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.