Man accused in trooper's death turns down plea deal

22-year-old Serghei Comerzan will head to trial again on charges stemming from the death of a state trooper (File).

The man accused in the death of a state trooper rejected a plea deal offered by the state Thursday.

22-year-old Serghei Comerzan turned down the deal at a pre-trial hearing in St. Charles County. The negotiation was discussed in the judge's chambers, according to his attorney.

"As Serghei has said from the get-go, he had no idea Officer Bava was trying to pull him over," Comerzan's attorney, John James, said Thursday. "He's not guilty of any felony and therefore not guilty of felony murder, so he's not going to plead guilty to those charges."

Comerzan's second trial in the death of Trooper James Bava is scheduled to begin February 23. A jury will determine whether Comerzan is guilty of second-degree murder and resisting a lawful stop.

A hung jury in May could not decide whether to convict him of the charges.

"Anytime you retry a case, you think of new things to highlight, better ways to present, and that's true for the state and the defense. It won't be the exact same trial, but there will be the same facts, facts don't change," James said.

"Hopefully we'll get a result, I think that's something we can all agree on is we'd much prefer a verdict to a hung jury," James said.

Prosecutors said Comerzan knew or reasonably had to know Bava was trying to pull him over in the summer of 2015 in Audrain County. Investigators said Comerzan was speeding more than 100 mph on his motorcycle at the time. While apparently pursuing Comerzan, prosecutors said Bava died after his vehicle crashed.

Comerzan's attorneys have argued the state doesn't have enough evidence to prove Comerzan knew Bava was trying to stop him.

Audrain County prosecutors were not immediately available for comment Thursday night.

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