two had an argument that lead to Zach Oyler’s arrest.

According to police reports WMBD requested via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Heather told a Peoria Police Department officer “stuff had gone on for a long time and he came home drunk. Zachary had been drinking all day and [Heather] denied any drinking on this date.”

An officer spoke with Oyler and reported smelling the strong odor of alcohol. The councilman told the officer he met a friend earlier in the evening and had “a little” to drink.

Police reports state an officer on scene used his flashlight to look at Heather’s neck and chest, he then saw several areas that were red, the marks looked fresh and appeared to have come from the fight.

Oyler was arrested July 30.

Oyler told police he and his wife had an argument that night and his wife got angry. Heather told officers Zach arrived home and got mad at her. She said she asked Zach to go get dinner, and he said he wasn’t hungry, therefore she didn’t need to eat either.

Heather filed an order of protection against him on July 31.

The councilman won an at-large seat on the Peoria City Council in April. He was first elected to office in 2017.

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