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Who killed Jody LeCornu? Twin sister fights to find an answer

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Jenny Carrieri is frustrated that Baltimore County Police appear to be no closer to solving her twin sister’s murder now than they were on an early, snowy morning in 1996.  She charges that detectives have mishandled the case.

“They were not following up on leads, lying, contradicting themselves; it’s just been – it’s incredible what we’ve gone through,” she says.

March 2 marked 21 years since 23-year-old Joann “Jody” LeCornu was shot and killed near the City/County line in Towson.

Carrieri wants to put the case in front of a fresh set of eyes.  She requested the case file through the Maryland Public Information Act, MPIA, last August.

Two weeks later, police rejected the request on the grounds that it would interfere with an open case.

Carrieri then filed a civil suit in October to get the file.  She says it was a tough decision because of the respect for law enforcement ingrained in her by her dad; the late John LeCornu, a former Anne Arundel County prosecutor.

“I’ve trusted them for so long,” she said. “Why wouldn’t you not trust the police?  Why would you not; see what I’m saying?”

John Le Cornu died of cancer in 2006 with no answer as to who shot his daughter on March 2, 1996.

21 years ago…

According to reports, Jody LeCornu had left the Mount Washington Tavern in the city at closing time and was sitting in her car in the parking lot of what is now the Drumcastle Government Center on York Road.

Carrieri says her sister was not acting as her normal self at that time.

“She had a lot of anxiety and she would not have driven in the snow,” Carrieri said.  “She was asked to drive an employee home; she never would have done that.  She never would’ve gone to sit in a parking lot by herself.”

LeCornu was making phone calls when someone approached her white Honda Civic and shot her.  She managed to drive across the street to the Giant Food parking lot where she died.

Carrieri thinks that her twin sister knew the gun man.

“Her window was rolled down; which makes one believe that she knew the person because she wouldn’t have rolled her window down just to talk to somebody in the middle of the night,” she said.

Witnesses told investigators a man followed LeCornu’s car until it stopped.  The man then got out of his car, reached into LeCornu’s Honda to take something and left; heading toward the city.

Seeking access

County Police spokeswoman Elise Armacost says the LeCornu case is open and was active as recently as January. She said detectives traveled to California to pursue leads, but declined to comment further because of Carrieri’s suit.

Metro Crime Stoppers is offering a $32,000 reward for tips leading to Jody’s killer.

Patricia Hall, a law professor at the University of Baltimore, says Carrieri will have a hard time getting her hands on the case file if the judge goes by the letter of the law.  But there could be room for mediation.

“The judge also could look at this case in camera,” she says.  “Certainly not the extensive file that Baltimore County has, but the judge may be willing to look through some of it and say ‘look, I don’t see why we can’t divulge some of this; let’s try to reach a happy medium here.”

Hall says Carrieri’s lawsuit is an interesting one and suggests that keeping attention on cold cases through media and MPIA opens the possibility of having cases solved.

“Maybe in the future, they’re going to say ‘OK, we understand that this is an open case and that you’re investigating it but after 21 years, maybe we need to put a time limit on some of these,’” she adds, “’or allow others to come in such as Baltimore City Police Department or investigators who want to assist.’”

Carrieri’s attorney, Michael May, did propose a compromise to County Police; allow his legal team, including a private investigator, to look at the file.

A court date is scheduled for March 21.