St. Louis County Officer Found Not Guilty In Death Of Girl

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A former St. Louis County officer has been found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the death of a 12-year-old girl who was hit by his patrol car in 2019.

Officer Preston Marquart was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Akeelah Jackson, who was hit by the patrol car as she crossed a street.

Prosecutors argued during a trial on Tuesday that Marquart was driving nearly twice the 30 mph speed limit and did not activate his siren or emergency lights while pursuing a vehicle without license plates.

Circuit Judge Scott Millikan ruled Friday that Marquart's vehicle accelerated “a matter of seconds” and a short distance before the girl was hit. Millikan said Marquart was relying on his training when he decided not to activate the emergency sirens and lights, KSDK-TV reported. He said Marquardt's actions that day did not constitute criminal negligence.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner’s office said in a statement it was disappointed with the judge's decision and "will continue to hold all individuals accountable regardless of their occupation and station in life.”

Marquart's attorney, Joe Hogan said the verdict was based on facts and evidence while the prosecution "was based upon the politics of prosecuting police officers.”