DA: No bail for man with autism because of 'danger'

The family of a man who has autism says the charges against their loved one are too harsh. But the Dutchess County District Attorney's Office feels the man is a threat to himself and the public.

"Vinny's a special kid," said Joseph Carozza, who beams when he talks about his 25-year-old son.

Vinny lived at home with his family until he was 16. But then, the family suffered a devastating loss.

"His mom had a brain aneurysm and she suddenly died," Carozza said. "I had four kids at the time. It was just hard for me to take care of everybody."

Since then, Vinny has been living at a few group homes.

But in October, according to court papers, while living at a home in Amenia in Dutchess County, Vinny admitted to the state police he set a cookbook on fire, put a battery and fork in the microwave and turned it on, and said he wanted to burn the house down and kill another resident.

Police arrested and charged Vinny with arson.

"You put your kids in a group home, you hope they're safe and they're being watched," Carozza said.

Vinny was supposed to have 24-hour supervision. He went to Sunmount, a state institution for the developmentally disabled, was evaluated, and eventually released to his father, who took care of him for months.

"He always does well at home," Carozza said. "He loves family."

Joe and Vinny went to court on Monday for what they thought was going to be an appearance. Instead, Vinny was arrested and taken back to jail.

"Sunmount released him and they weren't supposed to release him or they released him early," Carozza said. "And that's why they put him back in jail. It's very confusing."

The Duchess County District Attorney's Office released a statement to FOX 5 NY.

"In this circumstance there are few alternatives to bail. In this case, the defendant has a mental condition and presents a danger to himself and others, and as a result jail is the only available alternative at this time while he awaits placement in a mental health facility," the DA's office said.

"We need to be compassionate and have heart for not only my son but other people on the spectrum, autism, special needs," Carozza said.