Jury struggles to reach a decision in trial of former trooper charged with killing teen on ATV

Posted at 5:37 PM, Oct 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-31 14:04:11-04

The men and women deliberating in the trial of a former Michigan State Police trooper may be headed to a hung jury. 

Around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, the jurors sent the judge a note saying they could not agree on a verdict.

Judge Margaret Van Houten told the men and women to go to lunch, clear their heads, and come back to continue to try to reach a unanimous decision on whether Mark Bessner is not guilty or guilty of either Second Degree Murder or Involuntary Manslaughter in the death of 15-year-old Damon Grimes.

On August 26, 2017, Bessner was in the passenger seat of his patrol car during a short chase with the teen who was riding his ATV on Detroit's east side.

It's illegal to operate an ATV on residential streets in the city. 

Bessner claims he deployed his taser in self-defense, believing the teen was reaching for a weapon. 

There was no weapon found on the teen, and prosecutors say Bessner's claim of self-defense is bogus.

Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Penney told jurors in his closing argument Monday that when listening to Bessner on his police radio after Grimes crashed, Bessner sounds more like he's ordering pizza rather than a man who just escaped death. 

In defense attorney Richard Convertino's closing argument, he said the taser may not have even have affected Grimes, suggesting there may have been a conspiracy involving the medical examiner to plant one of the taser's probes in the back of Damon Grimes. 

By late Tuesday afternoon, jurors were allowed to go home but they must return Wednesday morning to continue to try to reach a verdict. 

Stay with 7 Action News for the latest in the trial of Mark Bessner.