Richard Liebson and Jonathan Bandler, Journal News (Westchester, NY), July 2
WHITE PLAINS — 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, who was denied parole nine times beginning in 1986 and had time added to his sentence after he was convicted of attacking a fellow Sing Sing inmate with a pitchfork, was released on mandatory parole in 2003. His parole supervision ended two months later.
Abdulla Abraham, an airport shelter resident who knows Grant, said the suspect often had talked about finding a white woman to take care of him.
“He was always talking about getting a white girl to live with. He got tired of living at the shelter,” Abraham said. “He was obsessed with that for a while, getting a white woman who had money that he could settle down with. He was determined to find one.”