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Mistrial declared in Comerzan trial due to deadlock; prosecutor to try case again

Serghei Comerzan, 21, was accused of six charges including the murder of Trooper James Bava, 25. (File)

A judge has declared a mistrial in the Serghei Comerzan trial, and Audrain County Prosecutor Jacob Shellabarger said in a written statement that he will retry the case this fall.

Serghei Comerzan was charged with second-degree murder and resisting arrest in the death of Trooper James Bava after he allegedly tried to flee from Bava while speeding on Highway FF in Audrain County in August 2015.

A note passed from the jury indicated that there was a minority on the jury who would not budge on the case.

In his statement, Shellabarger said, "The jury's failure to reach a verdict today does not end the Bava family's pain at the loss of their son, brother, fiancee and shining light."

While praising the jurors for their duty, Shellabarger said they could not reach a verdict because they were hesitant to convict on a charge of murder "based on actions that they believe don't look like what they expect of murder." He said the statutes need to be changed to reflect that murder "is the commission of a felony resulting in death."

Comerzan's lawyer said he would not speak about the mistrial because it was still an ongoing case.

Reacting to the mistrial ruling, Jim Bava, Trooper Bava's father, said on the day of his son's death, Comerzan could have slowed down but chose not to.


EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to add content and change the headline accordingly.

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