Man charged with killing woman in White Plains mall pleads not guilty

The convicted rapist charged with killing a woman in the Galleria Mall parking lot pleaded not guilty Wednesday.

Prosecutors say Phillip Grant, 43, is the first Westchester defendant ever arraigned on homicide as a hate crime. Police say Grant admitted to fatally stabbing Connie Russo-Carriero in June because he was at war with white people.

Grant is a paroled rapist who was living in a homeless shelter at the time of the murder. The case has brought renewed efforts for a civil confinement law, which would keep dangerous convicted sex offenders in a mental facility after imprisonment. The victim?s son is pushing to get the law passed and have it named Connie?s Law.

Since the murder is being tried as a hate crime, the minimum sentence increases to 20 years to life. Grant is due back at county court on October 26.

Related story Galleria mall murder suspect indicted in what is now being labeled a hate crime

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