Early on a Sunday morning in February 2019, Gacy Correa walked out of a nightclub after a night of celebrating her 23rd birthday in Boston’s theater district and drove into a red sedan.
Five days later, when police stopped the same Buick on Interstate 95 in Delaware, Correa’s body was inside a bag in the trunk.
The authorities determined that Correa died of suffocation and blunt force shock.
Lewis Coleman III, the providence man behind the wheel, who authorities claim left the area outside the Vino nightclub with Correia, is now charged with kidnapping, resulting in death – a federal charge that carries a mandatory life sentence.
Coleman’s trial began Tuesday in Boston federal court, with Assistant US Attorney Eliana Nozum telling jurors that Correa had been kidnapped, sexually assaulted and killed by Coleman, the Guardian reported. Boston Globe.
Nosom said Coleman’s DNA was detected in Coria’s vagina, rectum, and under her fingernails.
David Hoss, Coleman’s attorney, confirmed that his client was not guilty of kidnapping and told the jurors that they should focus only on this charge, because Coleman was not facing anyone else, Globe reports.
To convict Coleman, prosecutors must only prove that Coleman kidnapped Correa, resulting in her death, and traveled across state lines. Prosecutors decided, in November, that they would not seek Coleman’s execution.
Hoose, Coleman, said, “It is more than a horrific chain of events that occurred in the early morning hours of February 24, 2019.
“No one wants to know or remember the worst thing in their life,” Hughes added.
Nozoom said a video clip, released in court on Wednesday, shows Correa fell to the ground outside a nightclub after an Uber driver pushed her out of a car as she entered the car designated for another person.
Coleman approached Correa and grabbed her hand—a moment that shows Coleman “isn’t the type who would stand idly by when a woman needs help on a cold Boston night,” Hughes said.
Correa said I got into Coleman’s car voluntarily.
“Obviously there was a fight between Jassy and Louis,” Hoose said.
“What happened in that car was not a planned event and was not initiated by Coleman,” he added.
Here’s what law enforcement officials claimed happened in February 2019:
An earlier version of this timeline first appeared on Boston.com in 2019.
Saturday 23 February 2019
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachel Rollins told reporters that Correa, the mother of a two-year-old daughter who lives in Lane, went out to celebrate her birthday with friends on Saturday night, February 23.
The group went to Venu, a nightclub in the Boston Theater District on Warrenton Street.
In her testimony during Coleman’s trial on Tuesday, Correa’s friend Aja Hilts said she spent the night dancing and drinking champagne, the Guardian reported. Globe.
Correa put on a new orange jumpsuit and left Venu with her three friends at closing time, but broke up with the group, Nozoom told jurors.
Sunday 24 February 2019
In the early hours of Sunday morning, February 24, Correa was seen on the sidewalk on Tremont Street near a nightclub, communicating with several people at 2:14 a.m., according to a surveillance video reviewed by Thomas Zukauskas, an FBI special agent.
Tuesday’s footage also shows Korea, who appeared intoxicated, getting into an Uber that was not intended for her, Nozoom said, according to Globe. Correa was pushed by the driver and fell to the ground.
Zuckauskas wrote in an affidavit filed in Boston federal court, that a man, later identified as Coleman, approached her and the pair were seen leaving the area before entering a red sedan.
Earlier that night, Coleman allegedly entered Fino and scanned his Rhode Island driver’s license at the door, which showed his address listed as 95 Chestnut Street in Providence, according to the affidavit.
Boston police previously said Correa – who was wearing “large round earrings, an orange jumpsuit and jean jacket with a picture of red lips and pink wings on her back” – was seen getting into the car near Tremont and Herald Streets, just south of Mass Pike.
It’s the last known moment Korea was seen in action.
According to another surveillance video reviewed by the FBI, the red car entered the parking lot of the Coleman Apartment Building in Providence — about 50 miles and an hour’s drive from Fino — about two hours later around 4:15 a.m.
Coleman allegedly stopped the car, left, and returned with “a light-colored blanket,” the affidavit stated.
“A short time later, Coleman walked from the red car toward the front of the building, carrying a body with long hair and orange pants…. I believe this footage shows Coleman carrying the victim to his apartment building.” Video footage from the lobby of the building shows that at approximately 4:27 a.m., Coleman entered the building carrying the body of a woman. I am aware of the victim’s appearance and recognize the woman as the victim. Coleman put the victim on the floor and pulled the victim into the building elevator. The victim was naked from the waist up and was wearing orange pants. The victim was not moving and her body was limp.”
At 4:29 a.m., Coleman can be seen on video tape pulling Correa from an elevator toward his sixth-floor apartment.
