A former Schenectady man convicted in 2006 of repeatedly raping a minor lost his appeal and is to remain behind bars for at least 40 more years.
The Appellate Division of state Supreme Court denied Latchman Balram’s appeal on Thursday. Balram, 32, had sought to overturn his convictions in Schenectady County Court of the crimes of first-degree sodomy, sexual conduct against a child, rape, unlawful imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a child.
He claimed police illegally obtained written statements from him because he was under the influence of powerful pain-killing drugs. Balram told police he had sex with the girl, saying he loved and wanted to marry her.
Police interviewed Balram in the hospital as he recovered from shooting himself in the face. He tried to kill himself after his former wife and the minor escaped from his house where he was holding them hostage.
The appellate division ruled Balram was fully alert and cooperative when he wrote statements to the police. A nurse and an aide were present with detectives during the 40-minute interview and reported Balram needed no assistance to write and that he made eye contact with police at all times. Balram also initialed a document explaining his rights and agreeing to talk with detectives.
Before he was charged, Balram had locked the minor and his wife in his home, destroyed all telephones and threatened to kill everyone present. When they escaped, he shot himself in the face, blowing off his lower jaw.
The jury deliberated for about 14 hours before reaching a verdict against him. Balram was sentenced to 45 years in state prison, less than the maximum of 50 years. Authorities said he abused the girl between 2002 and 2005, starting when she was 11 years old.
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