Ex-neighbor said of Barrera and Coit: “I knew he was going to kill her”; and he had violently attacked her before, but she stayed with him

The Gothamist reports, drawing on the coverage in today’s New York Post and New York Daily News:


Raul Barrera, the man who allegedly confessed to fatally stabbing his girlfriend in a Lower East Side apartment, was arraigned on second-degree murder charges, held without bail, and put on suicide watch yesterday. Barrera, 33, is accused of attacking Sarah Coit, 23, with a knife so brutally that her internal organs were showing by the time the police arrived to the apartment at 63 Clinton Street. But a woman who used to live next to the couple said, “I knew he was going to kill her … His eyes were insane. He was a killer.”

Colleen Carerir, who lived in the same East 33rd Street building as Barrera, a PR professional, and Coit, a former Hunter College student who was working at Lacoste, before they moved downtown, told the Post that she once called the police on Barrera: “I heard her violent screams,” and in January, she called 911 “when I thought he was killing her … He had her in the bathtub, and it sounded like he was filling it with water. I think he was strangling her. She was screaming a lot and coughing.” Careir added, “He wasn’t human. He was a monster. He looked at me like I was a piece of meat. I worked at Bellevue with mental patients, and they had nothing on this guy.”

The Daily News has the violent details on how Coit was attacked on Sunday:

Barrera pulled several knives from a wooden butcher block early Sunday, cops said. Then, in a fit of rage, he used them to gouge Coit’s pretty face. He sliced her across the mouth and jaw, and with such force that one of the tips of the blades broke, authorities said.

The blow that killed the 23-year-old blond was a stab to the left side of her back, an autopsy revealed. It left “a gaping stab wound to the left side of the torso from which internal organs were protruding,” court records show.

A source told the News, “It was pure anger … He didn’t want her to leave, and he didn’t want her to be beautiful for anyone else.”

Barrera fled the apartment and was headed to Penn Station, but he called his father, who convinced him to turn himself in. The News reports that Barrera’s father allegedly said, “There’s no way to hide. It would go easier on you … if you turned yourself in.” The Post says that Barrera has a history of seven domestic violence incidents with former girlfriends. His former boss, B.J. Coleman, said, “He wasn’t a monster. He was ambitious. This is not someone who goes around hacking people.”

Coit died about an hour after the police arrived. While neighbors could hear the screaming and four 911 calls were made, it turns out three of the calls had the wrong address: According to the Post, “Three people living in a building next door called 911 and told operators the yelling was coming from their apartment building. Two others also called 911, and they, too, gave the wrong address.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 12, 2011 02:02 PM | Send

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