Jury selection continues in Mallo trial

Francis Brent Mallo
Francis Brent Mallo

REED CITY  — Jury selection will continue Tuesday in Osceola County's 49th Circuit Court for the trial of Francis Brent Mallo.

Mallo, of Loudon, Tenn., formerly of Evart, is charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct stemming from incidents that allegedly took place in the early 1990s in the Evart area when the victim was 11 and 12 years old. During this time, Mallo was a house parent at Pineview Home for children.

On Monday, jury selection began for Mallo's trial as the prosecution and defense both vetted potential jurors, working toward a final jury. But as the day went on and jurors were excused for various reasons, it became apparent to Judge Scott Hill-Kennedy that a second day of jury selection be required to meet that end goal.

"In a case so important to all involved, it's important we take our time and get this right," Hill-Kennedy said.

In the initial selection for a jury pool, 125 residents were selected to report for court. Of those, a handful were excused prior to Monday and many more were excused during the selection process.

As Monday came to a close and with the juror pool dwindling, Hill-Kennedy stressed to the remaining juror candidates the importance of serving if they were able.

"If we run out of jurors we will have to start this whole process over with a new juror pool," he said.

Jury selection will resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Osceola County's 49th Circuit Court. Once a jury is finalized, opening statements and testimony is expected to begin in the trial.

In a separate case, Mallo also is charged with three counts of first-degree CSC involving another victim.

The second set of charges involve a minor child who resided in Mallo’s former home in Evart, with the incidents allegedly taking place between April 2009 and February 2010.

That trial has not yet been scheduled.