Mallo found not guilty on one count, mistrial declared on other

REED CITY  — Hours ticked by, jurors deliberated and with a third trial finished for Francis Brent Mallo, his future remains uncertain.

Mallo, who was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, will return to his home in Tennessee to await yet another trial in Michigan.

After starting deliberations Thursday, jurors returned to Osceola County's 49th Circuit Court to resume discussions Friday morning.

On Friday afternoon — after various questions to Judge Ron Nichols, a lunch break and indications they could not move forward — the jury returned to the courtroom of the Osceola County 49th Circuit Court one last time to declare they were deadlocked on one count.

When asked to read the verdict form, the foreman announced that while the jury had found Mallo not guilty on count two, they could not reach a unanimous decision on the first count.

Nichols then declared a hung jury, or mistrial, on the remaining count and dismissed the jurors. In light of the dismissal of one charge because of the not-guilty verdict, Mallo's attorney Lisa Kirsch Satawa asked the judge to reduce Mallo's bond to a personal recognizance bond. Nichols granted her request.

Kirsch Satawa said she is grateful for the time jurors took to contemplate all the evidence, but said it was concerning they were unable to reach a verdict on an identical count.

"With each trial and the more evidence presented, the closer we come to the truth, which the jury realized, especially in regards to the not-guilty verdict on count two," she said. "Mr. Mallo continues to deny any misconduct or inappropriate interaction with this complainant or anyone else."

Mallo's accuser in this case is a girl sent to live at a home in Evart the Mallo family ran for troubled girls. The girl claimed Mallo had sexually assaulted her in her bedroom on multiple occasions between 2009 and 2010.

Mallo was previously charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving another woman. That victim claimed Mallo sexually assaulted her multiple times in the 1990s when she worked as a babysitter for Mallo’s children.

Mallo was tried on those charges in December, with the trial also ending in a mistrial. The case was re-tried, and in June, Mallo was acquitted of those charges.

With Mallo still charged with one count of criminal sexual conduct, Osceola County Prosecutor Tyler Thompson has no intention of dropping the case.

"We will move forward with the remaining count," Thompson said. "We continue to seek justice for the victims of Osceola County."