Stabbing Death At High School Party Leads To Charges For Parents Who Hosted The Party

On May 14, 2022, 17-year-old James McGrath was fatally stabbed following a house party in Shelton, Connecticut. Witnesses described the suspects as students from St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, and Raul Eliah Valle of Milford, who was 16 at the time of the stabbing, has been charged with one count of murder and two counts of first-degree assault for allegedly stabbing McGrath and others during the fight.

Nearly a year later, on Thursday, the Shelton Police Department (SPD) announced the arrest of Paul Leifer, 59, and Susana Leifer, 51, with permitting minors to possess alcohol. Susana Leifer was also charged with second-degree reckless endangerment. According to the SPD, “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. During the party a fight ensued.”

The fight at the Leifers’ house on Lazy Brook Road led to another fight at a house on Laurel Glen Drive in Shelton, where the victims were also present. The Leifers were released on a promise to appear in court on April 3.

The warrant states that there were approximately 1.8 liters of blood in McGrath’s lungs, and that several of the stabbing victims got into an altercation with the suspects at another party on Lazy Brook Road in Shelton earlier that night. The suspects, who witnesses described as St. Joe’s students, later arrived at the party on Laurel Glen. Shelton High School students were also present at the party on Lazy Brook Road.

McGrath was a junior at Fairfield College Preparatory School, and an obituary for him describes him as the “sunshine” of his parents’ life and his sister’s “best friend and confidant.” He was an athlete who excelled in every sport he chose, and he understood the meaning of being part of a team.

The tragic death of James McGrath serves as a reminder of the dangers of underage drinking and the importance of responsible parenting. The Leifers have been arrested and charged for their role in the incident, and Raul Eliah Valle is facing murder and assault charges