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Indictment Dismissed Against Orange County Man In Fugitive's Death

GOSHEN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A judge Thursday dismissed an indictment against an Orange County man accused of killing a fugitive rape suspect as he walked him at gunpoint down a wooded road.

David Carlson was accused of firing his shotgun twice at Norris Acosta-Sanchez in October 2013 as they walked along the road in Sparrowbush where Carlson lives with his wife and three sons near the Pennsylvania border. Carlson claims he was escorting Acosta-Sanchez at gunpoint so a neighbor could call police and that the fugitive lunged at him before the shooting.

Orange County Court Judge Robert Freehill said the grand jury never heard Carlson's contention that Acosta-Sanchez lunged at him. The judge also cited an officer's grand jury testimony that Acosta-Sanchez never made an aggressive move at Carlson.

"The failure to provide the grand jury with an accurate version of defendant's statements undermined the integrity of the presentation," Freehill wrote in dismissing the murder and manslaughter indictment.

Acosta-Sanchez had been charged in neighboring Rockland County with statutory rape of a teenage girl. He had been staying at a summer cabin by the Carlson's home and befriended the family.

Carlson had tried to help police capture the fugitive that week and Carslon's lawyer has said Acosta-Sanchez showed up agitated at Carlson's home on the day of the shooting. Neighbors and other supporters of Carlson say he acted in self-defense.

The Westchester County District Attorney's office, which is acting as special prosecutor, has 30 days to decide whether to appeal or to present the case to another grand jury. A spokesman said they are exploring their options.

Carlson's lawyer, Benjamin Ostrer, said his client is cautiously optimistic, but realizes the case could continue.

"It's been a tremendous drain emotionally on his family," Ostrer said, "and it's not over."

Carlson's neighbors told CBS2's Lou Young in October 2013 that everyone in the area was on edge after a police manhunt for Acosta-Sanchez failed.

"This case is about somebody who was left to his own devices, sadly," Ostrer said then. "There was a huge police presence in his community on Thursday afternoon, and none on Friday. He was literally left to himself."

"I can tell you the community was in fear," Carmine Ferrera, who witnessed the shooting, said. "I can tell you Dave wasn't the only one who armed himself."

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