Two Schenectady County criminals serving long sentences saw their convictions upheld last week as an appeals court rejected their appeals.
One case involved a man sentenced to 24 years to life in connection with a 2011 home invasion stabbing. The other involved a man given 25 years in prison for a 2011 arson.
Luvadollar Godallah, now 36, appealed his first-degree burglary and second-degree assault convictions for the Jan. 26, 2011, invasion of a Guilderland Avenue apartment in Schenectady.
Prosecutors said Godallah was one of two people to invade the home in a bid for drugs and money. Three people inside the residence suffered stab wounds, but survived. A child was unharmed, though prosecutors contended Godallah threatened the child.
Police arrested him at a different location. He argued on appeal that police did not have probable cause to arrest him. The Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court found the rulings prior to his trial were proper and upheld his stop and arrest.
The court also found testimony from Godallah’s accomplice was sufficiently corroborated with other evidence and testimony and the trial court properly rejected a proposed defense expert witness.
The ruling upholds both his conviction and sentence. He is serving 24 years to life at Elmira Correctional Facility.
In the other conviction upheld last week, the Appellate Division found no issues with the second-degree arson conviction of Eric Launder.
Launder, now 57, appealed his 2012 conviction in connection with a small May 28, 2011, fire at 132 Jay St.
No one was hurt in the blaze and damage was contained to the inside and outside of the targeted apartment. But the building had 19 total units, 18 of which were occupied. And fire was set at 3 a.m., when many in the building were asleep.
The judge in the case found no mitigating factors and sentenced Launder to 25 years in prison.
Launder, who called 911 to report the fire, argued on appeal that prosecutors failed to prove he set it. The Appellate Division found testimony concerning a dispute prior to the fire and Launder’s statements prior to it were enough to convict. The jury made credibility determinations and believed the witnesses. Launder continues to serve his sentence at Auburn Correctional Facility.