The man accused of kidnapping Jassy Correia off a downtown Boston street and causing her death pleaded not guilty Tuesday in federal court in Boston to a charge that carries a possible death sentence.
Louis D. Coleman III, 32, is charged with a single federal count of kidnapping resulting in death. He’s been held without bail since his arrest in February.
Coleman wore an orange jumpsuit and appeared calm and alert throughout the brief hearing in US District Court. When US Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelley asked him how he would plead to the charge, Coleman replied in a clear voice: “Not guilty.”
Several of Correia’s relatives were in the courtroom for the brief proceeding, sitting silently as Coleman entered his plea.
A status conference has been scheduled for June 14. Kelley said Coleman would not be required to appear unless he wishes to do so.
Coleman allegedly encountered Correia near the Venu nightclub in the Theater District after closing time Feb. 24, and convinced her to get into his car. He was then captured on surveillance video about two hours later carrying her body into his apartment in Providence.
Four days later, her body was found in the trunk of Correia’s car when he was stopped by Delaware State Police on Interstate 95 near Wilmington. He allegedly told troopers words to the effect: “She’s in the trunk.”
Authorities also said Coleman had a large bandage on the right side of his face when he was taken into custody, and when asked about it, he allegedly replied, “It’s from the girl.”
Correia was the mother of a 2-year-old girl and was at the nightclub celebrating her 23d birthday, according to her family and officials. A GoFundMe page set up for the child has raised nearly $150,000, three times the original goal set by the Correia family.
Authorities have not released Correia’s cause of death and are not currently charging Coleman with murder. He is charged with kidnapping resulting in death. If convicted, Coleman could be sentenced to death or life in prison.
US Attorney Andrew Lelling has not said whether his office will pursue a death penalty against Coleman, who holds a master’s degree in experimental physics and was working as an engineer for Raytheon at the time of Correia’s kidnapping.
He has been in custody since his arrest on Feb. 28. His defense attorney had agreed to allow him to be held without bail pending his trial.