Arson Charge Against Hudson Valley Man With Autism to be Dropped
Arson charges against a Hudson Valley man with special needs will be dropped.
On Thursday, Dutchess County District Attorney William Grady announced his office will move to dismiss arson charges against Vincent Carozza, in the interest of justice.
According to the indictment, Carozza attempted to start a fire and cause damage to a building knowing that other people were present while a resident at the Taconic Developmental Services in Amenia in October 2018.
Fox reports, Carozza told police he set a cookbook on fire and put a battery and fork in the microwave and turned it on to burn the place down.
After he was arraigned, at the request of his attorney, Carozza, who has autism, was found incompetent to stand trial and he remains confined at Sunmount, a state facility for people with Developmental Disabilities, officials say.
“During the pendency of this case I have both personally met with and later spoken to Mr. Carozza’s father to better understand his son’s needs and to explain how the criminal process works," Grady said. "In an effort to facilitate the competency process and an eventual disposition of the criminal case coupled with mental health programing, I requested and recommended placing Mr. Carozza in an 'outpatient status' under a rarely used section of the Criminal Procedure Law so that he could continue to receive the necessary 'competency' treatment at or near home with his family support system. This would then provide the beneficial environment consistent with our efforts to resolve this case. Unfortunately, I have today been notified by Deborah Chard-Wierschem, Director of the Bureau of Intensive Treatment Services for the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), that after a clinical review, my request and recommendation has been denied. Although Dr. Chard-Wierschem would not discuss the case any further, it was clear that Ms. Chard-Wierschem felt that Sunmount was better equipped to deal with Mr. Carozza’s developmental disability issues. In light of this decision and all of the other facts and circumstances surrounding this case, we feel that the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities is the appropriate agency to address Mr. Carozza’s unique needs."
According to Grady, a dismissal in the interest of justice will allow OPWDD to determine what treatment or services are best for Carozza.
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