A plea made under the Alford Doctrine means the defendant doesn’t admit guilt but concedes he could be found guilty of the crime if he went to trial.
The suspects allegedly yelled at the victim to cough up the money he owed Vitali and then ransacked his apartment.
The victim said he was terrified and messaged a friend on Facebook, and one of the men, later identified as Sean Artis, allegedly said, “I’m packing and if you call the police, I’m going to kill you.”
Two other suspects who had left the home — later identified as Badalamenti and Alex Simko — were arrested in May. Badalamenti has been behind bars since.
Artis was sentenced to a year in jail in October. Simko received a three-year suspended sentence in the case, and Vitali is scheduled to be sentenced in January on a charge of conspiracy to commit second-degree burglary with a firearm, according to court records.
Badalamenti told the judge he was lonely at Christmas because he was divorced and didn’t have custody of his chidlren, so he accepted an offer from Simko, who he knew as a “gypsy Uber” driver, for a ride.
He said he was unaware of the plot to rob the victim.
“There was nothing talked about,” he said. “I didn’t know anything about that.”
Judge Peter Brown noted Badalementi’s record, which includes convictions for larcenies and burglaries in Stratford, Fairfield, Bridgeport and Stamford.
“This is not the first, or the second, or the third time that you have been before a criminal court facing serious charges,” the judge said. “The charges here are extremely serious, as you know.”
Badalamenti told the judge he committed his prior crimes to support a drug habit.
The judge told Badalamenti to take advantage of rehab programs available to prevent him from relapsing once he gets out of jail before handing down a four-year prison sentence to be suspended after one year, followed by three years of probation.
“You know what needs to be done,” Brown said. “You know what you need to address. When you’re released from incarceration, take it as seriously as you can and address it.”