was the second trial for Serghei Comerzan, 23. A mistrial was declared
in the first trial in May 2017 when jurors couldn't reach a verdict.
Prosecutors reduced the charge from second-degree murder to
manslaughter shortly before the second trial began Monday in St. Charles
County Circuit Court.
They said Comerzan should have known a
state trooper was chasing him Aug. 28, 2015, when Trooper James Bava,
25, crashed and died on a hilly, two-lane highway in rural Audrain
County. The defense lawyer argued Comerzan could not have known Bava was
trying to stop Comerzan's motorcycle.
The jury began deliberations about 11:30 a.m. Thursday, officials said.
25, formerly of St. Charles County, wrecked his patrol car on Highway
FF after observing a motorcyclist commit a traffic violation and chasing
him. Authorities have said Comerzan was traveling at least 105 mph when
Bava tried to stop him, lost control and crashed. Bava was ejected and
pinned under the patrol car with a piece of wreckage lodged in his
armpit. The patrol car burned up after the crash.
Comerzan's case was moved in 2016 from Audrain County to St. Charles County.
a statement issued Friday, Highway Patrol Col. Sandra Karsten, said
"This has been a very difficult period of time for James' family,
friends and for the Missouri State Highway Patrol. I want to express my
thanks to all our employees as well as the law enforcement personnel who
have invested countless hours in this investigation, including the
Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, the Missouri Office of
Prosecution Services, and to every citizen who offered their help and
support in any way. I am very grateful. The Patrol will continue to
support the Bava Family in any way that we can.”