The surviving members of the Lindquist family had marked their calendars for Wednesday as they planned to return to New London for the sentencing of Sergio Correa – the final trial date, for now, in the gut-wrenching years-long case against the man who murdered their relatives.
A jury found Correa guilty on Dec. 14 – almost four years to the day after his deadly crime spree in Griswold – of 13 of the 14 charges he faced in the murders of Kenneth, Janet and Matthew Lindquist.
But any justice they hoped to see served on Wednesday must wait.
Correa’s sentencing has been pushed back more than a month to April 19 due to COVID-19. Assistant Attorney General Stephen M. Carney, who was pursuing the case, tested positive for coronavirus causing the disease last week and was unable to return to court in time for sentencing due to persistent symptoms, he said.
“We were very fortunate to make it through jury selection and trial without significant COVID-19 delays,” Carney said Wednesday, still in quarantine. “It is a pity that now that we are at the sentencing, we have had this experience, but it should be resolved before long.”
Senior Assistant Attorney General Thomas DeLillo, who was pursuing the case along with Carney and Assistant Attorney General Marissa Goldberg, on Monday filed a motion to request the continuation of reasons related to COVID-19.
Correa’s trial was originally scheduled to begin on March 16, 2020, a few days before the state’s Supreme Court administrator announced that jury trials across the country would be suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Court closures pushed his trial back by 20 months. He first met a jury in November 2021.
Correa’s was the first post-pandemic jury trial.
The selection of the jury for the case took six weeks, with lawyers on both sides asking potential jurors whether they were comfortable in court given the pandemic, whether they were comfortable wearing a face mask or a shield for an extended period of time, and whether they believed their concerns would change if pandemic-related restrictions and security measures were changed.
Masks and face shields were worn throughout most of the trial, with plastic partitions set up throughout the courtroom for added protection.
The jury found Correa guilty of stabbing Matthew Lindquist to death in the woods, smashing Kenneth Lindquist’s skull with a baseball bat and beating and strangling Janet Lindquist; stealing family Christmas presents, cash, household items, jewelry and a car; and burned the family home to the grounds on December 20, 2017.
He was convicted of 13 charges, including a charge of murder with special circumstances, which carries the harshest punishment a person can face in Connecticut: life in prison without the possibility of parole. He risks that punishment plus another 105 years in prison.
Correa is now to be tried in New London Superior Court Part A, where major crimes will be heard, at. 10.00 on 19 April.
His sister Ruth Correa, who testified against him in exchange for a prosecutor, has been convicted of complicity in the murders and faces a 40-year prison sentence. Her sentencing in Part A court is scheduled for at. 10 on March 28th.