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Defense, prosecutors rest cases in Correa trial

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A former inmate took the stand Monday and said that while playing a game of cards in a prison rec-room with her, Ruth Correa “showed no remorse or emotion” as she reminisced about the “euphoric” state she was in after stabbing Matthew Lindquist to death in a wooded area of Griswold in 2017. 

Erica Teal, who said Ruth Correa confessed to unleashing hours of mayhem on the Lindquist family in Griswold in 2017 “with her brothers” was the first and only witness called to the stand by Sergio Correa’s defense team over the course of his triple murder trial.

Attorneys for both the defense and prosecution rested their cases in New London Superior Court on Monday morning after three weeks of often gruesome testimony about the three murders.

Correa, who had remained silent for his entire trial, addressed the court saying he forfeited his right to take the stand. He faces 14 charges in connection with the deaths of Kenneth, Janet and Matthew Lindquist on Dec. 20, 2017, and may be sentenced to more than life in prison if he is found guilty. 

His fate now lies in the hands of the jurors, who are expected to start deliberating later this week.

For days, prosecutors presented evidence from medical examiners, forensic examiners, detectives, state police troopers and the defendant’s adopted sister, Ruth Correa, who painted a picture of her brother as the mastermind behind the deadly crime spree after a plot to trade guns for drugs went horribly wrong. 

Correa’s defense team spent less than an hour presenting evidence Monday after the state rested its case. The only witness it called was Teal, whose charges in a felony burglary case were pending when she met Ruth Correa at the York Correctional Institution in Niantic. 

Teal, who told defense attorney Corrie-Ann Mainville that she did not want to be there and did not want to testify on Monday, recalled meeting Ruth Correa in jail and often playing cards with her to pass the time. She said Ruth Correa told her the story of the night when a “deal went bad” between one of her brothers and a boy whose name Teal didn’t know.

Teal said that Ruth Correa "went into detail a little bit about how she participated in the murders," telling her that she stabbed someone "in the woods up in Griswold and then went into the house."

She said she was calm and showed no emotion as she recounted the crimes, and that she had felt "euphoric" after the stabbing.

Teal said she didn't remember how many times Ruth Correa said she stabbed 21-year-old Matthew Lindquist, but that "it was like 50ish." She said that she didn't go into much detail about Kenneth and Janet Lindquist's deaths, but said that "she was the one who watched over or held the mother [Janet Lindquist] captive while other stuff went down in the house.

She also testified that Ruth Correa had told her that she kept the clothes she wore the night of the murders "as a souvenir." 

Ruth Correa, who is charged as an accomplice in the murders, signed a plea agreement with the state this summer. She agreed to testify against her brother in exchange for a suggested sentence of 40 years in prison. 

When she took the stand in November, she testified that her brother Sergio Correa took her hand and forced her to stab Matthew Lindquist repeatedly after he had struck him in the back of the head with a machete. A medical examiner last week testified that Matthew Lindquist had 67 chop, stab and slice wounds all over his body. His body was left in the woods, where it remained for five months until a man came across it while walking his dog the following spring. 

Teal also testified Monday that Ruth Correa told her she hit and killed a dog to keep it quiet during the home invasion at the Lindquists'. 

While being peppered with questions during two days of testimony, Ruth Correa had testified that she struck the Lindquist family dog Skylar over the head with a golf club so hard that the golf club broke. She said she and her brother then locked Skylar in a bedroom before setting the house on fire.

In a brief cross-examination Monday, Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Stephen M. Carney asked Teal what she thought of Ruth Correa when they were in prison together.

“She was, as these prisoners go, a little on the scary side?” he asked. Teal agreed that she was afraid of Ruth Correa and that she found the stories she shared unsettling. 

On Thursday, state prosecutors and Correa’s defense team are scheduled to deliver their closing statements to the jury.

t.hartz@theday.com

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