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    Tuesday, June 18, 2024

    Man in prison for Griswold triple murder files latest appeal

    Sergio Correa, flanked by his defense team; Joseph E. Lopez Sr., Jessica Luu-Missios and Maureen Murphy from the public defender's office, appears in court Monday, July 22, 2019. Correa's defense team is seeking a judicial review of mental health and child welfare records for Sergio Correa's adoptive sister Ruth Correa, who is likely to be a key witness in for the prosecution in the murder case against Sergio Correa in the murders of three members of the Lindquist family in Griswold in 2017. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
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    New London ― Sergio Correa, the Hartford man sentenced to life in prison for brutally killing a Griswold couple and their son and then burning their house down, has filed another appeal in his quest for a new trial.

    Correa’s “motion to correct an illegal sentence” was filed in New London Superior Court on May 15 and is the latest in a series of appeals by the 32-year-old inmate at Cheshire Correction Institution.

    Correa’s motion, which was filed from prison, claims his sentence of life without the possibility of parole plus 105 years was “double punishment,” in violation of State v. Chicano, a case involving a defendant whose conviction was overturned because he claimed he was prosecuted more than once for the same offense.

    New London Superior Court Judge John M. Newson has scheduled a May 23 hearing on the motion and is expected to consider Correa’s request for a public defender to represent him.

    In 2021, Correa was convicted at trial on 13 charges, including murder, home invasion, arson and robbery, for killing Griswold couple Kenneth and Janet Lindquist and their 21-year-old son Matthew.

    The killings occurred on the night of Dec. 19, 2017, when Correa and his sister Ruth traveled to the Lindquists’ home in the Kenwood Estates neighborhood and met up with Matthew Lindquist, a relapsing heroin addict, as part of a plot to exchange Matthew Lindquist’s father’s guns for heroin from the Correas.

    Instead, investigators said the Correa siblings chased Matthew Lindquist with a machete into the nearby woods, where they stabbed him more than 60 times and left him for dead. The two then entered the Lindquists’ home, beat and bludgeoned the couple and their dog, burglarized the home and set the house on fire. Matthew Lindquist’s body was found five months after his parents.

    Ruth Correa is serving a 40-year prison sentence and secured leniency in exchange for testimony against her adoptive brother.

    Sergio Correa is challenging his sentence on multiple fronts. The state Office of the Chief Public Defender is representing him in a pending case before the state Appellate Court where he is challenging everything from how the jurors were instructed prior to deliberations to whether certain evidence should have been suppressed at trial.

    That appeal was filed in July 2022 and there is an 832-page brief on file from Assistant Public Defender Jennifer Smith. She declined comment on the appeal.

    Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Ronald G. Weller, who is handling the appeal for the state, filed a motion on April 22 asking for an extension of time to file a legal brief.

    “This case involves a month-long triple murder trial of the defendant, who was charged with numerous offenses. The transcripts in this case total almost 6,000 pages. The undersigned is finishing the transcripts, which contain extensive pertinent legal arguments,” Weller wrote.

    In January, Correa filed a civil petition for a new trial in New London Superior Court, claiming his due process was violated when the state did not hand over supposed evidence that would have proven Matthew Lindquist was alive in Hartford after the murder of his parents.

    Sergio Correa at one point filed a civil suit against his sister claiming “defamation of character.” He filed a separate civil suit against a Department of Correction administrator, claiming his constitutional rights were violated by a lack of access to Freedom of Information materials while in prison. Both of those cases were dismissed, court records show.

    Sergio Correa also has a pending habeas corpus claim against the state Commissioner of Correction, a civil action that also seeks a new trial. Hearings are scheduled for February 2025 in the habeas case.


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