There is finally closure in the grisly, violent death of 23-year-old Sarah Coit, who was murdered in her Lower East Side apartment on April 10, 2011. Coit’s 35-year-old boyfriend, Raul Barrera, has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to murder in the second degree in September, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., announced yesterday.
Coit was stabbed more than 30 times in her head and torso.
“The defendant killed an innocent young woman and changed a family forever,” Vance said in a prepared statement. “This case illustrates the sobering fact that domestic violence can quickly turn fatal, and that the most dangerous time for a victim is when she or he tries to leave a relationship. Shockingly, this murder was one of 92 such ‘family-related homicides’ in New York City in 2011.”
Raul Barrera, who confessed to the brutal murder of Sarah Coit inside her Clinton Street apartment, has pleaded guilty. The crime happened in April of 2011. Coit, 23 years old, was stabbed 24 times. Police said she was almost beheaded. Yesterday, days before the trial was scheduled to begin, Barrera entered the guilty plea. He faces anywhere from 15 years to life in prison.
Barrera, 34, and Coit were boyfriend and girlfriend. He became enraged when she tried to leave him. Neighbors called 911 after hearing screams coming from 63 Clinton Street but they were too late. He fled the scene after the killing but later turned himself in at the urging of his father.
Barrera had been arrested on seven occasions for beating up previous girlfriends. His lawyer, Paul Feinman, told the Post, “Going to trial, he figured, wasn’t his best option.” Feinman was preparing to argue that Barrera was suffering from “extreme emotional distress.” Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Richard Carruthers will hear evidence before deciding a sentence based on the second degree murder plea. Prosecutors will ask for the maximum, 25 years to life.
Coit was from Riverside, Connecticut (a neighborhood in Greenwich) and had attended Hunter College, studying marketing and advertising. She worked at the Lacoste store near Rockefeller Center. Her father, Lynde Coit, is a prominent financial adviser.
Sarah Coit died April 10 in a gruesome stabbing.
The Daily News has the scoop on this morning’s court arraignment of Raul Barrera, the 33-year-old Clinton Street resident accused of second-degree murder in the killing of his girlfriend Sarah Coit at their apartment last month. In records released this morning, Barrera describes the crime scene and explains why he decided to turn himself in. An excerpt:
“We were fighting over a butcher knife,” Raul Barrera confessed to an officer at Manhattan’s 9th Precinct in the early hours of April 10, court papers show. “I hit her in the back. There’s a lot of blood.”
He told the officer, “She is bad and that’s why I’m here to turn myself in.”
The 33-year-old public relations staffer, who arrived in court Thursday for his arraignment with a full beard and crisp white shirt, said their fight quickly “escalated.”
Barrera is next due in court for a hearing on Aug. 3, according to the story.
Sarah Coit’s body has been returned home to Connecticut, where arrangements are being made for her funeral. The 23-year old woman was brutally murdered inside her Clinton Street apartment this past weekend.
A representative from the Leo P. Gallagher Funeral Home in Stamford, Conn., told DNA Info funeral plans were not yet set. In a brief statement, the family said it “greatly appreciates all of those that have extended their thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.”
Meanwhile, the family of Coit’s alleged killer is speaking out. Raul Barrera, Sr. told the New York Post, his “heart goes out” to her grieving family. Barrera said his son is a “good person. I’m sure it was the passion in the moment.” Yesterday, he visited Raul, Jr. in the jail ward at Bellevue Hospital. According to a witness, Barrera (who’s been charged with 2nd degree murder) “was crying through the whole time. His mother was on her knees, holding him, praying and crying.”
Sarah Coit's 2005 yearbook photo.
The tabloids have more coverage of this past weekend’s Clinton Street murder this morning. As we reported yesterday, suspect Raul Barrera did not enter a plea during an initial court appearance. He’s charged with 2nd degree murder in the butchering of his girlfriend, 23-year old Sarah Coit.
A former neighbor (on East 33rd Street), Colleen Carerir, told the Post she feared Barrera would end up killing Coit. “In January,” the story noted, “Carerir called cops one night ‘when I thought he was killing her… He had her in the bathtub, and it sounded like he was filling it with water,’ Carerir said. ‘I think he was strangling her. She was screaming a lot and coughing.’ Cops came, but did not arrest Barrera, she said.”
Photo credit: DNA Info.
Today 33-year old Raul Barrera was arraigned on 2nd degree murder charges for allegedly murdering his girlfriend, Sarah Coit, with a kitchen knife Saturday night. It happened inside their third floor apartment at 63 Clinton Street.
According to prosecutors at today’s hearing, Barrera was on his way to Penn Station to make an escape when he called his father in Virginia for advice. Barrera’s father urged his son to turn himself in. More new information from DNA Info:
Coit’s blood-curdling screams and pleas for help prompted a pair of 911 calls about 2 a.m. Police initially responded to the building next to Coit’s, where one of the calls originated, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Monday. Police searched but could not immediately locate the victim, and only discovered her about 40 minutes later after Barrera turned himself in to police in the East Village and confessed to the killing, Kelly explained… Police found an arsenal of eight knives inside the apartment… Barrera’s lawyer said his client had known Coit for four years, but wasn’t sure they had dated the entire time. Attorney Paul Feinman described Barrera as “upset” and “remorseful…”It’s a horror beyond words.” The building’s superintendent explained that Barrera only moved into the Clinton Street apartment on April 1, but that he hadn’t heard any disputes between the two or received any complaints.
Barrera did not enter a plea. He’s due back in court on Friday.
More details this morning about the gruesome murder at 63 Clinton Street late Saturday night. 33-year old Raul Barrera will have his first court appearance today. He faces 2nd degree murder charges in the brutal killing of Sarah Coit, his 23-year old girlfriend.
Police say Barrera stabbed Coit repeatedly with a kitchen knife after an argument about her decision to leave him. They indicated Barrera fled the apartment but showed up at the 9th Precinct less than a half hour later, telling officers, “I did something bad.” He was transferred to the 7th Precinct, which has jurisdiction for the area below Houston Street.