Sister blows kisses to relatives, pleads not guilty in Griswold triple murder, home invasion

Sergio Correa and Ruth Correa, both suspects in the triple murder, home invasion and arson case in Griswold on Dec. 20, 2017, in which Matthew Lindquist, 21, and his parents, Kenneth and Janet Lindquist, were brutally killed, are seen in this composite image. (Courtesy of the Connecticut Department of Correction)
Sergio Correa and Ruth Correa, both suspects in the triple murder, home invasion and arson case in Griswold on Dec. 20, 2017, in which Matthew Lindquist, 21, and his parents, Kenneth and Janet Lindquist, were brutally killed, are seen in this composite image. (Courtesy of the Connecticut Department of Correction)

The young woman implicated in the deadliest home invasion-murder case in Connecticut since three family members were murdered in their Cheshire home in 2007 blew kisses Tuesday to her relatives who watched her second court appearance from the front row of a New London courtroom.

Ruth Correa, 23, of Hartford stood between the two veteran attorneys from the public defender's office who will be handling her case. She waived her right to a probable cause hearing and pleaded not guilty to murdering three members of the Lindquist family and burning down their Griswold home with her brother, Sergio Correa, on Dec. 20, 2017.

She has been held at the Janet S. York Correctional Institution in lieu of a $2.5 million bond since state police charged her last month with murder with special circumstances, which is the new terminology for capital cases now that Connecticut no longer has the death penalty, and with three counts of felony murder, home invasion, first-degree arson and first-degree robbery.

During her brief court appearance, she stood between attorneys M. Fred DeCaprio and Kevin C. Barrs from the public defender's office and quietly answered a couple of questions to convince the judge she understood the proceedings. As a defendant charged with crimes that carry the possibility of a life sentence, she is entitled within 60 days of her arrest to a probable cause hearing at which the prosecutor, Michael L. Regan, would have to prove there is enough evidence to prosecute the case.

Now that she waived the hearing and entered a plea, the attorneys for the state and defense will continue to collect and review evidence, a process known as discovery. Eventually, negotiations will begin to determine if the case can be resolved short of trial.

The legal proceedings that follow likely will pit brother against sister. In an interview with state police, Ruth Correa said Sergio is not her biological brother but the two were raised together in the same home in Hartford. Fresh out of prison after serving a 10-year sentence for armed robbery and other crimes, Sergio Correa allegedly "hit her up" and asked her to join him on Dec. 20. She said the brother told her as they drove about an hour from home that a guy owed him money and he was going to pretend to give the guy drugs and get guns. Sergio told his sister she would be pretending to pick the lock to the gun safe, she said. Until then, she said she thought she was only going to be driving.

Ruth Correa has no previous criminal record but, a few days after Janet and Kenneth Lindquist's bodies were found in the remains of a fire at their Griswold home, a security guard in her Hartford apartment building said she bragged that she liked to spike men's drinks with drugs and rob them.

The security guard told state police Correa, who had approached him in a hallway, went on to confide that she and her brother "Gio" killed Matthew Lindquist after he panicked, left his body by a lake and entered his parents' home in the Kenwood Estates subdivision. She admitted they killed Janet and Kenneth Lindquist before setting their house on fire and leaving with stolen goods. The security guard said he went on the internet to read about the fire and saw a photograph of Matthew Lindquist, whom he recognized from two prior visits to the apartment building.

Detectives had named Matthew Lindquist as a person of interest after finding his parents' bodies in the family home and hearing from others that the 21-year-old struggled with a drug addiction and had relapsed. On May 11, six days after the body of Matthew Lindquist was discovered by a dog walker near the family home, detectives spoke to Ruth Correa, who described the events of Dec. 20 in grisly detail.

She was arrested last month, followed by her brother on Monday. Sergio Correa smiled at his arraignment and declared as he was led out of the courtroom that his sister was not telling the truth.

"By the way, she's lying," he said.

Ruth Correa's next court date is July 11. Sergio Correa returns to court on July 9.

k.florin@theday.com

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