Man charged in 1999 Tremont rape case pleads not guilty

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The Cuyahoga County Common Pleas court says that a man who is charged in the 1999 Tremont rape cold case has plead not guilty in court today.

According to prosecutors, on May 6, 1999, a woman returned home from a walk in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood when the suspect surprised her inside and knocked her unconscious.

Prosecutors say he sexually assaulted her and fled the scene.

The woman called the police and was transported to the hospital where a sexual assault kit was collected but wasn’t tested until 2013, then again in 2020.

A DNA profile from the rape kit linked Bart Mercurio, 50, to the case and he was arrested on July 9, 2021 at this home in Elyria.

He was charged with rape, kidnapping and aggravated burglary.

Mercurio’s bond was set at $50,000 under the conditions that he has no contact with the victim and that he stays in Cuyahoga and Lorain Counties only.

The first pretrial is set for Thursday.

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