Attempted murder case against Vt. ex-deputy dismissed due to issues with case presentation

The suspect, who was an off-duty deputy at the time, had gotten into a fight with a group of men and refused responding officers' orders to drop his gun

The Saratogian

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Acting Supreme Court Judge James Murphy III dismissed the case Wednesday against the off-duty Vermont deputy accused of a shooting last year in the Spa City.

In the early morning hours of Nov. 20th, a verbal altercation between a man, later identified as Vito E. Caselnova, 25, of Glens Falls, and a group of individuals from Utica, turned into a physical altercation. According to reports, the altercation led to shots being exchanged between Caselnova and one of the other individuals. A the time of the incident, Caselnova was an off-duty Vermont Deputy Sherriff.

Saratoga Springs police officers quickly responded, leading to an altercation with Caselnova, which led to shots being fired.

In all, 11 shots were fired by Saratoga Springs police officers. Caselnova reportedly had 10 wounds to his person. The total series of events resulted in Caselnova and his girlfriend — later identified as Cali Brown of Glens Falls — as well as another man involved in the initial altercation, being transported to Albany Medical Center for their injuries.

In March 2023, an eight-count sealed indictment charged Caselnova with felony second-degree attempted murder, felony first-degree assault, misdemeanor second-degree menacing, misdemeanor second-degree reckless endangerment, felony possession of a firearm in a sensitive location, two counts of felony possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device, and second-degree harassment.

Caselnova pleaded not guilty at the arraignment.

"Even though the Court's decision dismissed the indictment against Vito Caselnova, the Court has given our office leave to re-present the same case regarding Mr. Caselnova to a new grand jury. The Court's decision raised issues with the way the case was presented — it does not absolve Mr. Caselnova of any wrongdoing. We will take our time to thoroughly review the court's concerns and will move forward with the case," Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim, who was involved in a separate court case with the district attorney's office related to a gag order on the shooting incident, issued a statement Wednesday criticizing Heggen.

"I have been disappointed in the District Attorney's performance in this case since the shooting occurred on November 20, 202," Kim said. "Instead of focusing on the apprehension and prosecution of the perpetrators, the DA focused her attention on trying to block me from speaking to Saratogians and visitors about this dangerous situation.

"Obviously, her erratic and ultimately unsuccessful attempts to gag me, which was roundly rejected by a Judge, kept her from competently performing her core duty — prosecuting Vito Caselnova. I hope she takes the just criticism of the Judge seriously, stops misstating facts, and focuses on bringing the individuals who were involved in this shooting to justice."


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