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Orange County Man Sentenced In 2013 Vigilante Killing Of Rape Suspect

GOSHEN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- An Orange County man has been sentenced in the vigilante killing of a fugitive rape suspect in 2013.

Arriving at court Tuesday, David Carlson seemed an unlikely vigilante. The union carpenter stood convicted of manslaughter in the 2013 shotgun killing of fugitive Norris Acosta-Sanchez near his remote Orange County home.

Family and neighbors tried to cope with the idea that he'll soon be heading off to prison.

"He was definitely remorseful," co-worker Jeff Mallett said. "He's a stand-up guy; he'd do anything for you."

In court, still images showed the victim's mother -- who flew in from Spain -- delivering an impact statement. She said her life has become "a permanent internal cry."

Her son, wanted for statutory rape, eluded police twice in the woods near Carlson's home. It was a manhunt that left Carlson and his neighbors rattled.

"We were really frightened staying there that night because the guy's on the loose," neighbor Amy Mann said. "Police lost him."

Acosta was unarmed, but reappeared after police left. Carlson held him at gunpoint and says he fired when Acosta turned on him.

In court, his mother called the way it ended "cruel, vile, and absurd," and of Carlson she wondered, "did he want to be a hero?"

For his part, Carlson said he was panicked when it happened.

"If I could go back in time, I'd go back to October 11, 2013 and do something different," he told the judge. "I took a life and I'm not here to make excuses."

As CBS2's Lou Young reports, Carlson could have gotten as much as 25-years for first degree manslaughter, but the judge gave him five, the mandatory minimum.

It was a sentence that satisfied no one.

"Some small solace," his brother Eric said, "but I'm losing my brother for I don't know how long."

"David is a very sensitive, community-minded individual," defense attorney Ben Osterer said. "This is a sad, tragic event. I believe in David; I believe he's a good man."

Acosta's mother left without comment.

Carlson's attorneys filed an appeal and say they'll try to get him out on bail until it's heard. Since the shooting in 2013, he's gotten consistent financial support from neighbors and family.


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