One of two men convicted in a bloody January 2011 home invasion that left three people with stab wounds was sentenced Tuesday to a total of 24 years to life in state prison.
The sentence for 32-year-old Luvadollar Godallah reflected both the act and his lengthy criminal history. Godallah was judged a violent persistent felon, allowing for the sentence of up to life.
In court Tuesday, victim advocate Stephanie Stuart read a statement prepared by one of those who was stabbed.
In the statement, victim Anthony J. Nieves told of experiencing flashbacks since the crime, finding himself jumping out of bed at the slightest sound.
Nieves suffered multiple stab wounds in the attack, and he continues to suffer from what he described as extreme pain.
Nieves was the boyfriend of Melissa Columbus, 24, one of the other victims. Columbus’ young son was also in the home, but he was not injured. Godallah was accused of threatening Columbus that if she didn’t comply with his demands, the child would be harmed. Also injured was Columbus’ brother, Brad Columbus, 25.
Nieves said his boy is now mentally and emotionally scarred. When he sees police, he recounts how the “bad guys hurt Mommy and Papi,” Nieves’ statement read.
His girlfriend also still has panic attacks, can’t sleep and won’t go anywhere by herself.
“People should not be able to commit crimes such as this and get away with it,” Nieves’ statement continued. “The mental, emotional, physical and financial impact will be felt for years to come.”
Godallah was convicted after trial in March of first-degree burglary and first-degree assault related to the Jan. 26, 2011, invasion of the Guilderland Avenue apartment.
Prosecutors alleged Godallah was one of two people to invade the home in a bid for drugs and money.
The Schenectady County Court jury deliberated for about 18 hours before convicting Godallah. They acquitted him on robbery counts.
The jury rejected Godallah’s claims of innocence. Godallah’s attorney, James Walsh, argued Godallah wasn’t there, but police focused on him solely on the word of co-defendant James Tedeschi, at the expense of a full investigation.
Walsh said later that Godallah faced a minimum of 20 to life. He could have gotten much more, had Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago chosen to run consecutive sentences.
Walsh said he expects an appeal.
Godallah’s co-defendent, Tedeschi, pleaded guilty earlier to attempted robbery and testified at Godallah’s trial. He is to be sentenced next month to up to 10 years in prison.
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