Jury gets case after closing arguments in former MSP Trooper Bessner trial

Posted at 5:25 PM, Oct 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-30 16:32:54-04

A jury of six women and six men from across Wayne County is deliberating the case against former Michigan State Police Trooper Mark Bessner.  

The options are Second Degree Murder, Involuntary Manslaughter or not guilty.

Dash can video shows some of what happened in August of last year. Fifteen-year-old Damon Grimes was riding an ATV - first at state police, then running away from them.  

Bessner, riding in the passenger seat, deployed his Taser. Grimes crashed and later died. 

Both sides argued to the jury: use your common sense.  

Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Penney said, “No one on God’s green earth thinks it’s a good idea to shoot a Taser at somebody when they’re not wearing a helmet when they’re going that fast.”

Defense Attorney Richard Convertino said, “Your focal point should be strictly and solely on whether Mark Bessner was justified in discharging at that point his weapon of last resort.”  

Convertino added, “If you find the defendant Bessner did use reasonable force, that his actions were justified. He is not guilty.”

A tearful Bessner testified in his own defense last week that he saw Grimes reach for his waistband with his left hand as if reaching for a gun.  

But Grimes goes out of frame in the video and, within a second, is Tasered and crashed.  

Assistant Prosecutor Penney questioned if this was turned into a self-defense case for Bessner saying, “That unseen grab with the left hand in that split second and none of this would have happened.”  

Penny also said Bessner said nothing about a possible gun on the police radio, to his partner or to other first responders immediately on the scene.  

There was no gun.  

“The first time he apparently says anything about, I thought there was a gun, is after the ambulance left,” Penny said.

If Bessner is found guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter he’s facing up to 15 years in prison.  If guilty of Second Degree Murder he’s facing any number of years, up to the judge. 

Deliberations will continue tomorrow.