Editorial: Jassy Correia’s murder stuns the city

The gruesome murder of 23-year-old Jassy Correia— a young woman who was raised near Uphams Corner, attended school in Fields Corner with extensive family ties across the neighborhood — will not likely be recorded as a Dorchester homicide. But, like so many other atrocities that have hit close to home in our corner of the world, this one hurts in places that can sometimes feel numb amid the onslaught of worldly horrors. It’s part of being a 21st century American—swiping through a never-ending tick-tock of man’s inhumanity to man. Whether it be a school massacre in a different region of the US or the latest overnight gunplay in our own zip code—the mind and the heart and the psyche can only withstand so much grief, so much anxiety. At some point, you shut down some of those emotions or at least try to put them on the back-burner. How does one function otherwise?

But there are incidents that have a way of puncturing our protective shields in ways that steal your breath and upend your composure. The abduction and killing of Jassy Correia — a young mother, a daughter, a sister, cousin, friend, classmate— is one of those moments, even for those covered in the callouses of homegrown atrocities down through the decades.

This confrontation is unavoidable. There are monsters in our midst. Predators. Stalkers. Deviants. Individuals who mean to do harm to our children, our friends. They are not just characters on a podcast or an HBO documentary series. They live among us and so do their victims.

The courts will sort out whether or not Louis D. Coleman III is one of those monsters. The 32-year-old Providence man who was arrested in Delaware with Jassy’s body in the trunk of his car is the person that police say grabbed her from a downtown Boston sidewalk and— presumably— murdered her in the subsequent hours. Initial evidence shows that he was scheming to dismember and discard her body when he was caught.

The macabre nature of the crime is gut-wrenching, as is the fact that her killer made Jassy’s young daughter an orphan at age two.

The pain is felt across all quarters and cuts across demographics. But, it’s naturally centered most among young women of Jassy’s age— so many of whom have to fend off constant unwanted attention, often in the form of outright aggression, from men. It’s not just when out at a nightclub, as Jassy was on the night she was abducted. It’s a steady stream of harassment— in person, online, walking to school and work.

It’s not a new hazard. Last week on this page, we carried a column by Jessicah Pierre about the rash of murders targeting black women in Boston back in 1979. Now, forty years later, Boston will bury yet another young woman taken from our midst.

Jassy’s death— and her alleged killer’s arrest— has sparked renewed debate about the safety of women in particular as they move through life in our city. Rachael Rollins, the district attorney, captured the sentiment of many when she cautioned against casting blame beyond the man responsible for her death.

“Let’s not fall into a discussion about whether we should walk home alone or how many people we should call when we’re leaving the club,” Rollins said. “If anything, let’s remind the men in our lives that violence against women isn’t a women’s issue. It’s a problem that men take responsibility for in their lives, in their sons’ lives, and in the social lives with friends and colleagues.”

She’s right, of course. But it’s also true that Jassy Correia’s murder is just the latest atrocity. There are murderers among us.

-Bill Forry