Warrant to remain sealed in Griswold triple murder/home invasion
The arrest warrant affidavit will remain sealed, at least through Oct. 26, in the case of a man charged with the murder of three members of the Lindquist family and burning down their home in Griswold during a crime spree on Dec. 20, 2017.
Superior Court Judge Hillary B. Strackbein granted the state's motion to seal for another 45 days the affidavit in the case of Sergio Correa over the objection of Hartford Courant crime reporter Dave Owens, during Correa's appearance Tuesday in New London Superior Court.
Owens cited the public's "broad right of access" to judicial proceedings under state law and the Connecticut Judicial Branch Practice Book, noting that "a judicial authority may enter such a seal order only if the judicial authority concludes that such order is necessary to preserve an interest which is determined to override the public's interest in viewing such materials."
State's Attorney Michael L. Regan had filed a motion requesting that the warrant remain sealed while the state continues to investigate the crimes and until Correa decides whether he wants to have a probable cause hearing. In Connecticut, all defendants charged with crimes that carry the possibility of a life sentence are entitled to such a hearing.
"There are witnesses that the state prefers don't see the affidavit until they testify," Regan said. He noted the Courant and other media have reported the general details of the case based on the unsealed warrant in the case of Correa's adopted sister, Ruth Correa, who also is charged in connection with the killing spree. He said there are a few specific facts in Sergio Correa's case that continue to be investigated and should remain sealed.
Strackbein granted the state's motion, citing the unusual nature of the case.
"I don't see any reason to even have a chance to compromise the investigation," she said.
Sergio Correa of Hartford, who will be 27 on Oct. 3, had entered the courtroom in his red prison jumpsuit and raised his cuffed hands to wave at two women and two children who were in the gallery. He stood between his two attorneys, Brian S. Carlow and Michael W. Brown, during the legal argument on the sealing of the warrant. Carlow said the defense received additional information on the case from the state and will review it as they continue to discuss with Correa whether to have a probable cause hearing. Should Correa opt for the hearing, which is sometimes referred to as a mini trial, the state would call witnesses in the case and put information into the court record in an effort to convince the judge there is enough evidence to prosecute Correa.
He is being held in lieu of $3.3 million bond at the Northern Correctional Institution on charges of murder with special circumstances, three counts of felony murder, first-degree robbery, first-degree arson and second-degree arson and home invasion. He also faces violation of probation charges, having been placed on probation just three months before the alleged crimes in Griswold. He had served a 10-year prison sentence for shootings and robberies he committed in Waterbury as a 16-year-old, according to court documents.
According to other public court documents, Sergio Correa arranged to meet Matthew Lindquist, 21, near the Lindquist family home. Instead of providing Lindquist with drugs in exchange for access to a gun safe in the home, as planned, Correa and his adopted sister, Ruth Correa, 24, fatally stabbed Lindquist and left his body in a wooded area, state police say.
State police say the siblings went to the Lindquist home, killed Lindquist's parents, 61-year-old Janet and 56-year-old Kenneth Lindquist, and set the house on fire before fleeing with guns, Matthew Lindquist's car and other items. The state further alleges that the Correas stopped in Glastonbury on their way back to Hartford and torched Matthew Lindquist's car.
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