Murder charge dropped in alleged self-defense road rage slaying of Wallkill grandfather

Horrace Duke left court in handcuffs and shackles Thursday, but his case appears to have taken a huge turn in his favor. 
The 22-year-old Middletown man is no longer facing a murder charge in the fatal stabbing of town of Wallkill grandfather 74-year-old Joel Laddy during an alleged self-defense road rage attack in October. 
Instead, Duke was arraigned on manslaughter and a weapon charge. He pleaded not guilty after a grand jury reviewed the case. 
Duke had several family and friends in court. His attorney, Michael Sussman, spoke to News 12 after the arraignment. 
“Our understanding is that Mr. Laddy unfortunately behaved in an aggressive manner both previously and at the scene,” said Sussman. “Mr. Duke, who did have a knife for self-protection, utilized it - stabbing him once and killing him.” 
Sussman says the district attorney’s office presented new evidence revealing that multiple witnesses stated that the victim initiated the deadly altercation in the town of Wallkill after the two were involved in a car accident on Route 17 on Oct. 20.
District Attorney Dave Hoovler issued a statement saying, “Violence is never the solution to petty disputes or arguments. Justice demands that those who engage in dangerous and deadly behavior face consequences for their actions.” 
Laddy leaves behind two adult children, 18 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was well-known locally as a family man and retired truck driver. 
If convicted, Duke could face up to 25 years in prison. 
Laddy's death is the first of two fatal stabbing incidents and arrests in Wallkill in days. 
On Sunday, 52-year-old Jeffrey Harris was allegedly killed by 23-year-old Troy Stansberry in a separate incident at the victim’s home. Bail was set for Horace Duke for the first time since his arrest. He was remanded to Orange County Jail on $100,000 cash bail, $500,000 bond or $750,000 partially secured bond.