NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- New Rochelle High School student Z’inah Brown appeared in City Court of New Rochelle this afternoon before Judge Anthony Carbone less than a week after she was arrested and charged with Second Degree Murder in the stabbing death of classmate Valeree Schwab.
Brown was dressed in a black long-sleeve shirt, black pants and the same gray and maroon Nike sneakers she wore last week at her arraignment, this time with the shoelaces removed.
Brown seemed pleased with the large turnout. Standing just a few feet from the father of her alleged victim, Chris Schwab, and Valaree Schwab's aunt Rebecca Schmid who spoke at her niece's funeral on Monday, Brown made repeated eye contact with members of a the group of close to 100 friends and family in the courtroom. At times, Brown strained to look past and around her lawyer and court officers, ignoring Judge Carbone and the proceedings in her murder case. She was smiling, flashing her eyes and mouthing unintelligible words to peoplunseated in the courtroom. A member of the media in the courtroom observed afterwards that Brown seemed detached from reality.
Before the hearing, Brenda Gist, Brown's aunt, sporting magenta hair, stood in front of the victim's family then called her niece's supporters to gather around her in a prayer circle where she referred to the fatal stabbing as "an accident". Later, outside the courthouse, Gist confronted reporters, stating repeatedly that the fatal stabbing was "an accident" and that she was there because her niece had been charged as an adult in an apparent effort to portray Z'inah Brown as a victim of the justice system.
In the proceedings in front of Judge Carbone a deal was disclosed that would move the case to White Plains. In exchange for waiving Brown's felony hearing, Nicholas DiCostanzo of the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office and David L. Rich of the Legal Aid Society appearing for the Defense, agreed that that the case would be presented to the Grand Jury within 60 days and the D.A. would accelerate the discovery process starting with two pieces of surveillance video pertaining to the incident.