Suspect on Tape: Victim ‘Had to Die’

Richard Liebson and Christine Pizzuti, Journal News (Westchester, NY), July 6

WHITE PLAINS—Concetta Russo-Carriero “had to die” because she was white, the man accused of killing her told White Plains detectives in a 45-minute videotaped statement during which he also claims to have killed others and says he is at war with the white race.

“I never seen her before, and I didn’t care,” Phillip Grant said on the tape, which was played at his felony hearing in City Court yesterday. “As long as she had blond hair and blue eyes, she had to die.”

Grant said he knew he would get caught.

“I want the death penalty,” he said. “I want to die. But I wanted to kill somebody white first.”

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Asked what he thought would happen now, Grant said on the tape: “It doesn’t matter to me no more. Whatever they do, these (gesturing to his handcuffs) better not come off. My only regret is that I don’t know anything about biological weapons. Get the death penalty for me, and get on with it.”

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Grant, convicted of three rapes in the Bronx in 1980 and of assaulting another inmate in prison, was released in 2003 after serving 23 years. The one-time Mount Vernon resident, deemed a Level 3 sex offender, was living at the Westchester County Airport homeless shelter until April, when he was forced out for refusing to submit to a mental-health exam.

Since then, he’s stayed at the county’s drop-in overnight shelter at the airport. Those needing a place to stay are picked up in White Plains and Yonkers each night and dropped off in those cities in the morning.

Grant said in his statement that he killed “three or four people” during the 1970s and that, since his release from prison, he had tried to hijack a car in New Rochelle and had cut a woman’s throat, killing her, because she wouldn’t move out of his way on a sidewalk. He did not provide details of those crimes on the tape, but city police and the county prosecutor’s office said they were investigating his statements.

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Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro said the grand jury would determine whether to charge Grant with a hate crime, which would increase the minimum sentence for second-degree murder from 15 to 20 years in prison. The maximum sentence would remain 25 years to life.

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