perez300.jpg Submitted by Nadine Maeser on Mon, 07/26/2010 - 2:07pm.

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A New Hanover County jury found a former Wilmington Police officer not guilty of assault on a female. The judge declared a mistrial on a charge of sexual battery after the jury could not come to a verdict. Jurors were split 11-1 on the chare against Wotzvely Perez. A convenience store clerk accused the policeman of coming to her apartment, making sexual advances and refusing to take no for an answer. But no was the answer on at least one charge from the jury. "The world is not perfect, and sometimes it's hard to find justice where justice is deserved," juror Allison Burroughs said. Perez was charged with assault on a female and sexual battery. All 12 jurors found Perez not guilty on the assault charge, but Judge Arnold Jones declared a mistrial on the sexual battery charge. "I was wondering if we couldn't reach a unanimous decision what happens then, and that's definitely what it came down to," Burroughs said. "Sometimes tempers flare because of emotion." After nearly six hours of deliberation, Burroughs said the deliberation room was heated. "They were doing things that I felt the judge had ordered us not to do, which was to draw our own conclusions based on opinions and feelings and sentiments and not so much what the evidence was," Burroughs said. In the end the jury was deadlocked because of a lone hold-out juror. The victim of the alleged assaults sat quietly in the courtroom as Perez walked out of the courtroom a free man. "I have nothing but sympathy for her at this point, and I wish that we would have been able to handle this today so she doesn't have to go through that again," Burroughs said. "But for her I think the best thing is to stay strong and keep fighting." District Attorney Ben David said no decision has been made whether to retry the case with a new jury. If the victim and the District Attorney's office decide to retry the sexual battery charge, the case will start from square one.

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