Bart Mercurio

Bart Mercurio was arrested on July 9, 2021, as the lead suspect in a May 6, 1999 home-invasion rape in Cleveland, Ohio.

A 33-year-old woman was attacked by the assailant upon her return home from a walk in the city’s Tremont neighborhood. The assailant was waiting for her inside her home. She was violently sexually assaulted, losing consciousness after receiving several blows to her head.

A DNA profile of the suspect was obtained in 2013 from a Sexual Assault Kit she had performed at the hospital – it had not previously been submitted for testing. This DNA profile generated no hits in CODIS.

The FIGG investigation was conducted by Barbara Rae-Venter and Firebird Forensics. This is one of about 20 cases that Rae-Venter and Firebird Forensics is investigating on behalf of Cuyahoga County, known as the G.O.L.D. (Genetic Operations Linking DNA) Unit. The funding for this pilot project came from a Department of Justice grant in October of 2020. A John Doe warrant had been issued in this case, in order to prevent the lapse of charges through the statute of limitations. The initial confirmation was made through the surreptitious sampling of plastic drinking bottles that Mercurio had discarded.

The testing of this DNA sample in 2013 was a result of a project to clear a backlog of about 10,000 untested SAKs in Ohio. Of those, about 8,700 investigations have been completed, and over 800 suspects arrested. There were about 176 cases in which CODIS did not produce a hit to an individual already in the CODIS database because of previous felony charges.

Mercurio is now facing charges of rape, kidnapping, and aggravated burglary in Cuyahoga County. On July 12, 2022, Mercurio pled not guilty during his arraignment and was released on a $50,000 bond.

In early January 2023, just before his trial was about to begin, Mercurio pled guilty to rape, burglary, and abduction in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.


Chronicle-Telegram. “Elyria Man Pleads Guilty in 1999 Cleveland Rape Case.” Chronicle-Telegram, January 15, 2023. Accessed May 7, 2023.

Cuyahoga County Office of the Prosecutor. “G.O.L.D. Unit Utilizes Genealogical Testing to Identify Rapist in Decades-Old Case.” Cuyahoga County, July 12, 2021. Accessed July 12, 2021.

Fink, Jenni. “Man Arrested After DNA Links Him to 20-Year-Old Rape Case.” Newsweek, July 12, 2021. Accessed July 12, 2021.

News 5 Cleveland. “Genealogical Testing Helps Prosecutors Identify and Arrest Suspect in 1999 Tremont Rape Case.” News 5 Cleveland, July 12, 2021. Accessed January 15, 2023.

Shaffer, Cory. “How Burgeoning Genealogical DNA Science is Helping Cuyahoga County Prosecutors Solve Cleveland-Area Rape and Homicide Cases One Thought Unsolvable.”, July 10, 2021. Last Modified July 11, 2021. Accessed July 12, 2021.

Staff Report. “Elyria Man Identified by DNA Testing as Rape Suspect.” Morning Journal, July 12, 2021. Accessed July 12, 2021.


First Name Bart
Last Name Mercurio
Other Names
Victims 1 (Details)
IGG Started 2020-10-00
Case Cleared 2021-07-09
IGG Org Barbara Rae-Venter; Firebird


Case ID Name Age Case Opened Location Investigating Org Most Serious Charge Disposition Court
1502 n/a Jane Doe nd 1999-05-06 Cleveland, OH Ohio BCI All sexual offenses, including rape, sexual assault, and child molestation Guilty plea entered by defendant Cuyahoga CT COM PL

Last updated: February 13, 2024

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Case data and narrative licensed under CC BY 4.0: Dowdeswell, Tracey (2023), “Forensic Genetic Genealogy Project v. 2022”, Mendeley Data, V1, doi: 10.17632/jcycgvhm96.1. All other content, including photos, have been added.