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Probable cause found in Griswold triple murder; Correa pleads not guilty

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Sergio Correa is headed to trial in the murders of three members of the Lindquist family during what the state says was a horrific crime spree in Griswold on Dec. 20, 2017.

Judge Arthur C. Hadden, who listened to four days of testimony last week, found Wednesday in New London Superior Court that there is sufficient evidence to believe Correa committed nine crimes that would keep him in prison for the rest of his life if convicted, including murder with special circumstances, which is the statute that replaced capital murder after the death penalty was abolished.

Hadden also found there was probable cause to believe Correa committed arson murder, three counts of murder, three counts of felony murder and home invasion.

Correa additionally is charged with first-degree burglary, two counts of first-degree robbery and second-degree arson, charges that did not require a probable cause hearing.

Following the judge's finding, Correa stood up at the defense table and pleaded not guilty to all 13 charges.

The case is expected to go to trial sometime next year. Correa's adopted sister and co-defendant, Ruth Correa, 25, is cooperating with the state and has agreed to testify against him in exchange for a 40-year prison sentence. Both siblings are incarcerated.

Members of the Lindquist family, who had heard disturbing testimony about the deaths of Janet, Kenneth and Matthew Lindquist during last week's hearings, said they were glad this part of the case is over.

Sergio Correa's mother, Heather Santos, who came to court with several relatives, said she believes her son is innocent.

Correa, who turns 28 on Oct. 3, was on probation when he allegedly committed the crimes with his 25-year-old adopted sister Ruth. He had been released from prison months earlier, having served 10 years for crimes he committed as a 16-year-old: holding up a Chinese restaurant with a gun and shooting a man in the thigh during another attempted robbery.

He was living with his girlfriend and grandfather in Hartford when police say he made a deal with Matthew Lindquist, 21, who was addicted to opioids and living with his parents, Janet and Kenneth Lindquist, in the Kenwood Estates subdivision in Griswold.

Sergio Correa allegedly made the deal to provide Matthew with drugs in exchange for access to Kenneth Lindquist's gun safe. But when Sergio and Ruth Correa arrived in Griswold, Ruth testified last week that they met Matthew in a nearby cul-de-sac, stabbed him multiple times and left his body in a wooded area.

An autopsy report showed Matthew Lindquist incurred 50 to 60 stab wounds, according to State's Attorney Michael L. Regan.

Ruth testified at last week's hearing that the Correas then went to the Griswold home, where Sergio beat Kenneth and Janet Lindquist with a baseball bat and strangled Janet after humiliating her. Ruth Correa said she struck the family's golden retriever, Skylar, with a golf club, and the Correas set the home on fire after stealing guns, Christmas presents, electronics and other items.

The autopsy report showed that Janet and Kenneth Lindquist were bludgeoned, and that Kenneth's skull was partially separated. The medical examiner's report also indicates that Janet was still alive when the fire was set, according to Regan.

The Correas left Griswold in two cars, Ruth Correa testified, with Sergio driving Matt Lindquist's Saturn and Ruth in her brother's Mitsubishi Galant. Sergio Correa allegedly stopped in Glastonbury and torched the Saturn before they headed back to Hartford in his Galant.

His then-girlfriend, Tanisha Vicente, testified last week that Sergio showed her two long guns in the trunk of his car the next day. State police said they found a computer monitor in the car that contained fingerprints and DNA from Sergio and DNA from Kenneth Lindquist.

In arguing that the state provided sufficient evidence for a reasonable person to conclude these crimes occurred, Regan admitted Ruth Correa's testimony had been inconsistent, in places, with her prior statements, but said she's been consistent in her accusation that she and her brother intentionally caused the deaths of Matthew, Janet and Kenneth Lindquist.

The standard of proof required for the state to prevail at the probable cause hearing was that the evidence would warrant a person of reasonable caution to conclude there is more than mere speculation, but less than a preponderance of the evidence, that Correa committed the crimes.

To win at trial, the state would have to prove he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 


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