Home News State attorney’s office declines to charge man who fatally shot neighbor

State attorney’s office declines to charge man who fatally shot neighbor

State attorney’s office declines to charge man who fatally shot neighbor

STUART — A man who fatally shot his neighbor who sprayed him in the face with insect spray acted in self-defense and will not face criminal charges, the State Attorney’s Office recently decided.

State prosecutors declined to file charges against Michael Roberts, 63, who shot and killed his neighbor Andrew Karacsonyi, 65, in front of his Stuart home in January.

Roberts said he shot Karacsonyi after he was sprayed in the face with wasp spray.

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Assistant State Attorney Brian Workman wrote in court documents that based on the investigation by Stuart police, Roberts acted in self-defense.

The police investigation showed “substantial evidence” to support Roberts’ self-defense claim to support immunity from prosecution, Workman wrote.

The case has been dismissed.

What happened

Stuart police arrived in the 800 block of East 14th Street Jan. 29 and found Roberts laying face-down on the ground in his front yard with a gun in his hand.

Police found Karacsonyi shot and laying in his backyard. He told police Roberts shot him.

A helicopter airlifted Karacsonyi to the HCA Florida Lawnwood Hospital, where he died.

Roberts said he lost his vision, he felt like he was about to have a heart attack and couldn’t breathe after Karacsonyi sprayed him and his dog with a substance.

Police found a can of wasp spray in the swale in front of Karacsonyi’s house and found a kitchen knife near Roberts’ mailbox.

After a search of Karacsonyi’s house, officers found several documents detailing an ongoing feud between him and Roberts. 

Investigators found the two neighbors called police several times on each other, with allegations of racism, vandalism, threatening notes, slashing car tires and poisoning.

Roberts told police he left home Jan. 29 and saw Karacsonyi move his finger across his neck in what he thought was a threatening gesture. When Roberts returned home, he opened the door to see what the dog was barking at and saw Karacsonyi by his mailbox.

His dog ran toward Karacsonyi, who sprayed bug spray toward the dog, Roberts said in a statement.

Roberts said he ran to the street with a gun in his pocket. He carried a gun on him when he was at his house or yard, he said, because of his fear of Karacsonyi injuring or killing him and his wife.

When Karacsonyi sprayed him in the face with the wasp spray, Roberts said he believed the spray was a deadly poison. It was later determined to be a minor irritant.

Roberts said Karacsonyi stood over him and said “I’ve got you now (expletive).”

Karacsonyi’s words caused Roberts to believe he was going to be killed, he told police. 

Roberts then drew his gun and shot Karacsonyi once.

Prosecution’s reasoning

Workman concluded Roberts reasonably believed Karacsonyi to be a violent and dangerous person. 

If the appearance of danger was enough for a reasonably cautious and prudent person to believe the only way to avoid it was to use deadly force, the use of such force is justified and there is no duty to retreat, Workman wrote. 

“Roberts’ defense would involve very thorough development of everything Karacsonyi has ever said or done that has been threatening or otherwise shows him to have been dangerous,” Workman noted. “Roberts has already alleged he is aware of considerable prior bad acts by Karacsonyi and that his knowledge contributed to his mental state at the time of the killing.”

Based on his neighbor’s “prior bad acts,” Roberts could make a case that Karacsonyi appeared to be an “unstable and dangerous person.”

No cameras or witnesses caught what happened during the shooting, Workman wrote. 

When the state’s evidence is insufficient to rebut a person’s claim of self defense, there must be an acquittal, Workman wrote.

Polarizing figure

Karacsonyi’s brother Alec Karacsonyi said Andrew was a polarizing figure, but after his death he learned about a new side of him and how he helped serve the community.

Alec said his brother would go to a local church to work in the food pantry kitchen and hand out food.

“He never told me that. He never told me that he helped the church,” he said.

Guy Calvert, the pastor of Jensen Beach Christian Church said Andrew Karacsonyi helped with food drives and became like family.

“… you either really liked Andy or you really disliked Andy … Us at this church, we liked him,’ Calvert said. “We liked him a lot.”


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