DETROIT (WJBK) - The trial of a former Michigan State police trooper is expected to wrap up early this week. Jurors in the murder trial of Mark Bessner heard closing arguments Monday morning and are now deliberating. The trial has been going on for about a week now in downtown Detroit, in which time several witnesses have taken the stand - including Bessner himself.
Prosecutors say Bessner Tased 15-year-old Damon Grimes back in August of 2017, leading to his death. Grimes was on an ATV when he was Tased by Bessner, and crashed into a parked car. He died in the crash.
Bessner told jurors last week that he believed at the time that Grimes was armed, and that he feared for his life and for the life of his partner.
"We were just on normal patrol and suddenly an ATV approaches at a very high rate of speed," he testified. "At the very last moment [the ATV driver] veered hard left and, uh, almost struck our patrol car."
Bessner says his partner did a U-turn and began chasing Grimes along Rossini. He testified that Grimes' behavior seemed "abnormal." He said the driver slowed and kept looking back at them, and Bessner was concerned Grimes was taunting them or trying to lure them into a trap. Bessner added that he saw Grimes reach for his waistband again and that's when he made his decision to act.
"I did the only thing I thought that I could do at the time and this deploy the weapon," he said.
Bessner admitted to the jury that he didn't report his suspicion that the driver was armed immediately after the crash. Grimes did not have a weapon.
Bessner has been charged with second-degree murder as well as involuntary manslaughter. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of the more serious charge. He quit the state police job after the incident.
Closing arguments are expected to begin Monday morning, and the jury will begin deliberating after hearing both sides.
This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 2 for updates.