The slaying of a law-firm receptionist at a Westchester mall will be prosecuted as a hate crime because the ex-con charged with the crime confessed “he wanted to kill a white person,” District Attorney Jeanine Pirro said yesterday.
If convicted of murder as a hate crime, Phillip Grant, 43, who is black, could get 20 years to life instead of 15 to life, Pirro said. An indictment handed up yesterday charged Grant with fatally stabbing 56-year-old Concetta Russo-Carriero in the parking garage of the Galleria Mall in White Plains on June 29.
In a taped statement, Grant told cops he was fighting a race war and killed the woman because she was white. “All I knew was she had blond hair and blue eyes and she had to die,” the convicted rapist and a Level 3 sex offender told cops.
Pirro said the law “makes it very clear that if you intend to kill someone and intentionally select your victim based upon your belief of their race, color, religion or sexual orientation that the crime can be charged as a hate crime.”