Tuesday 26 February2019
After not seeing Correa since leaving Vino early Sunday morning, a friend of Correa’s father accompanies around 5:30 p.m. to report the missing 23-year-old to Boston police, according to Zuckauskas.
When the two filed their report that day, unbeknownst to them, Coleman made a trip to Walmart, where receipts show he had bought three Tyvek suits, duct tape, two candles, electrical tape, a mask, surgical gloves, two pairs of safety glasses, a respirator and a “bathroom.” Bleaching by CLN,” Zukauskas reports.
Zukauskas wrote that he was seen driving a red Buick in the store’s parking lot. Authorities later learned Coleman does not have a car registered to him, but the red 2016 Buick sedan is registered to his mother in California, according to the report.
Officials said surveillance video at Coleman’s apartment shows him entering with shopping bags from Walmart.
Wednesday 27 February2019
On Wednesday night, Boston police released a “missing person alert” for Korea. It contains photos of her and the man she was last seen with, as well as a surveillance video.
Meanwhile, video taken at Coleman’s apartment building showed him entering around 9:58 p.m. “with a large, dark-colored suitcase with bright blue tubes,” Zuckauskas wrote.
He wrote: “The bag looked like new with sales tags pasted.”
Thursday 28 February2019
Hours later, at 1:15 a.m., Coleman allegedly drove the suitcase “from the direction of his apartment toward the elevator of the building,” the affidavit said.
“A few minutes later, Coleman got out of the elevator and drove the suitcase on wheels across the parking lot and put the suitcase in the trunk of the red car,” Zuckauskas wrote. “Coleman seems to find it difficult to lift the suitcase in the trunk.”
Between 2:44 and 4:02 a.m., Coleman allegedly left the building multiple times with cardboard boxes, trash bags, a bottle of bleach, a computer tower, a black laptop bag and a small duffel bag, the report says.
Since she was last seen on the morning of February 24, Correa has never been seen leaving Coleman’s apartment, Andrew Lilling, the US attorney general in Massachusetts, told reporters.
With a search warrant in hand, law enforcement officers gather evidence at Coleman’s apartment later in the day.
They found two breathing masks, among other things, and noticed that the cover for one of the four pillows on the sofa was missing, according to Zuckauskas.
In a trash can outside the condominium, white trash bags, a suitcase with plastic covers, men’s jeans with bleach stains and a belt, a white hooded nylon cover, an empty can of baking soda, clear safety glasses, and a respirator, packets of duct tape were recovered, rubbing alcohol, Walmart bags, used plastic gloves, an empty car air freshener packet, three empty charcoal purifiers, and a sponge,” said a statement from Lelling’s office.
At midday Thursday, Boston police released a photo of Coleman as a suspect in the kidnapping case.
A broadcast describing his car was posted by the state of Rhode Island, and was later found after 2 p.m. on Interstate 95 near Wilmington, Delaware, according to an affidavit provided by a Delaware State Police investigator.
A state police officer ordered Coleman out of the Buick and asked if anyone else was inside the car, according to Zuckauskas.
“Coleman mentioned the words ‘it’s in the trunk,'” he wrote in the report.
In the trunk of the car, Zukauskas said, police found a “large dark suitcase with blue tubes in it,” believed to be the same one seen carrying Coleman the night before.
He wrote: “Law enforcement authorities opened the bag and noticed a black plastic bag inside the bag. Inside the black plastic bag was a light-colored sofa cushion cover. Inside the pillowcase was the body of an apparently deceased woman.”
The report stated that the body was covered in blood and “large bruises” and was covered with duct tape. “Residue of white powder” – believed by authorities to be baking soda – was found on the body.
Duffle bag, a pair of new long-handled loppers, plastic trash bags, clothes, red plastic gas pan, green butane lighter, black gloves, charcoal air purifiers, air fresheners, tinted safety glasses, Walmart plastic bags, Work towels, cloth work gloves, a new set of DeWalt pliers, a laptop computer, a hard disk/computer tower, and disinfectant wipes were also found in Coleman’s car,” said the statement from Lelling’s office.
Photos of the sedan reviewed by Zukauskas show the car’s windshield cracked in two places on the passenger side, according to his reports.
“Initially, it appears that (Korea) had a struggle,” Liling said on Sunday, adding that it was not clear if the damage to the window was as a result.
Liling told reporters that it appears that Correa died of severe shock and suffocation.
Zuckauskas wrote that when he was arrested, Coleman had “a large bandage on the right side of his face.”
When Coleman was asked about it, he told one of the cops, “It’s from the girl,” the report said.
Subscribe to newsletters
Stay up to date with the latest news from Boston.com