Connecticut Couple Arrested for House Party That Led to Stabbing Death of 17-Year Old

Connecticut couple Paul and Susanna Leifer, of Shelton, were arrested this week, nearly a year after allegedly supplying minors with alcohol at a house party held at their Lazy Brook Road home that led to the stabbing death of 17-year-old prep school student James “Jimmy” McGrath, back in May 2022.

Paul, 59, was charged with permitting minors to possess alcohol, while Susanna, 51, was additionally charged with second-degree reckless endangerment.

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Susanna Leifer                               Paul Leifer

The couple was released on promises to return before a judge and are expected in Derby Superior Court on April 3.

Shelton Police allege that St. Joseph’s High School student Raul Valle attended Leifers’ house party before he stabbed McGrath during a fight at a different party on Laurel Glen Drive.

“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 Thursday press release. “During the party, a fight ensued.”

According to the Hartford Currant, the confrontations between the St. Joseph’s students and those from Fairfield and Shelton High School reportedly began when uninvited students crashed the Leifers’ party.

Police responded to “several 911 calls regarding a fight” just before midnight on May 14, 2022, outside the Laurel Glen Drive house party in Shelton and found multiple victims on the front lawn, according to the report.

“Multiple witnesses reported that three to four people who were not invited to the party arrived and exited a dark-colored Honda SUV,” the report says. “Witnesses further stated that when the parties exited the vehicle, a physical altercation with multiple male participants occurred on the front lawn.”

Several minors were injured as a result of the fights, some seriously.

The suspect Raul Valle, of Milford, was arrested and charged as a minor a few days after the fatal stabbing, and Three more students were arrested in connection with the brawl in July.

“They should have more control of their children; just a shame what happened to the boy, really is,” Shelter resident Helen Magari told WFSB of the Leifers.

Earlier this week, the Connecticut Post reported that Valle, under home confinement after being released on $2 million bail, received permission from a judge to attend church services.

“The actions of the Leifers contributed to an environment that encouraged underage drinking, which resulted in a chain of events that ultimately led to the unfortunate death of James McGrath,” Michael Rosnick, the attorney representing the McGrath family, told the outlet.

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Rosnick said his clients, who are still mourning, will pursue a lawsuit.

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