Schenectady County

Suspect maintains he was coerced to join home invasion

One of two suspects in a violent January home invasion on Guilderland Avenue told police that day th

One of two suspects in a violent January home invasion on Guilderland Avenue told police that day that he participated only after being threatened by the other suspect, according to testimony at a Tuesday court hearing.

James Tedeschi, 26, of Chiswell Road, also during questioning denied stabbing anyone, attempting to push back an account given by a city police detective that he did. The detective, Thomas J. Disbrow, however, also testified that he didn’t believe Tedeschi was telling everything he knew.

The entire interview, recorded on video and played in court Tuesday, lasted less than an hour before Tedeschi invoked his right to an attorney.

“I didn’t stab anybody,” Tedeschi said on the recording after referencing a lawyer, “I didn’t stab nobody.”

Tedeschi and Luvadollar Godallah, 31, both of Chiswell Road, were each indicted in March on a six counts of first-degree assault, two counts of first-degree robbery and six counts of first-degree burglary, all high-level felonies.

Monday’s hearing was to determine whether Tedeschi’s statements were voluntary. Godallah was scheduled to appear in court earlier this week for a similar hearing.

The two are accused of breaking into 2122 Guilderland Ave. the morning of Jan. 26 and stabbing three adults. A child was also present, but not physically harmed.

Godallah and Tedeschi were allegedly looking for marijuana and cash. Authorities later found a comparatively small amount of marijuana, but also about $3,100 in cash, prosecutors have said. No charges were expected against the victims.

The plot was foiled, authorities have said, when the female victim made a call to 911 while the attackers focused on the male victims. One of the attackers realized what she was doing and grabbed the phone, putting it in his pocket, prosecutors have said. The line, however, stayed active, recording sounds of pain from the victims and demands from the attackers for cash.

Dispatchers quickly cross-referenced the number with their records and sent officers to the scene.

The woman who made the call handed over $300 from her purse to one of the attackers. She was then dragged to the dining room where, lying face down on the floor, Godallah stabbed her, according to papers filed earlier in court.

Godallah also allegedly forced the woman to fill a garbage bag with three video game systems, cash and a wooden box containing marijuana, according to papers filed previously in court.

During his questioning by police, Tedeschi told of getting into a dispute with Godallah over rent. Tedeschi had allowed him to stay with him for two months. Eventually, though, Godallah planned to rob individuals he believed to be marijuana dealers and threatened to cut Tedeschi if he did not help out. Godallah also allegedly hit him with a baseball bat, according to Tedeschi’s account.

When confronted by Disbrow about a differing account of the home invasion, an account Disbrow told Tedeschi came from one of the victims, Tedeschi stuck by his own account.

Disbrow told Tedeschi that one of the victims said the suspects each fought with the men in the residence. When the resident fighting Tedeschi saw Godallah stabbing the other man, he rushed to his aid.

According to Disbrow, that’s when the resident said Tedeschi rushed him and stabbed him. The resident identified Tedeschi by his skin color, which is different than Godallah.

Each male resident was stabbed four times, but all survived. The victims were identified in court paperwork as Melissa Columbus, 24, Brad Columbus, 25, and Anthony Nieves, 23.

Tedeschi denied stabbing anyone or possessing a knife. He ultimately asked for a lawyer and the interview ended.

Tedeschi’s attorney, Sven Paul, asked Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago to throw out the interview, saying there was no determination made that Tedeschi was competent to answer questions. He’d been diagnosed with a concussion and told police he suffered from mental illnesses.

Prosecutor Ed Moynihan argued that Tedeschi answered questions properly and even remembered his driver’s license number.

Drago is to issue a ruling next month.

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