As a court clerk read a jury’s verdict declaring Tony Cercy not guilty of first- and second-degree sexual assault, he stood motionless while supporters wept behind him.
After the clerk said the jury had reached a deadlock on a third count, Cercy returned to his seat. Judge Daniel Forgey declared a mistrial on the count of third-degree sexual assault and dismissed the jury.
The verdicts and mistrial followed an eight-day trial during which a 21-year-old woman told jurors that she woke at about 3 a.m. on June 25 to Cercy performing oral sex on her. She had earlier passed out on the couch of his Alcova lake home after a long day of drinking.
Cercy, 55, testified he was asleep at the time the assault was alleged to have occurred, and when he woke in the morning, she had left.
Cercy remains free on bond.
When the verdicts were read, defense attorney Jeff Pagliuca nearly cracked a smile, contrasting the stern facial expression he had worn through much of the trial.
Upon District Attorney Mike Blonigen’s request, prosecutors will have 15 days to decide whether to attempt another trial on the unresolved charge.
Blonigen will consult with the alleged victim before he makes a decision on how to proceed with the final count, he said after leaving the courtroom. The prosecutor declined further comment pending resolution of the charge.
Pagliuca and fellow defense attorney Pamela Mackey both declined to comment following the conclusion of the hearing. Cercy is also represented by local attorney Ian Sandefer.
Sandefer was not available for comment Thursday afternoon.
Cercy could not be reached at a phone number listed in court records.
During the 12 hours of jury deliberations, which spanned two days, jurors had been seen only briefly. Thursday, jurors submitted a question to the court regarding instructions on the third-degree count. The question was not read in open court and Forgey reiterated previous instructions to the jurors.
A second note from the jury came to the court around noon. It was likewise not read to the court and instead presented to attorneys. After a bench conference, Forgey announced the jury would likely return with a verdict. He then warned the audience against “any outburst” a verdict might prompt.
When the jury returned, Forgey instructed the presiding juror to review the verdict form with her peers before returning.
The jury returned and passed the completed verdict form to Forgey, who passed it on to be read.
The alleged victim was not present at the reading of the verdict. In previous days she had sat in the second row of the courtroom. The foremost row of audience seating was closed to observers.
During the trial, held in Natrona County District Court, the prosecution presented evidence showing the woman had attempted to contact people more than 40 times in the hour following the alleged assault, and that earlier that night, Cercy had yelled “hottie” at her while she slept on his couch.
Cercy’s lawyers disputed the phone records presented by the prosecution, insinuating the program used to produce the records was flawed. The defense team also sought to show that his dogs would have barked and woken others in the home if the assault had taken place. They suggested the woman made up the allegations following a fight with her then-boyfriend.
Cercy was arrested in July. He is known for investing widely in Casper’s downtown after selling his manufacturing company, Power Service Inc., in April 2016.