REED CITY — About 24 hours after jury deliberations began, jurors found Francis Brent Mallo not guilty on three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct on Tuesday.

Mallo, of Loudon, Tenn., formerly of Evart, was accused of a sexually assaulting a girl in the early 1990s when she was 11 and 12 years old. The victim served as a babysitter for Mallo’s children. She claimed the assaults occurred at multiple locations in the city of Evart.

Mallo was previously tried on these CSC charges in December, but Osceola County 49th Circuit Judge Scott Hill-Kennedy declared a mistrial when the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict.

Deliberations resumed at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday after jurors failed to come to a decision on Monday. Following lunch, the jurors chose to review the recording of the victim's testimony. After additional deliberation, jurors addressed the court at about 5 p.m., claiming they were a deadlocked jury. However, Judge Michael Matuzak instructed them to deliberate for another hour, encouraging the group to approach the trial at a fresh angle.

At 6 p.m., jurors asked Matuzak for an additional 10 to 20 minutes, which he allowed. At about 6:30 p.m., jurors delivered their unanimous verdict of not guilty for all three counts.

Mallo's attorneys said the news was a relief.

"We're grateful to the jury for listening carefully," said Samuels. "After 22 years, that's a hard case. I though the prosecutors acted like true professionals."

Kirsch Satawa agreed.

"On behalf of Brent Mallo and his family, we are ecstatic that the jury took the time necessary to come to the fair and correct verdict," she said. "It's been a very long time and an innocent man can now walk out of the courthouse."

Friends and family of Mallo expressed joy and relief at the verdict, shedding tears and hugging him after the trial adjourned.

"I am appreciative that after a long time the truth prevailed and the jury came to the correct conclusion that I am not guilty," Mallo said.

Osceola County Prosecutor Tyler Thompson reflected Samuel's attitude toward the jury, saying he is thankful for the jurors' service.

Following the verdict reading, Kirsch Satawa addressed Matuzak, asking the judge to allow Mallo to leave the state to travel to Tennessee with his family. Matuzak believed the request was not unreasonable, but asked her to request the order to Hill-Kennedy.

Mallo still faces a separate criminal sexual conduct case pending a pre-trial scheduled for Friday, June 5. No trial date has been set. He still faces a $300,000 bond provision connected to the second case.