PITTSFIELD -- A Level 3 sex offender with a long criminal record pleaded guilty to his 15th breaking and entering on Friday and was sentenced to 21Ž2 years in jail, 18 months of which he will have to serve, and three years of probation.
According to the lawyer for Akkoya T. Salahudeen, 51, of Wendell Avenue Extension, when her client broke-into the Onota Street home on May 9 it was "an act of desperation."
In Central Berkshire District Court, Attorney Michelle Mechta said Salahudeen’s record for years incorrectly listed him as a rapist, when he was in fact convicted of the lesser crime of indecent assault and battery. She said this led him to be unable to get work or an apartment and that he broke into the house looking for money to survive on.
According to police and the prosecutor, a pit bull-type dog inside the Onota Street residence prevented Salahudeen from taking anything from the home. Two witnesses who called the police said they saw him enter the home and leave a short time later with a snow brush in his hand. The defendant admitted he used the brush to keep the dog at bay before making his escape.
The home’s 31-year-old resident was away from the house at the time of the alleged break-in, police said.
Salahudeen was arrested a short time later and positively identified by a witness. He has been in jail on $3,000 bail since his arrest.
On Friday, Salahudeen pleaded guilty to a single count of breaking and entering in the daytime for a felony.
Judge Fredric D. Rutberg said the defendant preyed on the community and that "we should all be thankful that there was a pit bull inside the house." The judge went beyond the 18-month joint recommendation made in the case by Mechta and the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office and gave the defendant 21Ž2 years in jail. Salahudeen will have to serve 18 months and then will be on probation for three years. If he fails to abide by his probation he could end up serving another year in jail. He was credited with the close to two months he has been jailed awaiting the outcome of the case.
Salahudeen, who was formerly known as Jeffrey L. Dowdell, is a level 3 sex offender who was convicted of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 in 1988. Level 3 is considered by the state to be the most likely to reoffend.
He has a number of prior convictions and has served "lengthy prison sentences," according to a Pittsfield Police report.
In October 2011, Salahudeen pleaded guilty to a similar daytime break-in in June 2010 that he admitted committing. In that case he was sentenced to 18 months in jail.