Audrain County Judge Wesley Clay Dalton granted a change of venue for a Mexico man who has been charged with second degree murder for the death of the late Trooper James M. Bava.
On Friday, February 19, the change of venue request was granted for Serghei Comerzan with proceedings now heading to Montgomery County.
Comerzan, who is now in Montgomery County Jail, will appear in court at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, March 2 as his defense attorney Charlie James seeks a bond reduction, which is currently a cash-only bond of $250,000. The bond was previously set at $100,000.
The change of venue decision was touted as “good news” by supporters on the “Free Serghei Comerzan” Facebook page. Supporters feel Comerzan did not cause the trooper to wreck his vehicle and believe the trooper should have worn a seat belt, this according to the page description.
Comerzan was officially charged with murder in the second degree last November. According to a probable cause statement, the late Trooper Bava was working “routine traffic enforcement” on Missouri Route FF when he met a motorcycle traveling at a high rate of speed. He notified Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop F radio personnel that he checked the motorcycle’s speed at 105 m.p.h., turned around on it, and then said “he took off on me.”
“During his pursuit of Mr. Comerzan, Trooper Bava’s Dodge Charger left Highway FF, struck a ditch, a fence, and some trees, then caught fire,” said Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney Jacob Shellabarger in a November press release. Initial charges include murder in the second degree, involuntary manslaughter in the first degree, resisting a lawful stop that created risk or serious injury or death, resisting a member of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, careless and imprudent driving, exceeding the speed limit, and failure to register a motor vehicle.