BOSTON (WPRI) — The Providence man convicted in the kidnapping death of a Boston woman nearly three years ago will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Louis Coleman, 36, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Tuesday for the murder of 23-year-old Jassy Correia.
United States District Court Judge Dennis Saylor described the sentence as one that Coleman “very much earned.” Saylor also ordered Coleman to pay restitution to Correia’s family.
Coleman was found guilty back in June following a month-long trial, during which prosecutors proved he abducted Correia from a Boston nightclub in February 2019.
Correia was out celebrating her birthday with friends when Coleman tricked her into getting in his car, according to prosecutors.
Coleman then brought Correia back to his Chestnut Street apartment in Providence, where he was seen in surveillance footage carrying her limp body into the building. Correia was never seen leaving the building in the days that followed.
Prosecutors said Coleman bought various supplies, including bleach, trash bags, duct tape, goggles and a suitcase at Walmart the next day. Coleman would later be spotted rolling the suitcase out of his apartment building.
Detectives were able to track Coleman’s car to Delaware, where he was stopped and taken into custody four days after Correia’s disappearance. Correia’s body was eventually found inside the suitcase in the trunk of Coleman’s car.
Prosecutors said Correia died of strangulation and suffered blunt force trauma to the head, torso, upper body and neck. Her autopsy also revealed that her BAC was three times the legal driving limit, and that she and Coleman had sexual intercourse.
The defense argued that Correia went willingly with Coleman, and her death was the result of a fight she initiated in the car on their way to his apartment.
But the jury didn’t buy it, and convicted Coleman on one count of kidnapping resulting in death. That charge could have carried a death sentence, however, prosecutors decided against seeking the death penalty for Coleman last year.
Both of Correia’s parents took the stand to share how their daughter’s death has drastically changed their lives.
Correia’s mother Salete Vicente Valadeiro fought back tears as she explained how Coleman not only took their daughter’s life, but he also destroyed their family.
“You are a heartless person,” Vicente Valadiero told Coleman through a translator. “You have no character and you are a monster to me.”
Her father, Joaquin Correia, expressed concern for his 5-year-old granddaughter, whose mother was ripped away from her.
“I have this profound pain because … she is soon going to turn 6,” Correia’s father said. “This is a moment where she is going to start asking questions about her mother.”
Coleman opted not to address the courtroom. He will serve out his sentence in Arizona, which is where his family lives.
First Assistant United States Attorney Joshua Levy said Correia’s family “will never be relieved by this sentence.”
“By his depravity and his horrific disregard for Ms. Correia’s life, Louis Coleman forfeited his right to live free in society,” Levy said. “To this day, Louis Coleman has shown no remorse.”
David Hoose, Coleman’s attorney, said he will be appealing the decision, describing his client as “a bright, intelligent young man who had a great future ahead of him.”
“It’s difficult to explain or for anyone to understand what happened that night,” Hoose said. “Two troubled people’s lives intersected with a horrific result.”