The crowds who had emptied out of Theatre District nightclubs in the winter of 2019 had no idea they were witnessing Jassy Correia’s final, barefooted walk in her short life.
The walk took significance as it played out for jurors through security camera footage presented in federal court in Boston Wednesday on the second day of the trial of Louis D. Coleman III, of Providence, who is charged with kidnapping resulting in Correia’s death.
Correia’s family wiped away tears as they listened, several with headphones tuned to an interpreter whispering translations, to the description of her last birthday party and the moments that led to her entering Coleman’s red Buick sedan that night.
The single mother had set out in style late Feb. 23, 2019, dressed to ring in her 23rd birthday in open-toed black pumps with four-inch heels and a bright orange jumpsuit. Her sole consideration for the icy air that night was a blue jean jacket.
She and three companions — including Reginald “Reggie” Thomas who took the stand Wednesday to detail the night and Aja Hiltz, who continued her testimony from Tuesday — arrived at the Venu nightclub, 100 Warrenton St., late, giving them only an hour and 20 minutes to party before the club closed.
The group split a bottle of champagne and “two, three shots” of Patron tequila, Thomas said. Soon, the women hit up the floor to dance to the club’s signature hip-hop and Latin house mix as Thomas stayed at the bar to watch.
Hiltz and Thomas testified that the night turned sour when the third companion, “Noriah,” became combative toward Correia. A “tussle” inside, Thomas testified, left Correia thrown to the floor, and again outside in an alley. At the latter tussle, Correia, whose feet had suffered from wearing and dancing in the heeled pumps that night, had had it with the shoes and kicked them to the pavement.
The analysis of the night shifted from those of her companions — testimony hit an emotional high Tuesday when Hiltz openly sobbed at the mention of bruises and cuts to Correia’s body — to one of police investigation when Boston Police Detective Ismael Henriquez took the stand.
Henriquez and Kenneth Shine, one of the prosecutors, led the jury through a series of footage that finally joined the stories of Correia and her accused kidnapper, Coleman. It shows Coleman parking his car and at first entering nearby Candibar before proceeding to Venu a little while after Correia’s group. While there, Henriquez points out, the two strangers passed “so close he could almost touch her.”
Correia didn’t leave for the planned after-party dinner at a Chinatown restaurant with Hiltz and Thomas — the fact she couldn’t or wouldn’t disentangle herself from the Noriah drama frustrated Hiltz, she testified — but instead tried to enter an Uber that wasn’t intended for her.
Video footage showed Coleman watching this event and then taking her hands. They talked and the two made their way down Tremont to Coleman’s car. At one point footage showed Coleman carrying Correia on his back before ultimately getting into his car.
The story of that car ride promises to be continued Thursday.