Ex-trooper in ATV death denied lower bond for 3rd time

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

For a third time Wednesday, a judge refused to lower the bond for a former Michigan State Police trooper who’s charged with causing the death of a teenage ATV rider.

Mark Bessner’s attorney, Richard Convertino, argued in 36th District Court that his client is not a flight risk, but Judge William McConico maintained his $1 million bond.

The court did agree to Convertino’s request to adjourn a preliminary hearing scheduled for Wednesday until 9 a.m. Feb. 1 to give him more time to review discovery evidence.

Bessner is charged with murder in the Aug. 26 death of Damon Grimes. The 15-year-old crashed into a truck after the trooper fired a Taser at him during a police pursuit in Detroit.

If convicted, Bessner faces up to life in prison.

State police suspended Bessner because he allegedly deployed his stun gun from inside a moving vehicle, a violation of department policy. He later resigned.

Two other state troopers — including Ethan Berger, who drove the police cruiser, according to police sources, and another who allegedly mishandled evidence at the crime scene — also have been suspended as a result of an investigation into Grimes’ death. Neither has been charged with a crime.