Eric Lindquist told a judge on Tuesday that he can remember the night of Dec. 19, 2017, with almost as much precision as he can remember the next morning, when he learned that his family was dead.
On that cold Tuesday night, he wrapped a Christmas gift for his mother, Janet Lindquist. It was a sewing machine paired in jest with a box of his old clothes that needed to be sewn back together. He went to bed proud of a promotion he had just earned at work and couldn’t wait to tell his parents, who he said he knew would be “beaming with pride” when he told them.
But he never got the chance to.
“It is my last memory of a previous life. A previous me. When life was the way it was supposed to be,” Eric Lindquist said Tuesday during statements from family and friends of Kenneth, Janet and Matthew Lindquist.
Eric Lindquist, whose parents and younger brother were murdered on that December night, said he lives with consuming, chronic anger that keeps him awake at night. His life now is an “alternate reality,” a nightmare he can’t wake up from.
He implored the judges to hand down the maximum sentence for Sergio Correa and vacate a plea deal agreed to with his sister and accomplice, Ruth Correa, whom he called “soulless creatures.”
On Tuesday at New London Superior Court, the Correa siblings were sentenced for their respective roles in the crime spree that judges called one of the most horrific cases in Connecticut history. The pair tortured and killed the Lindquists, left their dog locked in a bedroom, robbed them and burnt their house to the ground, according to court testimony.
Judge Hunchu Kwak, who was seated during Sergio Correa’s weeks-long trial late last year, sentenced 30-year-old Sergio Correa to a lifetime behind bars plus 105 years.
His 27-year-old adopted sister, Ruth Correa, was sentenced by Judge Hillary B. Strackbein to 40 years in prison, the amount suggested in a plea deal she reached with the state.
Before handing down their sentences, the judges heard seven victim impact statements from the Lindquist family and friends. Each described the agony they’ve suffered after the brutal killings, years of anxiety, anger, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, melancholy, depression and fear.
Susan Martin, one of Kenneth Lindquist’s sisters, spoke first.
“Never in my lifetime or within the scope of human decency could I believe three of my family members, Kenny, Janet, Matthew and their dog, Skylar, and their family home, built from bottom to top by Kenny himself, could all be taken away by such an evil being,” she began, standing just feet from Sergio Correa.
“At times when I could hardly breathe after hearing and seeing all the horror my deceased family endured, I saw no expression of remorse on Sergio Correa’s face or in his body language,” she said. “It’s impossible for me to comprehend how this one person could be so heinous to others.”
The Lindquists’ granddaughter, 16-year-old Bailey Nichols, delivered her emotional statement and spoke on behalf of her younger sister, 15-year-old Rylee Nichols.
Bailey Nichols said that she, too, watched the face of the man who killed her grandparents and uncle as she sat through the trial.
“I wonder if the thought of who they were even crossed their mind. How many grandchildren do they have? How many people care about them? How many lives have they impacted?”
She called them “cold-blooded killers” and said she and her siblings were robbed of their grandparents.
“I had that ripped away from me. I will never forgive them for that. I will never forgive them for all the time I spent distanced from everyone I care about or the confusion or anger.”
Eric Lindquist said that he, too, feels like those moments were stolen from him.
“Sergio and Ruth robbed this world of an awful lot,” he said.
The magnitude of his loss, he said, is with him all the time.
“I still struggle with constant feelings of anger or heartache every day, four and a half years later,” he told the judges.
He said it is impossible to go any significant length of time without thinking of his family. Sometimes, the thoughts hit him as soon as he opens his eyes in the morning. Other times, the horror of what happened resurfaces when he’s driving home from work or sitting around a bonfire with friends.
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Kenneth Lindquist’s other sister, Deborah DiCarlo, told the judges that her brother and his wife would have celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary this year, and her nephew would have turned 25., had they not been “murdered, tortured, humiliated, brutally bludgeoned and ripped from the earth.”
“The depiction of the brutalization and suffering that my family members endured that fateful night is emotionally disturbing and traumatizing,” she said.