The man who was found guilty earlier this year of kidnapping a young Massachusetts mother outside a Boston nightclub, leading to her death, was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without parole.
A federal jury found Louis Coleman guilty in June of kidnapping Jassy Correia, in a case that captured national attention and unearthed the agonizing details surrounding her kidnapping and death back in 2019.
Coleman's conviction had carried a mandatory life sentence. He will be allowed to serve his sentence in Arizona near his family.
"Coleman was found guilty by a jury of tricking Jassy into believing he was going to give her a ride back to her friend's apartment and instead holding her against her will, sexually assaulting her, strangling her to death and embarking on a massive effort to cover up his crimes," Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy said after Coleman was found guilty.
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Correia's father, Joaquim Correia, was one of many family members who attended the entirety of the three-week trial. He said after the trial that he'd vowed to see it through because he'd brought Jassy to the U.S. as a young girl.
The verdict, he said through a translator, "proved once again that this individual is a criminal. He doesn't have a right to be in society. This is satisfactory to me."
Prosecutors had argued that Coleman sexually assaulted and strangled Correia -- who'd been out celebrating her birthday -- before stashing her body in a suitcase in his trunk, where it was found four days later when he was stopped on Interstate 95 in Delaware.
They presented graphic evidence against Coleman, including video of him carrying Correia piggyback to his car after she was pushed out of an Uber that wasn't hers into the cold night. Prosecutors said Coleman took Correia to his apartment in Providence, Rhode Island, where he stuffed her body in a suitcase.
"She never arrived home, and the reason why is this defendant and his actions," Assistant U.S. Attorney Elianna Nuzum said during the trial. "He sexually assaulted her, strangled her to death and transported her across state lines. Then he tried to cover it up."
Coleman had pleaded not guilty to kidnapping Correia. His attorneys said the woman had attacked him and died in the car during the fight, but that Correia went with him willingly.
"What happened in that car was not a planned event and not initiated by Louis Coleman," his defense attorney, David Hoose, said in court during the trial.
Coleman was charged with kidnapping leading to death because federal law only provides murder charges in certain cases, prosecutors said.