A New York judge on Wednesday dismissed all charges against a Vermont lawmaker involved in a chaotic sidewalk brawl that ended when he was shot multiple times by police.
Judge James A. Murphy said many factors played into his decision, including the prosecution’s “failure to properly instruct the grand jury on the law” as well as inappropriate speculation by witnesses.
Vito Caselnova, who was a sheriff’s deputy in Rutland County, Vermont, was involved in the November 2022 nighttime melee with three men from Utica, New York, in historic downtown Saratoga Springs.
CONVICTED KILLER DANELO CAVALCANTE CAPTURED IN PENNSYLVANIA NEARLY 2 WEEKS AFTER PRISON ESCAPE
Prosecutors said Caselnova and another man shot each other simultaneously, while defense attorneys said the Utica man fired first.
The officers responded and shot Caselnova. A bullet fired by the police also grazed his girlfriend’s arm.
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Caselnova was charged in March with attempted murder and possession of a firearm in a “sensitive location.” He pleaded not guilty.
After Wednesday’s dismissal, Saratoga County Prosecutor Karen Heggen will still be able to present the case to a new grand jury, Murphy wrote.
There was no immediate response to emails sent to Heggen and Caselnova’s attorney, Gregory Teresi, seeking comment.