First on 13: Grand juror raises questions over proceedings in Saratoga Springs shootout

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SARATOGA SPRINGS — NewsChannel 13 has learned that there is an issue related to the grand jury proceeding that resulted in indictments in the Saratoga Springs police-involved shootout case. The issue could result in all the charges being dismissed and the district attorney having to present the case to a new grand jury. 

You’ll remember that NewsChannel 13 reported last week, First on 13, that the grand jury voted to indict Vito Caselnova of Glens Falls, an off-duty Rutland County sheriff’s deputy, on a charge of attempted murder and seven other counts related to the 3 a.m. Nov. 20 shootout on Broadway. That same grand jury voted to charge the three men from Utica involved in that gunfight with one count each of misdemeanor attempted assault. 

Now this breaking new development today which could result in all the charges being dismissed against Caselnova and the three men from Utica — Alexander Colon, Christopher Castillo and Darius Wright. 

NewsChannel 13 has obtained a copy of a letter one of the grand jurors hand-delivered to the commissioner of jurors late last week, but addressed to the judge. 

In it, the juror wrote that they are “disturbed by the process” and “had a lot of trouble sleeping.”

The grand jury member said, “I feel we rushed through our decision with little thought after hearing many days of very complicated evidence.” 

The juror wrote, “The law applying to this case was very obtuse and hard to understand.” 

One of the counts against Caselnova, possession of a firearm in a sensitive location, is a new charge in New York. This is believed to be the first time it’s been charged anywhere in the state. 

The juror also claimed in his letter to the judge that they were being rushed to make a decision.

“I feel ashamed that we did not do our job properly after hearing all that testimony.” 

Grand Juror in Saratoga Springs Shootout Case

“At least twice the [assistant district attorney] spoke to us ‘off the record’ saying he wanted to finish on a specific day,” the juror wrote. “Each time he followed with ‘but don’t feel rushed.’”

The juror wrote that the pressure to reach a charging decision was made worse when “the ADA suggested coming in on a Friday to get done and the foreman objected forcefully, saying, ‘I have a job.’”

“All of this put undue pressure on us to come to a decision,” the juror wrote.

The last line of the letter from the grand juror: “I feel ashamed that we did not do our job properly after hearing all that testimony.” 

The letter didn’t include the name of the grand juror and was simply signed, “Sincerely, A juror.”

An order from the judge, contained in the court file, said the court confirmed that the letter was delivered by a member of the grand jury. 

So what happens now? NewsChannel 13 reached out to Saratoga County Court Judge Jim Murphy’s chambers. We were told the judge will be seeking motions from the prosecutors and the defense attorneys to be filed within seven days, and then schedule oral arguments.