Plea Came As Trial Was Slated To Begin

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A former fashion publicist charged with brutally stabbing his girlfriend to death in the early hours of April 10, 2011 has pleaded guilty, prosecutors said.

Raul Barrera turned himself in to police and admitted to stabbing 23-year-old Sarah Coit to death just hours after she was found dying in their Lower East Side apartment, but the last-minute guilty plea came as he was about to go on trial for second-degree murder, authorities said.

WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reports

Barrera told police he was angry Coit was planning on leaving him. Police said Barrera used eight different knives to stab her to death.

Neighbors said they called 911 after hearing Coit screaming and begging for her life.

By the time help arrived, police said Barrera was gone and Coit was found in a pool of blood with stab wounds to her face and torso. She was taken to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Barrera was 10 years older than Coit and had a reputation as a ladies’ man before moving in with Coit, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported.

Coit’s friends had told detectives Barrera was controlling and violent. One friend told police she knew Barrera would kill Coit, Cornell reported.

Barrera had a record of seven domestic violence arrests for beating up ex-girlfriends, Cornell reported.

Coit, a Greenwich, Conn. native, was so brutally stabbed that her internal organs were visible and she was nearly decapitated, according to a criminal complaint.

Barrera could face up to life in prison when he is sentenced, prosecutors said.

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