WHITE PLAINS, NY — Z’Inah Brown, 18, was sentenced to 17 years in state prison for the January 2018 stabbing death of another New Rochelle High School student, 16-year-old Valaree Schwab.
Specifically, Brown pleaded guilty in May to Manslaughter in the First Degree, a class B violent felony. State Supreme Court Justice Barry Warhit presided. In addition to the prison term, she will serve five years’ post-release supervision.
In court, the victim’s sister, Britney Schwab, read a statement on the devastating impact Valaree’s death had had on her, her father, and other family members. Speaking directly to Brown, she said, “Your violent rampage stole a third sibling away from me long before it was their time.” She added, “I hope that her sudden, untimely death will never be used in a discussion as fuel for hate. I hope that, if anything, it can serve as a reminder for young people to find peaceful ways to resolve conflict and for families to hold their loved ones a little closer. I know Valaree would want us to bury hate and choose peace instead.”
On Jan. 10, 2018, a group of New Rochelle teenagers engaged in a course of conduct directed against Valaree Schwab and a 15-year-old New Rochelle High School student. The gang of teens, including Brown, physically confronted and assaulted Schwab outside on North Avenue resulting in a serious physical injury to the victim. At the time of the assault, Schwab dropped her house keys and one of the teens picked up the keys. Schwab then followed the group to Dunkin’ Donuts, 646 North Avenue, to try to get back her keys. Inside the store, Brown stabbed Schwab, who was pronounced dead later that day at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx.
All of the teenagers were students at New Rochelle High School.
Two other teens, Dominique Slack and Carl Booker, both pleaded guilty to Stalking in the First Degree, a class D violent felony, for being part of the gang who stalked Schwab on that day. Booker was sentenced March 29, 2019, to “shock probation” where he will be incarcerated in Westchester County Jail for six months and serve a total of five years’ probation. In February 2019, Slack received the same sentence as Booker.
Assistant District Attorney Laura Murphy, Chief of the Career Criminal Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Nicholas DiCostanzo, both of the Superior Court Trial Division prosecuted the cases.