Louis Coleman III pulled over for a Delaware trooper at the side of a highway ramp, got out of the car and told arresting troopers that, yes, there was another person in the car and that she’s “in the trunk.”
Jurors in Coleman’s kidnapping-resulting-in-death trial in federal court in Boston on Friday witnessed the dashcam footage as Delaware State Police Trooper Hasan Halis spotted the red Buick Regal moments after a radio call went out to be on the lookout for the vehicle, which the operator said was wanted in connection with a homicide.
Halis, then a rookie trooper and avowed auto enthusiast, testified Friday that he caught sight of the car as it merged onto the highway from the trooper’s right. Halis was positioned between the ramp and the highway, waiting for a tow truck to remove a disabled vehicle.
Halis’s cruiser followed Coleman down the interstate as he radioed for assistance and Coleman pulled over at the side of an off ramp at roughly 2:07 p.m. Feb. 28, 2019. More troopers arrived and Coleman was arrested without incident, Halis testified, before six troopers surrounded the car with guns drawn and popped the trunk.
The fourth day of Coleman’s trial ended on Halis’s testimony and jurors will have to wait until the trial resumes in federal court in Boston on Wednesday morning to see what troopers found inside.
According to the FBI affidavit filed in support of Coleman’s arrest, a black suitcase — which prior testimony shows that Coleman purchased roughly 17 hours earlier from a Rhode Island Walmart — was inside. Nested inside that, a black plastic bag, a light-colored sofa cushion cover and, finally, Correia’s body, “significant bruising and blood about her face” and “bound with gray duct tape.”
The gruesome discovery came four-and-a-half days after Correia stepped outside the Venu nightclub in downtown Boston, where the young mother celebrated her 23rd birthday with three companions.
While two of those companions — Reginald “Reggie” Thomas and Aja Hiltz — have already testified, the third, Yvania “Nia” Mondesir, took the stand Friday. The others have testified that Mondesir was “combative” toward Correia and surveillance footage — which Mondesir testified she had not seen before — shows that she knocked Correia to the ground at least twice.
Chief Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV had the court take a break first for Mondesir to cry, face down into her folded arms, and then a second time so Mondesir could compose herself.
“I do not remember anything,” she said, audibly frustrated and emotional, adding that she believes her drink must have been drugged for her to behave with her friend that way that night.
By 2:17 a.m. that night, Correia — who had kicked off her shoes and was barefoot in the cold winter night — met Coleman on the sidewalk after she had been kicked out of an Uber she hadn’t called. The two walked down Tremont Street to his car, with him carrying her on his back part of the way. The car arrived two hours later at Coleman’s Providence apartment building, and Correia was dead.