(SAN FRANCISCO) — A judge in California dismissed charges Tuesday against a doctor accused of trying to kill a man in a violent road rage confrontation.
James Simon, then 71, was driving home with his wife on July 17, 2014 when he reportedly cut off Bill Osenton, 70, a retired mortgage broker.
Simon claims that Osenton followed him home, pulled into his garage and threatened him. Officials said Simon got a gun from his home and shot Osenton twice in the stomach.
Osenton survived and Simon was charged with attempted voluntary manslaughter and assault with a firearm. If he had been convicted, he faced as many as 18 years behind bars.
But a Marin County Superior Court judge decided Tuesday there wasn’t enough evidence for Simon to go to trial — with Simon’s dramatic 911 call playing a role in the judge’s decision.
“I had a man follow me into my garage, and I had to shoot him, and I’m sorry. And I need some help,” Simon said during the 911 call, his voice trembling.
Osenton declined to answer questions from ABC station KGO-TV as he left court Tuesday.
“I have no comment,” Osenton said to multiple questions.
Simon was emotional following the judge’s decision. “I’m so proud to be an American. I’m proud to live in America,” he said.
“I’m sorry if I’m at a loss of words,” he said, choking up.
The district attorney can decide whether or not to re-file the charges.
ABC News Chief Legal Affairs Anchor Dan Abrams said the case presented difficulties for prosecutors.
“Being afraid isn’t enough reason under the law to use deadly force. The question is: Did Dr. Simon have a reasonable fear of bodily harm?” Abrams said.
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