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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Judge declares mistrial in murder trial of former Michigan state trooper

Bessner.jpg
Wayne County Prosecutor's Office
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Mark Bessner, former Michigan state trooper

Judge Margaret Van Houten declared a mistrial today in the murder trial of a former Michigan State Police trooper. Jurors reported they were still deadlocked on the third day of deliberations.

Mark Bessner, who is white, used a taser from his police car on 15 year-old Damon Grimes during a chase. The teen, who was black, crashed the all terrain vehicle he was driving and died of his injuries.

"The family is upset. They're very upset about what happened today," said Grimes family spokesman Oliver Gantt. "I mean I'm certain, a lot of people, they're fatigued. They're going through a lot. They've dealt with a lot. To me this is just another black eye in the face of injustice."

"There's a temporary relief. There's no other way to put it. That's what it is," said Bessner's lawyer, Richard Convertino. "We're planning for a new trial. We're gearing up for it."

Bessner was charged with second-degree murder. Jurors could have come back with an involuntary manslaughter verdict. But they couldn't reach a unanimous decision to convict or aquit.

The prosecutor's office said Bessner will be retried, and a pre-trial conference is set for next week.
 

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