Crime

Alleged kidnapper’s DNA was found on Jassy Correia, FBI specialist says

Here's the latest from the trial of Louis Coleman III.

AP
Louis D. Coleman III. Delaware Department of Justice via AP, File
Jassy Correia

Louis Coleman III’s semen was discovered on the body of Jassy Correia, the woman Coleman stands accused of kidnapping resulting in her death, an FBI forensic specialist said Wednesday in a federal court in Boston.

The detail came as prosecutors rested their case following eight days of testimony. They presented a range of evidence, from video footage showing how Coleman allegedly dragged Correia’s body into his Providence apartment to his online search history in the days that followed her disappearance, The Boston Herald reports.

Correia allegedly left a downtown nightclub with Coleman in February 2019, five days before police stopped him on Interstate 95 in Delaware with Correia’s body in his trunk. He faces a mandatory life sentence in prison.

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Earlier this week, Delaware state troopers recalled that moment in court, describing how they discovered Correia’s body in a suitcase.

“I felt around over the plastic bag and it felt like — it felt like human remains,” one trooper said.

On Wednesday, the manager of an FBI forensic lab testified vaginal swab samples collected from Correia’s body detected what is very likely Coleman’s semen, according to the Herald.

The day before, FBI agents described the online searches Coleman made in the days after the alleged kidnapping, including “Can a person fit in a suitcase” and “How to pull tooth out that is not lose (sic),” according to Boston 25 News.

But Coleman’s legal team has argued the evidence presented by the government has little to no relevance in the charge against Coleman.

“It is not a case about whether he handled himself properly after her death, whether he did things that were illegal, inappropriate after that. And that, frankly, has been where the bulk of the government’s evidence has laid,” attorney David Hoose said, according to the Herald. “I would suggest that none of these things are determinant of the elements of the kidnapping allegation.”

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Authorities determined in 2019 that Correia died from strangulation and blunt force trauma. But investigators have not shown evidence of when Correia was killed, according to Boston 25 News.

Hoose said the court should enter a judgement of acquittal — a motion denied by Judge Dennis Saylor IV, the Herald reports.

Saylor said there was evidence that a reasonable jury could still use to convict Coleman. The newspaper reports that the judge offered the jury could determine Coleman led Correia to his car that night for his own sexual pleasure.

Saylor added that since Coleman’s DNA was not found in Correia’s mouth, “a lengthy romantic kissing interlude” likely did not happen before Correia’s DNA entered other areas of her body, according to the Herald.

Before Coleman drove off from Boston that night, the two were in the parked car for about 14 minutes — a period of time when there was most likely the chance for there to have been a confrontation between Correia and Coleman, Saylor said.

Investigators later discovered cracks in the windshield, bruises and lacerations on Correia, and what were likely bite marks on Coleman’s forearm and face, according to the Herald.

Prosecutors have said Coleman’s DNA was found under Correia’s fingertips as well.

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The defense began making its case by calling to the stand its own investigator to review surveillance footage, the Herald reports. There is a chance Coleman could testify on Friday, according to the newspaper.

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