Connecticut police arrested, charged and released two parents Thursday, nearly a year after they allegedly allowed minors to drink alcohol at a party that led to the May 2022 fatal stabbing of 17-year-old James McGrath.
The Shelton Police Department (SPD) announced the arrest of Paul Leifer, 59, and Susana Leifer, 51, for allowing minors to possess alcohol. Susana Leifer was also charged with second-degree reckless endangerment after McGrath was fatally stabbed after a party at their home last year.
“Several high school students attended this party where alcohol was present. During the investigation it was revealed that Susanna had interactions with some of the attendees,” SPD said in a news release Thursday. “A fight ensued during the party.”
After the fight at the Leifers’ home on Lazy Brook Road, the suspects – described as students from St. Joseph in Trumbull – arrived at another party on Laurel Glen Drive in Shelton, where the victims were also present, according to a police report obtained at the time by Fox News Digital.
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Another fight ensued at the Laurel Glen Drive home, where McGrath was stabbed to death.
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The Leifers were released on a promise to appear in court on April 3, police said.
Raul Elijah Valle of Milford, who was 16 at the time of the stabbing, was is accused of a murder and two counts of first-degree assault for allegedly stabbing McGrath and others during the May 14 fight. Valle attended St. Joseph in Trumbull near Fairfield College Preparatory School, where McGrath was a junior.
Police responded to “several 911 calls regarding an altercation” that occurred just before midnight on May 14, 2022, outside a house party on Laurel Glen Drive in Shelton and found multiple victims on the front lawn. The owner of the residence where the party took place was home at the time of the incident, according to the warrant.
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“Multiple witnesses reported that three to four people who were not invited to the party arrived and got out of a dark-colored Honda SUV,” the report states. “Witnesses further reported that when the parties exited the vehicle, a physical altercation took place with several male participants on the front lawn.”
At one point, there were about 25 people involved in the fight on the front lawn of the residence, witnesses told police. At least three juvenile suspects are named in the report, including Vallle, who is accused of carrying a knife.
At least four victims, including McGrath, were stabbed.
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“[T]Here was a stab wound to the left side of the chest,” the warrant states. “The stab wound went through the ribs and the heart.”
A doctor from the Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner told police that there were about 1.8 liters of blood in McGrath’s lungs.
The other three victims were injured during the fight. An officer described seeing “multiple pools of blood” and various personal items on the front lawn after the fight.
The warrant further states that several of the stabbing victims got into an argument with the suspects at another party on Lazy Brook Road in Shelton earlier that night. The suspects, described by witnesses as students of St. Joe, they later arrived at the party at Laurel Glen. Shelton High School students were also present at the party on Lazy Brook Road, another witness told police.
A representative of St. Joseph told Fox News Digital last year that Valle was in good academic standing and had not been involved in fights at school before the May 14 incident.
Valle was released on $2 million bail a few days after his arrest in May 2022.
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One obituary for McGrath describes the 17-year-old as the “sunshine” of his parents’ lives and his sister’s “best friend and confidante”.
“Jim as a wonderfully happy man with a big heart who was a loving friend to many,” the obituary said. “He loved his school, Fairfield Prep, and excelled as an athlete in every sport he chose. He played football and lacrosse for Fairfield Prep and as a junior for the Shelton and Connecticut Wolves as well. He understood the meaning of being part of a team.”
Fox News’ Marta Dhanis and Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.