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Medical examiner: Matthew Lindquist was stabbed 67 times in Griswold attack

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After being chased into the woods on a cold December night, Matthew Lindquist was stabbed 67 times, causing stab, slice and 'chop' wounds across his body, according to a medical examiner who testified Friday in New London Superior Court.

The youngest Lindquist, 21, was stabbed in the head, face, chest, back, arms and a leg, said Dr. Maura Dejoseph of the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The blow to his head was delivered with such force that it was classified as the most extreme of sharp force wounds, "a chop wound," meaning the weapon not only cut him, but chipped the bone of his skull, she said.

The stab wounds, 39 of which were to his back, also pierced his rib cage, heart and lungs.

Dejoseph took the stand Friday in the trial of Sergio Correa, the 30-year-old Hartford man who faces 14 charges in the deaths of Matthew Lindquist and his parents, Janet and Kenneth Lindquist, during a home invasion, robbery and arson in Griswold nearly four years ago. She performed autopsies on Matthew Lindquist and his mother and was the second medical examiner to testify in the trial — on Thursday Dr. Dollette White, of the same office, described how Kenneth Lindquist's skull was shattered into more than 30 pieces.

Together with his adoptive sister Ruth Correa, Sergio Correa is charged with going to the Lindquists' house on Dec. 19, 2017, as part of a plot to give Matthew Lindquist heroin in exchange for his father's gun safe.

Ruth Correa, who is charged as an accomplice in the crimes and took the stand against her brother two weeks ago as part of a plea deal, told a jury that shortly after Matthew Lindquist met them in a cul-de-sac near his parents' Griswold home, he took off into the woods. Her brother, she said, chased after him and attacked him with a machete.

Ruth Correa told the jury that her brother had whacked Matthew Lindquist on the back of the head with the machete. Her brother looked to her and told her to "get him." Then he took her hand and "made me stab him," she said.

Senior Assistant State's Attorney Thomas DeLillo on Friday showed the jury gruesome photos of Matthew Lindquist's body, which had begun to decompose and "mummify" by the time it was found in the woods by a man who was walking his dog five months after the murders. In the photos, his hands and feet were covered in brown bags sealed with red evidence tape.

Dejoseph explained that Matthew Lindquist's largest head injury, which fractured and chipped his skull, was likely caused by a heavy object. "Typically to result in a fracture and deformation of the bone, it's something with a bit more weight to it, something to deliver a heavy blow as it cuts," she said.

A toxicology report showed that Matthew had morphine in his system at the time of his death, which Dejoseph said meant he had taken either morphine or heroin, which over time breaks down into morphine in the body. He also had traces of what was likely the remnants of suboxone, a substance given to people to help with opioid addiction.

His death was ruled a homicide caused by sharp force injuries to his head, torso and extremities, Dejoseph said.

Dejoseph also testified about an autopsy she performed on Janet Lindquist, who she said suffered at least two head wounds that were serious enough to be fatal. But before she died from those wounds, which could have been potentially survivable, she began to breathe in smoke as her home burned to the ground.

"It was a combination of both, she had the head injuries first," Dejoseph said. The injuries were severe and caused bleeding in her head.

"While that was ongoing, she began to inhale smoke," she said. "We know that she was alive during the fire."

During cross-examination by Correa's defense attorney Joseph M. Lopez, Dejoseph testified that Janet Lindquist's hyoid bone was not broken, an injury that is commonly seen when someone is strangled. When asked by DeLillo, Dejoseph said that she has seen cases before in which a person was strangled and that bone remained intact.

Judge Hunchu Kwak is presiding over Correa's case in New London Superior Court Part A, where major crimes are heard. The trial is scheduled to continue Monday morning, when state prosecutors are expected to rest their case.

t.hartz@theday.com

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