Pols Demand Domestic Violence Registry in Wake of Sarah Coit Murder

By Gabriela Resto-Montero on April 17, 2011 5:02pm | Updated on April 18, 2011 7:41am

Sarah Coit was allegedly murdered by her boyfriend Raul Barrera.
Sarah Coit was allegedly murdered by her boyfriend Raul Barrera.
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By Gabriela Resto-Montero

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

DOWNTOWN — Prompted by the recent stabbing death of an East Village woman, New York State legislators pushed for Senate action on a domestic violence registry bill that would expose serial abusers in the community

State Senator Eric Adams, who introduced the "Domestic Violence Registration Act" bill in the Senate earlier this year, said the recent murder of East Village resident Sarah Coit, 23, allegedly at the hands of her abusive boyfriend, made passage of the bill more urgent.

"Domestic violence is a cancer in our society and, like all cancers, early detection is the key," Adams (D-Brooklyn) said of the bill, which would require offenders with felony domestic violence convictions to register online.

Structured like the state's sex offender registry, the domestic violence registry would list the offender's address, workplace, any property they own, as well as the criminal conviction.

Adams said that he and his co-sponsors in the State Assembly, Vanessa Gibson (D-Bronx) and Hakim Jeffries (D-Brooklyn), had not yet found a funding source but that the goal of the bill was to make domestic violence more visible and encourage victims to get help.

Coit's boyfriend, Raul Barrera, 33, turned himself into police last Sunday and confessed to killing the 23-year-old in their shared East Village apartment.

Police said that Coit had been attacked so brutally that her skull was caved in and her internal organs were exposed.

Barrera reportedly had a long history of domestic violence incidents against past girlfriends, but was never convicted. It was not immediately clear how the registry would protect victims against serial abusers whose cases never led to conviction.

Former neighbors said Barrera frequently fought with Coit and was arrested for bashing a man in the head with a bottle last year. He was indicted by a grand jury Friday in Coit's murder.

Ultimately, Gibson said the goal of the bill, which has not yet been introduced in the assembly, is to prevent more vicious murders.

State Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson (l.), State Senator Eric Adams and State Assemblyman Hakim Jefferies introduced a bill requiring convicted felony Domestic Violence offenders to register.
State Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson (l.), State Senator Eric Adams and State Assemblyman Hakim Jefferies introduced a bill requiring convicted felony Domestic Violence offenders to register.
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DNAinfo/Gabriela Resto-Montero

"We have to protect women," Gibson said. "We don't want to wait until there's a murder before we do anything."

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