Day 6 — Cercy Trial: Cell Phone Data Contradicts Defense Account Of Alleged Sex Assault
The prosecution ended its case against Casper businessman Tony Cercy on Tuesday with testimony about four images found on his cell phone the night he allegedly assaulted a young woman at his house at Alcova Lake in June.
Cercy earlier testified he was asleep at the time.
Natrona County District Attorney Mike Blonigen called a Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agent to show how even deleted photos leave traces.
Cercy is charged with one count of first-degree sexual assault (rape), one count of second-degree sexual assault (intrusion), and one count of sexual contact "without inflicting sexual intrusion and without causing serious bodily injury."
If convicted on all counts, Cercy faces between seven and 85 years of imprisonment.
The case probably will go to the jury for deliberation on Wednesday after jury instructions from Natrona County District Court Judge Daniel Forgey and closing arguments by Blonigen and one of Cercy's attorneys.
Earlier Tuesday, Blonigen called DCI agent Ryan Hieb to discuss phone calls logged on the morning of Wednesday, June 28, and downloaded from Cercy's iPhone 7.
Heib, who is assigned to investigate computer crimes and large illegal drug operations, explained how data from cell phones is downloaded and put into a reportable format.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca repeatedly objected to Blonigen's questioning, saying, for example, that Hieb didn't get independent confirmation about the calls from a phone company.
Hieb reviewed the phone calls, text messages, voicemails, their time stamps and durations starting at 9:07 a.m. June 28 among Cercy, his wife, Caryl, Cercy's friend Thad White, and the alleged victim.
Tuesday afternoon, Cercy testified on his own behalf saying he went to bed at his lake house at 2 a.m. on June 24 and woke up at 8 a.m.
He adamantly denied assaulting the then-20-year-old woman who said she woke up to Cercy sexually assaulting her about 3:15 a.m. The intoxicated woman went to sleep on a couch at the house earlier that evening, according to numerous witnesses.
During cross-examination, Blonigen asked Cercy whether he accessed his cell phone that night, to which Cercy replied he didn't know.
After Cercy's testimony, Blonigen again called Hieb to the stand, which prompted a long private conference with Forgey, Blonigen, Pagliuca and lead defense attorney Pamela Mackey. Pagliuca repeatedly object to Blonigen's line of questioning.
After the conference, Blonigen questioned Hieb about downloading data from Cercy's cell phone.
Besides phone calls, the download revealed four separate JPEG files -- "Joint Photographic Experts Group" -- often used to compress data to store photos on computers and cell phones, Hieb said.
He explained that when an image is created on a cell phone, it creates a series of records including the times they were made.
Cercy's downloaded phone data revealed four images with black content -- apparently created when the original images were deleted -- on a report Blonigen showed the court. It is unknown what the original images were.
Creations of those images had times stamps indicated they were made at 3:46 a.m. June 25, as did the data that indicated the "last access" of the images when the images apparently were deleted shortly thereafter, Hieb said.
That time occurred about the time Cercy drove the alleged victim from his house to a trailer at the Alcova Trailer Park, according to her and numerous witnesses.
Under cross-examination by Pagliuca, Hieb said he didn't know what might have caused the images to be taken.
After that, Forgey said the evidence is closed.
The trial is expected to go to the jury Wednesday in district court at the Townsend Justice Center.