Griswold murder trial: Defense presents one witness, Sergio Correa declines to take stand.

·4 min read

NEW LONDON – After nearly three weeks of continuous testimony, the evidentiary portion of a Griswold triple-murder trial ended on Monday without the defendant taking the stand.

Lawyers for the state and defense are slated to give their closing arguments on Thursday before the case is given to jurors who will decide whether 30-year-old Sergio Correa will be found guilty of murdering Kenneth, Janet and Matthew Lindquist just before or on Dec. 20, 2017 and burning their home down.

Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Stephen Carney rested Monday after adding several new reports to the state’s voluminous – more than 290 - items of evidence. Over the course of its case, prosecutors elicited testimony from dozens of law enforcement and other witnesses, including the adopted sister of the defendant, Ruth Correa, and his former girlfriend.

Sergio Correa, sits with his attorneys from the public defender's office in this file photo during a probable cause hearing in New London Superior Court Monday, July 22, 2019.
Sergio Correa, sits with his attorneys from the public defender's office in this file photo during a probable cause hearing in New London Superior Court Monday, July 22, 2019.

After just more than an hour, Correa’s defense team also rested their case after bringing forward one witness, a 38-year-old woman who served jail time with Correa’s sister for several months in 2018-19 while both were incarcerated in Niantic’s York Correctional Institution.

Erica Teal, who appeared under a subpoena, told Public Defender Corrie-Anne Mainville she had several conversations with Ruth Correa in York, usually during communal card games on the tier they shared.

Ruth Correa had previously been charged in connection with the Lindquists’ murders and faced related arson and home invasion charges. She struck a deal with the state to testify against her sibling in exchange for a recommended 40-year sentence on the three counts of murder she pleaded guilty to.

More: Sergio Correa 'made me stab him.' Sister testifies at Griswold triple murder trial.

Teal, whose felony burglary charges were still pending when she met Ruth Correa – she eventually pleaded guilty and served more than four years – said her fellow prisoner admitted going to the Lindquists’ Kenwood Estates home where a “deal went bad.”

Teal said her tier-mate stated in front of several inmates that she alone stabbed 21-year-old Matthew Lindquist to death with two of her brothers also present. No previous testimony or evidence has mentioned a third Correa sibling.

“She said she did the stabbing,” Teal said. “She said it was euphoric for her.”

Ruth Correa previously testified her brother “guided” her hand into stabbing the younger Lindquist and the two siblings both took part in the murder.

Teal said Ruth Correa also spoke about entering the Lindquist home and holding Janet Lindquist captive at gunpoint. She said Ruth Correa talked openly about washing her bloody clothes from the murders and keeping them as “souvenirs,” and using a golf club to kill the Lindquist’s 4-year-old golden retriever, Skylar.

Teal, who admitted being unsettled and frightened of Ruth Correa, said these alleged admissions were made with “no remorse and almost no emotion.”

The state contends Sergio Correa bludgeoned 56-year-old Kenneth Lindquist to death with a baseball bat and later murdered Janet Lindquist, 61, who died of blunt impact injuries, smoke inhalation and burns.

During cross-examination by Carney, Teal admitted it was difficult to parse through Ruth Correa’s statements as they were made over an extended period of time. Earlier in the day, Carney objected to allowing Teal to testify, calling her statements “hearsay on top of hearsay.”

Kenneth, Matthew, and Janet Lindquist.
Kenneth, Matthew, and Janet Lindquist.

Public defenders Joseph Lopez and Mainville brought Teal to the stand to buttress their case of “third-party culpability,” or one in which another individual, and not the defendant, is responsible for a crime. The testimony also sought to attack Ruth Correa’s credibility and to highlight possible inconsistencies in her testimony.

Sergio Correa speaks

After acknowledging he would not testify, Sergio Correa spoke more words publicly on Monday than in just about any other of his previous appearances combined as he responded succinctly to canvas questions by Judge Hunchu Kwak.

Sergio Correa said he understood he had no obligation to testify in his own defense and had weighed the pros and cons of such a decision.

The trial, which began on Nov. 12 and has proceeded much faster than participants initially predicted, is expected to be handed-off to a 12-person jury and its three alternates, on Thursday.

Correa faces 14 charges, including several counts of murder, in the case. If convicted on all charges, he faces a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

John Penney can be reached at jpenney@norwichbulletin.com or at (860) 857-6965

This article originally appeared on The Bulletin: State and defense rest their cases in Griswold triple-murder trial

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