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Medical examiner describes Kenneth Lindquist's shattered skull as Griswold triple murder trial continues

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Kenneth Lindquist's skull was shattered into more than 30 pieces the night he was murdered, according to autopsy photos shown in New London Superior Court on Thursday during the trial for the man accused of delivering the fatal blows. 

During clinical yet gruesome testimony, medical examiner Dr. Dollette T. White used a life-size model of a skull and brain to show where Lindquist was struck — with what she said was likely a rounded, blunt object — over and over again, breaking off the top of his skull and shattering the rest into fragments, some of which were never found in the rubble of his family's charred home.

Lindquist, his wife, Janet, and their 21-year-old son Matthew were all killed during a home invasion turned arson on Dec. 20, 2017, that ended with their Griswold home being reduced to ashes. Sergio Correa, 30, of Hartford faces 14 charges in connection to their deaths and the hours of mayhem unleashed on the family.

White, associate medical examiner with the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, testified Thursday that Kenneth Lindquist's skull was fractured repeatedly and that his remains were "fragmented" or "incomplete" when found. His face and torso, she said, were burned down to the bone, while all or parts of his limbs were completely disintegrated.

All of his head injuries — including bleeding in and around his brain — were consistent with "blunt impact trauma." And they were all the result of a violent assault by another person.

Correa sat quietly beside his lawyers as White described the extensive injuries Kenneth Lindquist suffered, just feet away from the surviving members of the Lindquist family sitting in the gallery. Some family members looked directly at the screen as photos of Kenneth's scorched remains were shown, while others looked at the floor.

Two weeks ago, Sergio Correa's adoptive sister Ruth Correa — who is charged as an accomplice in the murders — testified that she watched her brother beat Kenneth Lindquist's head with a baseball bat. While being pummeled with questions by her brother's defense attorney Joseph Lopez, Ruth Correa described how she heard Mr. Lindquist's skull cracking.

Senior Assistant State's Attorney Thomas DeLillo on Thursday asked White if Kenneth Lindquist's injuries could have been caused by a baseball bat. She said it "depends on the size of the bat" but it was possible.

In a brief cross-examination, Correa's attorney asked White if Kenneth Lindquist could have been struck by a golf club, rather than a bat. White said that also was possible. Ruth Correa previously testified that she went to the Lindquist home armed with a golf club, which she used to strike the family's dog, Skylar, in the head. She testified that she struck the dog so hard, the golf club broke.

The Correa siblings are charged with setting fire to the family's house at 70 Kenwood Estates and later Matthew's car, in an attempt to conceal their crimes.

White said that based on the autopsy, Kenneth Lindquist was dead by the time the fire was started. She said there were no traces of soot in his airway and his carbon monoxide levels were normal.

She also said his injuries and death were definitely not the result of being caught in a house fire. The injuries to his skull, she said, are "never ever seen in a fire unless there is a traumatic event."

The trial is scheduled to continue Friday morning, when medical examiners are expected to take the stand again to detail the autopsies performed on Janet and Matthew Lindquist. Matthew's body was found in the woods in Griswold months after he was stabbed to death.

Correa's case is being heard by Judge Hunchu Kwak in New London Superior Court Part A, where major crimes are heard.

t.hartz@theday.com

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