A homeless ex-convict accused of killing a 56-year-old woman in a parking garage near a suburban mall told police that he was fighting a race war and killed her because she was white.

The man, Phillip Grant, 43, appeared at a court hearing Tuesday in shackles and a bulletproof vest. In a 45-minute videotape played during the hearing, Grant told police, "All I knew was she had blond hair and blue eyes and she had to die."

Grant, who is black, claimed Connie Russo-Carriero (search) "was not an innocent victim — because she was white."

Russo-Carriero, a legal secretary and mother of two grown children, was stabbed to death last Wednesday afternoon while walking to her car at a parking garage next to the Galleria Mall. She was buried Tuesday.

Grant was charged with second-degree murder and weapon possession. Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro said he could also be charged with a hate crime.

On the tape, Grant, a convicted rapist, said he was sick of being harassed on the street for being a registered sex offender. He also complained that Westchester County (search) never helped him with his mental problems.

He also told police he was not remorseful for the killing and would hurt white people again if he could.

He told the judge in court Tuesday that he had wanted a journalist and his lawyer at the videotaping but they weren't there.

The judge ordered the case to go before a grand jury.

Grant served more than 20 years in prison and is labeled as a "level 3" sex offender, the most serious classification.