3 Billboards In Baltimore

Mar 10, 2019
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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

In March 1996, Jody LeCornu was murdered in the middle of the night as she sat in her car in a parking lot outside of Baltimore. She was shot one time from behind. The case has remained unsolved to this day. Jody's twin sister Jenny Carrieri remains focused on getting justice for her sister. A few weeks ago, as the anniversary of the murder approached, Jenny paid for three billboards in Baltimore, offering a hundred-thousand-dollar reward for the arrest and conviction of her sister's killer. She was inspired by the 2017 film "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," in which Frances McDormand plays a mother seeking justice for her murdered daughter. And Jenny Carrieri joins me now in the studio.

Welcome to the program.

JENNY CARRIERI: Thank you for having me.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Can you tell me a little bit about your sister? She was 23 years old at the time.

CARRIERI: Yes - very kind. You know, she was a college student. She liked to have fun. She loved her dog. She had lots of friends. I mean, even though she suffered with anxiety and had some struggles, she definitely was outgoing - sweet person.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: She struggled with alcohol.

CARRIERI: Yes, she did.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah.

CARRIERI: It was a problem in the family.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what do you know about what happened that night? I understand she was at a bar and left but didn't want to go home because she'd had a fight earlier in the day with her boyfriend.

CARRIERI: That's correct. And she stayed there till the bar closed. And then she went to this Caldor parking lot, which was two minutes from her house, and just sat there in the dark.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Can you tell me what you know about how she died?

CARRIERI: So witnesses saw the white BMW approach with the black male. It's been said that there was - her window was down, and there was some sort of conversation and that she was shot from behind. So it went into the back-left window - passenger - in the back and through the seat. And the bullet severed her spine. So she died pretty quickly. She was able to drive across the street to the Giant parking lot, and he followed her. And there was witnesses around. They say there was up to six witnesses. And the witnesses said he slowly came up to her car and reached in over her body and put her car in park and took something out of her car.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So there were people who saw this?

CARRIERI: Yes.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And yet nothing came of it. They weren't able to identify who it was.

CARRIERI: A description of the vehicle, the suspect - they do have some fingerprints. Unfortunately, right where she ended up, there was cameras from the Giant, but they were down that night. So there was - the cameras weren't working that night.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How did it come about that you thought to put up these billboards?

CARRIERI: The movie - and it really inspired me. I mean, I didn't really know that I could do anything because I realize there's so much tragedy. There's - murders are - there's so many things that - you know, they're not just going to focus on Jody's case. So I was just always trying to think of a way to just share her story. Like, I just feel like something's - hopefully, something's going to come up because, I mean, it's definitely been, like, a lot of ups and downs, you know? And then I get depressed, you know? And so it's definitely a lot of highs and lows.

And I even started this year, and I was like, you know what? I've got to take a break. My husband doesn't understand. Why are you doing all these interviews? It's not going to bring her back. And I'm thinking - well, I'm saying to him, how can I not? What if this is it? What if this is the interview that somebody's going to hear something? And so it's hard to sort out balance it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You put up the billboards, and they have a smiling photo of Jody. And, in bold letters, it says underneath, find my killer. And it's been a few weeks now, and I'm wondering if you have heard anything. I mean, you keep hoping that the next thing will be the thing that'll break the case. And what have you heard?

CARRIERI: Nothing recently. I'm what - you know, it's - you know, when my phone rings, I'm thinking, this is it. They're going to call and tell me there's an arrest. And I know they have a lot of other cases, but I'm not going to let them forget her case.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Do you visit your sister's grave?

CARRIERI: Yes. My sister and dad are both buried there, yeah. They're both buried together. I couldn't go there for a long time. But now I just like to go and sit. And it's really - I just feel really good there.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: She's with you.

CARRIERI: Yes, yes.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Jenny Carrieri of Easton, Md., thank you so much.

CARRIERI: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF ROB CROSS' "WE LEARN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.