Trial delayed for ex-MSP trooper in ATV death
A new trial date was set Friday for a former Michigan State Police trooper charged with murder in the death of a teenage ATV rider who was shot with a Taser before crashing into a car on the city's east side.
The trial has been delayed from Aug. 20 until Oct. 22. Bessner's attorney, Richard Convertino, sought the delay to give him more time to respond to new motions and discovery materials filed by prosecutors.
"We received additional discovery in the case including nine additional discs of discovery," said Convertino.
Judge Margaret Van Houten of Wayne County Circuit Court granted the delay Friday, saying "given the nature of the case," she wanted to make sure Convertino has time to go through the new information.
Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Matthew Penney said Friday he is ready to proceed to trial.
Van Houten set an Aug. 24 hearing date to allow sides to respond to motions filed in the case and for a final pretrial conference.
It's the second trial delay for Bessner, who was originally scheduled to stand trial July 9.
Among the motions already filed is a request to have testimony by other alleged victims of Bessner heard by jurors during trial.
Bessner has an additional attorney working on his case. Ann Arbor attorney Lenore M. Ferber has joined Convertino, who is court-appointed, in representing Bessner, according to court documents.
Bessner is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 15-year-old Damon Grimes last August. According to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, Bessner had "punitively" used his Taser against other civilians in Detroit in the past.
The prosecutor's office is seeking to include details of those earlier incidents in Bessner's trial.
The teen ran his ATV into a parked truck Aug. 26 after losing control after Bessner used the Taser on him near Gratiot and Rossini Drive during a chase, according to authorities.
Grimes did not make any "aggressive motions or gestures" during the chase, according to court filings by the prosecutor's office. Michigan State Police policy bars troopers from deploying Tasers from moving vehicles.
According to court records reviewed by The Detroit News, Bessner also used his Taser against other civilians on July 14, April 12, 2016, and Sept. 17, 2014. Bessner was "intimately" involved in another "punitive tasering" incident Aug. 18, eight days before he chased Grimes, according to the court records.