BOSTON — The United States Attorney's Office has charged Louis Coleman III in connection with the death of Jassy Correia with kidnapping resulting in death. Officials made the announcement at a news conference at Boston's Moakley Federal Courthouse Sunday.
The federal charge brings with it a penalty of mandatory life in prison and is death penalty eligible, according to officials who spoke at Sunday's press conference.
That means Coleman will be transported to appear in federal court in Boston.
Investigators: charges against Louis Coleman death penalty eligible. Video/receipt from RI Walmart shows Coleman bought 3 Tyvek suits, duct tape, candles, electrical tape, mask, gloves, safety goggles, respirator, & bleach 2 days after Jassy Correia’s disappearance #Boston25 pic.twitter.com/bkR0pl9BMD— Drew Karedes (@DrewKaredes) March 3, 2019
Coleman, 32, of Providence, R.I. was taken into custody Thursday afternoon in Delaware in connection with the disappearance and death of Correia.
US Attorney Andrew Lelling said the preliminary findings show Correia died from blunt force trauma and strangulation.
Providence Police Chief says, in addition to BPD’s tireless work, detectives in RI “have not stopped” pursuing justice for Jassy Correia as “if it were a family member”. Authorities say Correia appears to have suffered blunt force trauma, strangulation #Boston25 pic.twitter.com/j8tbsDF3Gd— Drew Karedes (@DrewKaredes) March 3, 2019
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There is still no word on a motive behind the alleged abduction.
Investigators also say there is "probable cause" that the suspect killed Correia. At this point in the investigation, law enforcement says that Coleman and Correia likely did not know each other before the night in question.
U.S. Attorney’s Office: surveillance video from Louis Coleman’s Providence apt building shows 32 y/o carrying body w/ long hair. Coleman seen dropping victim on floor, dragging body toward elevator & then toward apt unit #Boston25 pic.twitter.com/FfzgaUFOcw— Drew Karedes (@DrewKaredes) March 3, 2019
Surveillance from Boston’s Theatre District, near Venu nightclub, in the early morning hours of Sunday, Feb. 24, captures the initial moments before Correia disappeared.
Around 2:15 a.m., Jassy Correia gets into a red car driven by Coleman. About two hours later, surveillance from Coleman’s apartment building in Providence captures their arrival. But something had happened to Jassy.
A criminal complaint describes Coleman walking into the building carrying a body with long hair.
Coleman reportedly put the victim on the floor and dragged her to the building's elevator.
“It appears, preliminar[il]y, she died from blunt force trauma and strangulation," Lelling said. “It appears she put up a struggle.
Lelling said there were cracks in the windshield of Correia's car on the passenger side but officials do not know they were due to a struggle in the car.
Investigators now say they believe Coleman had Correia's body in his apartment for nearly four days.
Documents allege, during that time, surveillance footage and a receipt from a Providence Walmart shows he purchased a list of items, including three Tyvek suits, duct and electrical tape, a mask, surgical gloves, an odor respirator and bleach
In the early morning hours of Feb. 28, Coleman was seen wheeling a suitcase out of the building and lifting it into the trunk of his car, according to officials.
Nearly 12 hours later, he was stopped by state troopers in Delaware. When Coleman was asked if anyone else was in the car, Coleman reportedly said, "She’s in the trunk."
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Those troopers uncovering a gruesome and heartbreaking find: Jassy’s unclothed body bound in duct tape, stuffed in a suitcase. Her remains were allegedly wrapped in a sofa cushion, then covered in plastic bag.
During Coleman's subsequent booking in Delaware, a trooper asked him about a cut on his face.
"It's from the girl," Coleman allegedly replied.
Officials also revealed they found numerous items in Coleman's car, including a duffle bag; a pair loppers; garbage bags; a plastic gas container and a butane lighter; charcoal air purifiers and air fresheners; and a laptop and computer hard-drive/tower.
"If we all begin to look out for each other as a city, we can send a message to predators that people are watching you," said Boston Police Commissioner William Gross. "That we are not going to tolerate this in our city.
"We will work this case until the very end, and we will bring justice for Jassy."
Investigators say federal charges are being filed because the investigation involves three states and the penalties available in federal court.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says those charges are being brought here in Boston because it's where Jassy is from and where she was taken, so authorities believe this is where justice should be done.
It could take up to two weeks for Coleman to be transported back to Boston to appear in court.
A timeline of Jassy Correia's disappearance
Details included in the criminal complaint allege that surveillance footage helped detectives establish a timeline from Correia's disappearance in Boston to Coleman's arrest in Delaware.
Sunday, Feb. 24
2:14 a.m. - Surveillance video shows Jassy Correia on the sidewalk near the Venu nightclub in Boston and a male approaching and interacting with her two minutes later. The two then walk together and allegedly leave the area. They both get into a red sedan and drive away.
4:15 a.m. - Video surveillance from near Coleman's apartment in Providence shows the red sedan entering the building's parking lot. Coleman then exits car, returns with a blanket, and allegedly walks from the car to the front of the building "carrying a body with long hair and orange pants."
4:27 a.m. - Video surveillance from the lobby of the apartment building shows Coleman carrying a woman's body. He then puts the woman on the floor and drags her to the elevator. The affidavit notes that she was not moving and her body was limp.
4:29 a.m. - Video surveillance from the sixth-floor hallway allegedly shows Coleman getting out of the elevator and dragging the victim to towards his apartment.
Tuesday, Feb. 26
5:30 p.m. -- Jassy Correia is reported missing to police.
Video surveillance from that day (the exact time was not detailed in the affidavit) shows Coleman returning to the apartment building with a Walmart bag, later determined through a receipt to contain items including three Tyvek suits, duct tape, a respirator and bleach. Coleman is also allegedly seen on surveillance at a Walmart when the purchase was made.
Wednesday, Feb. 27
9:58 p.m. -- Video surveillance allegedly shows Coleman entering apartment building with a large suitcase.
Thursday, Feb. 28
1:15 a.m. - Video surveillance allegedly shows Coleman wheeling the suitcase from the apartment to the elevator, then exiting the elevator and wheeling it to the parking lot. He then puts the suitcase in the trunk.
2:44 - 4:02 a.m. - Surveillance footage allegedly shows Coleman bringing other items, including trash bags, bleach, a computer tower and a duffle bag from building to the car.
Officials execute a search warrant at Coleman's apartment.
2:45 p.m. - Coleman is stopped by Delaware State Police near Wilmington, Delaware, in the red sedan. Coleman is ordered out of the vehicle and when asked if anyone else is in the car, Coleman allegedly tells the trooper "She's in the trunk." Officers find the suitcase containing the remains of Jassy Correia in the trunk.
Coleman is then taken into custody and booked at the Delaware State Police barracks.
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