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State reduces charge in Comerzan trial, heads to jury selection

ST. CHARLES, Mo. - Prosecutors reduced charges from second-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter on Friday, ahead of jury selection in Serghei Comerzan's second trial.

Assistant Audrain County prosecutor Scott Fox filed the amended charges Friday morning as both sides prepared for the case. 

Comerzan's first trial ended with a hung jury after 13 hours of deliberation last May. Comerzan is accused of speeding away from Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper James Bava in 2015 when the trooper tried to pull him over. Bava lost control of his car while trying to catch Comerzan and crashed on Highway FF in Audrain County, prosecutors said during the first trial.

Defense attorneys for Comerzan opposed the reduced charges, claiming the state had already tried him on the same set of facts, and wanted Judge Ted House to dismiss the charges altogether. They claim Comerzan never knew Bava was in pursuit.

Jury selection in the Comerzan case is expected to take most of the day Friday. The trial is scheduled to last all next week.


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