A man is on trial for shooting dead a wanted child rapist who wandered onto his property and later admitted to having sex with a 14-year-old girl.
David Carlson, 46, killed Norris Acosta-Sanchez, 35, in Orange County, New York, on October 11, 2013.
The 46-year-old spotted Acosta-Sanchez on his property while fishing, and the 35-year-old first introduced himself as ‘Daniel Costa’, claiming he was the ‘care-taker’ of an empty cabin on the neighboring property.
However, about a month later Acosta-Sanchez confessed he was not who he had claimed, as the two men sat around a campfire drinking beer and chatting.
Acosta-Sanchez, who was wanted in the nearby town of Ramapo after being accused of sleeping with a 14-year-old girl, allegedly confessed to his crime.
Over the next few days, Carlson and his wife, Sarah, hatched two plans to try to help police catch Acosta-Sanchez, the New York Post reports.
On one occasion, they told an officer about the situation and said they would deliberately speed down a stretch of road with the accused rapist in the car.
When they were pulled over, police would have their man but the plan failed.
They tried a similar plot a second time, and this time they were pulled over. Acosta-Sanchez, who was in the car at the time, gave police a fake name and was driven back to the cabin where he was staying. But the moment the police car pulled in, he pushed his way out of the back-seat – where he had not been handcuffed – and escaped into the woods.
The third time also failed to be the charm, despite police obtaining a ‘no knock warrant’, according to the Post.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office sent 23 of its most highly trained officers, including two snipers and a dog squad, to the property to make an arrest. Again Acosta-Sanchez escaped.
But despite his multiple run-ins and near misses, the 35-year-old still trusted Carlson, so much so that he returned to the property on the morning of October 11.
Carlson met him at the backdoor of his home, armed with a shotgun. He then told Acosta-Sanchez he was turning him in, and proceeded to march him to a nearby neighbor’s home and call the police.
However, on the way, Carlson says the 35-year-old charged at him and he was forced to open fire. The first shot hit him in the arm, Carlson told police, according to the New York Post.
When Acosta-Sanchez lunged at him a second time, the 46-year-old pulled the trigger for a second time, with the shot this time hitting his target in the head.
The 35-year-old died instantly after the shotgun pellet severed his brain stem.
Carlson, who was charged with murder and manslaughter, watched on in court on Friday as a forensic pathologist testified Friday in Orange County Court.
Dr. Margaret Prial told the court the second shot was ‘immediately fatal, because the pellets went through his ear, through his skull, through the left side of his brain, through the brain stem’, the Times Herald-Record reports.
The trial, which will head into its seventh day on Monday, has divided the opinions of locals.
Some claim Carlson did the right thing, and there is even a ‘Free David Carlson’ page on Facebook.
A neighbor told the New York Post that it was the police to blame for the deadly shooting.
‘He did everything he possibly could to work with the police to get this man apprehended. The police obviously blew it,’ Dean Fippinger told the newspaper.
Carlson also spoke to the Post, saying the trial has left him, ‘physically and mentally exhausted’.
If found guilty, he could be sentenced to 20 years in jail.
The trial is expected to go to jury in the coming weeks.