SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Springs man who broke into people's homes and watched them sleep last summer was sentenced Friday to 32 years behind bars.
Saratoga County Court Judge James A. Murphy III sentenced Ramiz Hajratalli to 30 years in prison for two felony counts of second-degree burglary, and two additional years in Saratoga County Jail for two counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor.
He was also sentenced to 10 years of post-release supervision.
Hajratalli was arrested July 28 and again on Aug. 11 after breaking into two Saratoga Springs homes and watching the homes' occupants sleep.
On July 28 at 1:30 a.m., police said Hajratalli broke into a Caroline Street home and watched a female resident sleep until she woke up and yelled at him.
Hajratalli was released from county jail after posting $10,000 bail in that case.
Shortly after midnight on Aug. 11, Hajratalli was arrested again when officers responded to a fight at the corner of Ludlow Street and Jumel Place.
Paul Kisselbrack, a Jumel Place resident and retired detective from the Hudson Police Department, awoke to find Hajratalli standing in his bedroom and ran after him.
Kisselbrack, who read a victim impact statement at Friday's sentencing, said Hajratalli "got exactly what he deserved."
"He's a bad man and a menace to the community," Kisselbrack said after Hajratalli was sentenced. "His intentions were malicious, and I believe he's a sexual predator, and the judge agreed with me.
"Thirty years in prison is a long time to think about what he did."
Murphy said Hajratalli has forever changed the lives of his victims.
"Residential burglaries are particularly frightening and are defined by the state Legislature as violent crimes, because studies have shown and the Legislature has determined that victims of these crimes react in a way as if they have been subject to a violent act," Murphy said. "As a result, victims identify and exhibit those kinds of characteristics that victims of violent crimes exhibit, including feeling vulnerable, lack of control over emotions and inability to sleep."
Kathy Henry, Kisselbrack's fiance, who was sleeping next to him the night Hajratalli broke into their Jumel Place home, also read a victim impact statement Friday.
"I'm continually afraid that someone will break into my home and attempt to injure me," she said to the courtroom. "This crime has caused me to fear being alone in my own home, which used to be my safe place where my family would gather to create memories that would last us a lifetime.
"Now, this memory of Ramiz Hajratalli breaking into and violating our home has become my worst nightmare."
Henry said after the break-in she has troubling sleeping and experiences anxiety.
"I have to remind myself each and every night that he can no longer invade my home or attempt to harm me or my family, because he is incarcerated," she said. "If I do not tell myself this before I close my eyes at night, I simply cannot fall asleep."
After Hajratalli's sentencing, Henry said that, while she's happy he received the maximum sentence, the effects of the break-in linger.
"It's not fair that we had to go through this, and it's a fear that's hard to describe," she said. "Leading up to today, I feel like I'm starting over and I have to deal with all of my issues all over again.
"I don't know if I'll ever not be afraid, but now that he'll be away, I know he can't hurt me, so that gives me some sense of security."
Nina Haelen was the third person to read a victim impact statement Friday. Hajratalli broke into her Caroline Street apartment on July 28.
"I sleep with a screwdriver under my pillow, a pocket knife in my bedside table and I keep pepper spray on my keychain at all times," she said to the courtroom. "I regularly wake up when I can't sleep to place a table in front of my locked bedroom door, to ensure that I can at least hear when someone breaks in."
After Hajratalli's trial in February, Haelen said she felt uncomfortable and unsafe living in the same apartment building, so she decided to move.
"I was faced with financial hardships of having to pay two rents for the remaining term of my Caroline Street lease and a new apartment," she said.
Haelen added that her employer also changed her work schedule from a night to day shift in order to accommodate the anxiety she felt returning home in the dark following the break-in.
"I'm concerned he's a danger to women," she said. "I hope he's in jail for a long time to ensure that he can't put any other woman through this trauma and experience."
Kevin Luibrand of Latham represented Hajratalli.
After the sentencing, Luibrand said, "We will appeal all aspects of the verdict and sentence."
Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen said Murphy's sentence "sent a strong message."
"When you threaten the safety of the individual citizens in Saratoga County there are going to be consequences and they are going to be strong, and they are going to be firm," she said.
Heggen added that she would continue to pursue residential burglary crimes. She also encourages anyone who was impacted by Hajratalli to contact reach out to the Saratoga County District Attorney's office.
"If you feel you've been wronged by this defendant we want to look at those cases to keep our community safe," she said.
First Assistant District Attorney Alan Poremba prosecuted the case.