Pretrial hearing for accused Galleria Mall murderer gets underway

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The pretrial hearing for the convicted sex offender charged with killing a mother of two got underway Monday. Phillip Grant is facing charges of murder as a hate crime for allegedly killing Connie Russo Carriero at the Galleria Mall parking garage in June because she was white. The first phase of the case began at the county courthouse Monday. Lawyers for the defense and prosecution are wrangling over the admissibility of a number of items, including a videotaped confession Grant gave to police shortly after he was arrested. Since then, Grant has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Russo Carriero's sons, who vowed to see justice served for their mother, were also in court Monday. They are hoping for the passage of a civil confinement law that would keep violent sex offenders in institutions after they are released from prison.

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