A New York judge on Wednesday dismissed all charges against a Vermont lawmaker who was involved in a disorderly brawl on a sidewalk that ended with him being shot multiple times by police.
Judge James A. Murphy said a number of factors influenced the verdict, including the prosecution’s “failure to adequately instruct the grand jury on the law” and improper speculation by witnesses.
Vito Caselnova, a former Rutland County, Vermont, sheriff’s deputy, was involved in a late-night brawl with three men from Utica, New York, in the historic center of Saratoga Springs in November 2022.
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Prosecutors argued that Casernova and another man fired their guns at the same time, while the defense argued that the Utica man fired first.
Officers returned fire and shot and killed Kasernova. A bullet fired by the police also grazed his girlfriend’s arm.
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Caselnova was indicted in March on charges including attempted murder and possession of a firearm in a “sensitive area.” He maintained his innocence.
Even after Wednesday’s dismissal, Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen can still present the case to a new grand jury, Murphy wrote.
Gregory Teresi, a lawyer for Mr. Hagen and Ms. Kasernova, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.