Detective: DNA and fingerprints link Sergio Correa to Griswold crime scene

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The lead detective in the Griswold home invasion-murder case testified Wednesday in New London Superior Court that a computer monitor seized from suspect Sergio Correa's car contained DNA from victim Kenneth Lindquist, as well as latent fingerprints and DNA from Correa.

Detective Frank Cuoco from the state police Eastern District Major Crime Squad said the monitor was found in a Mitsubishi Galant, on the back seat of the car on the driver's side.

Cuoco testified under direct examination by State's Attorney Michael L. Regan on the third day of a probable causing hearing in Sergio Correa's case. Correa and his sister, Ruth, are accused of murdering Matthew Lindquist, 21, and his parents, Janet and Kenneth Lindquist, on Dec. 20, 2017, after Matthew, who was struggling with an opioid addiction, arranged to provide Sergio Correa access to his father's gun safe in exchange for drugs.

During the crime spree, the Correas allegedly stole electronics, housewares, Christmas gifts and other items from the family's ranch-style home at 70 Kenwood Estates before setting it on fire. Janet and Kenneth's remains were found at the home, and Matthew's body was discovered five months later in a wooded area nearby.

State police established the Correas as suspects early in their investigation but did not charge them until after they found Matthew's remains. His car had been stolen from the scene and torched in Glastonbury, and he had been considered a person of interest in the crimes.

Cuoco testified that detectives found the computer monitor while conducting a search on Jan. 7, 2018, at Troop E in Montville of the car seized from its owners, Sergio Correa and his girlfriend, Tanisha Vicento.

Eric Lindquist, whose brother and parents were killed in the crimes, looked at several items seized by the state police and identified the Hewlett Packard monitor as being "strongly correlated to a model in his father's office," Cuoco testified. Regan showed on a projector a photo, provided to police by Eric Lindquist, that showed Kenneth Lindquist in his office with the monitor.

Fingerprints from Sergio Correa's left middle finger and left ring finger, along with unidentified prints, were found on the monitor along with DNA compared with known samples taken from Sergio Correa and Kenneth Lindquist's body, according to Cuoco.

Under cross-examination, defense attorney Joseph E. Lopez asked if any other items, among the more than 200 seized in the case, contained Sergio Correa's DNA. Cuoco said he wasn't aware of any, but not all of the items have been tested. 

Lopez had spent hours cross-examining Ruth Correa on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. The sister, who faces the same charges as Sergio Correa, testified for the state under a cooperation agreement that will result in her being allowed to plead guilty in exchange for a 40-year-sentence. She described the crimes in detail, implicating herself as well as her brother.

Lopez called the cooperation agreement a "get out of jail someday card" as he conducted the prolonged questioning. Sergio Correa, his client, could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole if found guilty of the charges: murder with special circumstances, three counts of felony murder, first-degree robbery, first-degree arson, second-degree arson and home invasion.

Lopez introduced surveillance camera video clips showing Ruth Correa carrying into her Hartford apartment building what she admitted were stolen goods from the Lindquist home. He also introduced text messages between Ruth Correa and a male friend on the morning after the crime, in which the friend asked "how it went." Her response was, "According to plan."

"You planned this crime, didn't you?" Lopez asked. "No," she responded.

The hearing will resume on Thursday.

k.florin@theday.com

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