Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the sentencing of RAUL BARRERA, 35, to 25 years-to-life in state prison for murdering 23-year-old Sarah Coit in her Lower East Side apartment at approximately 2:00 a.m. on April 10, 2011. On September 24, 2012, BARRERA pleaded guilty to Murder in the Second Degree for fatally stabbing Coit more than 30 times in her head and torso.
“The defendant killed an innocent young woman and changed a family forever,” said District Attorney Vance. “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. Far too many domestic violence victims remained trapped in relationships from which they see no escape. Next year, we will open Manhattan’s first Family Justice Center, which will provide services for domestic violence victims in one central location. Though leaving an abusive relationship takes an incredible amount of courage, there is help available for those who need it.
“I would like to thank the victim’s father for the strength he exhibited in testifying at the defendant’s pre-sentencing hearing, and commend our dedicated prosecutors and Judge Carruthers for ensuring that justice was served in this case.”
In 2011 alone, the New York City Police Department responded to nearly 258,000 domestic violence incidents citywide—more than 700 incidents each day—and the DA’s Office screened more than 5,600 domestic violence cases.
Last month, District Attorney Vance and other elected officials announced the start of construction for Manhattan’s first Family Justice Center. The “one-stop-shop” for domestic violence services will house both civil and criminal legal services, including leadership from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s entire Special Victims Bureau. Uniquely, the Manhattan Center will house experts from not only the Domestic Violence Unit, but also the Sex Crimes Unit, Human Trafficking Program, and Elder Abuse Unit, with the Child Abuse Unit located next door.
According to the New York City Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, 38 percent of domestic violence victims are abused again within six months. Because domestic violence abusers are frequently repeat offenders who abuse their victims more than once, Governor Cuomo recently signed the Aggravated Domestic Violence bill into law. Before its passage, many repeat misdemeanor offenders could face the same sentence on their hundredth conviction as they would on their first. The law creates an E felony charge for an abuser who commits two or more misdemeanor domestic violence offenses within five years, including those involving intimate partners, non-traditional familial relationships, and adult children abusing parents.
Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos handled the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Warren J. Murray, Chief of Trial Bureau 50. Trial Preparation Assistant Pekham Pal also assisted with the case.
RAUL BARRERA, D.O.B. 6/2/1977
New York, N.Y.