Man gets 3 1/2 years prison for violin theft
MILWAUKEE - All the players from the Stradivarius heist were in court Thursday, including the suspects, their attorneys, and MSO musician Frank Almond.
All but one got to go home. Universal Allah was led away in handcuffs after being sentenced to three and a half years in prison and three and a half years extended supervision.
The day began at the Milwaukee County Safety Building with Salah Salahadyn, the alleged mastermind of the Stradivarius theft. We were expecting him to plead guilty, but instead came this surprise. His public defender asked to be removed from the case. He said he has a conflict of interest and could not longer continue on the case.
That was upsetting to Judge Dennis Moroney who said, "I'm not happy at all about it, not at this late game."
Judge Moroney gave Salahadyn eight days to find a new attorney. As for the man who admits he supplied the taser in the attack, Universal Allah, he walked in a free man and he spoke to us before the sentencing hearing. We asked what he thought Salahadyn was going to do with that taser.
"Just for personal protection," he replied.
Allah has no prior criminal record and his attorney portrayed him as a guy just doing a favor for a friend, but the judge didn't buy it.
"I disagree entirely with Mr. Kuchinsky on that , that you were some silly little guy that just didn't have a clue what's going on in life," said Judge Moroney.
Universal Allah gave this statement in court, "Your honor I just wanna humbly apologize to you, the district attorney, Mr. Frank Almond, the owners of the violin and everyone that I've affected."
MSO Concertmaster Frank Almond was in court for the sentencing hearing on Thursday. He said, "Anyone who considers a taser a non-lethal weapon has probably not experienced getting shot with one, 50,000 watts or so when the temperature is seven below zero, is nothing short of brutal. I have a wife and two children, ages seven and nine at the time. In the days that followed the attack, it is difficult to convey the physical and emotional trauma we all suffered as I slowly came to terms with what had occurred."