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ST. LOUIS (AP) — A one-day bench trial has been held for a former St. Louis County police officer charged with second-degree involuntary manslaughter for the 2019 death of a 12-year-old girl he hit with his squad car.

Prosecutors on Tuesday argued that former Officer Preston Marquart was criminally negligent in the October 2019 death of Akeelah Jackson.

Marquart had been driving at nearly twice the 30 mph speed limit without using his police cruiser's lights or siren in pursuit of another car when he hit the 12-year-old girl as she crossed the street, throwing her more than 125 feet, investigators have said. Akeelah died from her injuries about a month after the crash.

Marquart's attorney argued that the officer was following his training by narrowing the distance between him and the car he was pursuing before turning on his lights and siren.

Marquart waived a jury trial in favor of a decision by a judge. Circuit Judge Scott Millikan will issue a verdict in Marquart's case at a later date.

If convicted, Marquart faces up to four years in prison.


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