New trial date set for former Michigan State Police trooper in Detroit teen's ATV death

Mark Bessner returns to court Wednesday for pretrial conference

DETROIT – A date has been set for a new trial for a former Michigan State Police trooper accused of firing his Taser at a 15-year-old boy who crashed his ATV and died in Detroit.

Mark Bessner is facing second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter charges in Damon Grimes' death. A mistrial was declared last week after jury members failed to reach a unanimous decision.

Bessner returned to court Wednesday for a pretrial conference, and Judge Margaret Van Houten announced the new trial will begin April 1.

A final pretrial hearing is scheduled for March 8. Any negotiated plea or resolution would have to be reached by the pretrial date, Houten said.

Bessner's defense asked for his tether -- which he's been wearing for nearly a year -- to be removed, arguing he's not a flight risk.

"There's no valid reason that I can think of for him to remain on the tether," his attorney said. "I don't think there's a legal reason. He's not a risk of flight. He's proven that over and over, and we would ask that the court enter an order to remove the tether."

The defense claims Bessner wants to be able to leave his home to look for a job.

Prosecutors argued there's no reason to remove the tether, and Houten agreed.


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