Attorney for Wallkill fatal stabbing suspect claims self-defense

Horrace Duke, 22, is charged with Laddy’s death and is accused of stabbing the Wallkill senior citizen in the chest with a steak knife on an off ramp for Route 17.

Blaise Gomez

Oct 24, 2022, 9:06 PM

Updated 583 days ago

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Joel Laddy, 74, was a beloved father and grandfather with a huge family in the Wallkill area of Orange County. His daughter told News 12 last week that her dad was a family man and the last of a “dying breed” after he was killed Thursday during an alleged road rage incident in town. 
Horrace Duke, 22, is charged with Laddy’s death and is accused of stabbing the Wallkill senior citizen in the chest with a steak knife on an off-ramp for Route 17. 
High-profile attorney Michael Sussman is representing Duke and says the case is more complicated than it seems.
“It’s a great tragedy and that should be foremost in our mind for everyone involved," said Sussman. “I don’t want one side to come out, and that’s really why I reached out to you.” 
Sussman says Duke, who is from Middletown, had his pregnant fiancée and 3-year-old son in the car when they were allegedly sideswiped by Laddy on Route 17. 
He says Duke claims Laddy never stopped and that his client followed him to the off-ramp in Wallkill for his license plate number with 911 on the line when the victim allegedly tried to attack Duke. 
"That’s going to be the issue in the case. The issue in the case is what is the level of threat posed by the other man much bigger than him and coming aggressively," says Sussman.
Authorities have not said that Duke may have been acting in self-defense but said they were called to a “fight in progress” when they found both men nearby separately in their own cars. 
Duke’s defense will be heard next Wednesday when a grand jury is expected to review the case.
Duke remains in Orange County Jail without bail. 
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to News 12's request for more information.  
Wallkill police had no comment. 


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