BOSTON (WPRI) — After a delay due to a surge in COVID-19, a jury is now hearing the case of a Providence man accused in the kidnapping and death of a Boston woman.
Louis Coleman is charged with kidnapping resulting in death in the 2019 slaying of Jassy Correia. He has pleaded not guilty.
After the 15-member jury was finalized, lawyers for the prosecution and defense delivered their opening statements on Tuesday.
Police allege that Coleman took Correia, who was out celebrating her 23rd birthday, from a nightclub in Boston on Feb. 24, 2019, and brought her to his Providence apartment.
Federal prosecutors claim Coleman took Correia against her will, while the defense says the young mother went willingly.
Prosecutors shared surveillance photos of Coleman and Correia leaving the club and getting into his vehicle. Surveillance video then showed Coleman carrying a “body with long hair and orange pants” that was “naked from the waist up” into his Chestnut Street apartment.
They say Coleman bought bleach, trash bags, baking soda, a gasoline tank and a suitcase from Walmart the next day.
The courtroom went silent Tuesday as images of those items were shown, along with surveillance footage of Coleman rolling the suitcase out of his building.
When Correia was reported missing, both Providence and Boston police went to Coleman’s apartment.
Four days later, police were able to track the vehicle he was driving using OnStar Navigation. He was stopped in Delaware, with Correia’s body in the trunk.
The car’s windshield was cracked, and prosecutors say it appears Correia put up a fight.
When Coleman was arrested, police said he had a large bandage on the right side of his face. When asked about it, he reportedly told police: “It’s from the girl.”
Prosecutors say Correia died of strangulation and suffered blunt force injury to the head, torso, upper body and neck. An autopsy revealed her blood alcohol levels were three times the legal driving limit in Massachusetts. It also showed that she and Coleman had sexual intercourse.
The charge of kidnapping resulting in death carries either the death penalty or a life sentence. Last year prosecutors declined to seek the death penalty against him.
The victim’s brother, Joel Correia, said he’s confident his sister will get justice.
“I’m the last person she spoke to when she went out that night,” he said. “So for me, I remember all those text messages and calling me to go out the next week. It’s just kind of breaking me now.”
Correia said it was difficult for him and his family to see the images from that fateful night.
“It feels like it just happened right now, and it’s totally different, what you hear with everything that happened, and for now, you see it,” he added. “We can’t do anything about it. We just wait for it because basically, even with justice, she’s not going to come back.”