Jury begins deliberating at trial of suspect in Bellaire officer's 2016 death

HOUSTON – A jury began deliberating Thursday at the trial of a man charged in the death of a Bellaire police officer two years ago.

Dante Moore, 30, is accused of leading Officer Marco Zarate on a chase in July 2016 that resulted in Zarate's death.

Zarate attempted to pull over Moore and his twin brother after receiving a report of a shoplifting incident at the Target store in Meyerland Plaza, officials said.

Authorities said during the pursuit, Zarate, who was on a police motorcycle, lost control and crashed into a parked landscaping trailer.

Bellaire PD Officer Marco Zarate
Bellaire PD Officer Marco Zarate

"(Moore) stated that he was traveling at speeds close to 80 mph through the residential neighborhood," a prosecutor said in 2016.

Zarate later died at a hospital.

Moore, who was originally charged with murder, is on trial for the charge of evading arrest causing death.

In closing arguments, defense attorneys argued while Moore may have fled from police he did not cause Zarate’s death.

“If he caused him to die, we would be here on a murder charge,” said attorney Danny Easterling.

Attorneys for Moore argued that Zarate was speeding while chasing Moore, going up to 80 mph on his motorcycle through the neighborhood and that he hit a dip in the road before losing control and crashing into the trailer.

Bellaire police said investigators determined Zarate was traveling no faster than 58 mph.

“A dip in the road. Speed. They are blaming him for dying for simply doing his job," Assistant Harris County District Attorney Sean Teare said. "You’ve seen the cell phone footage, the surveillance footage and the body camera footage."

Prosecutors also said Moore admitted to being the driver of the car Zarate was chasing and that his actions led to the officer's death.

Editor's note: The wording of the charge Moore is facing has been corrected.

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