Tuesday, July 05, 2005

D.A. may prosecute slaying as hate crime

Richard Liebson:

Phillip Grant

The Westchester County District Attorney's Office is considering a hate-crime charge against a 43-year-old rapist accused of stabbing a legal secretary to death Wednesday, because he told police he had planned to kill a white woman, sources familiar with the case said yesterday.

Law-enforcement officials would not comment, but the sources said the District Attorney's Office would seek a grand jury indictment charging Phillip Grant, 43, with second-degree murder as a hate crime, based on his statements to investigators.

"I'm not confirming that. The case continues to be under investigation," Anne Marie Corbalis, spokeswoman for District Attorney Jeanine Pirro, said when asked whether Grant would be charged with a hate crime.

Pressed on whether the office was denying that such a charge was being considered, Corbalis repeated, "I'm not confirming that. That's all I'll say."

Grant is black; the victim was white. A hate-crime conviction would increase his minimum sentence.

Grant, registered as a Level 3 — or high-risk — sex offender who served 23 years in Sing Sing prison on rape and assault convictions, was picked up a few minutes after police found Concetta Russo Carriero unconscious and bleeding from two stab wounds on Level 7 of the municipal garage attached to the Galleria mall. Carriero, 56, was pronounced dead at White Plains Hospital Center less than an hour after the 1:14 p.m. attack. Early Thursday, Grant was charged with second-degree murder.

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