Twin, po­lice re­vive ’96 homi­cide case

De­tec­tive, vic­tim’s sis­ter hope to find new leads in death of 23-year-old in Tow­son

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Ali­son Kneze­vich

When 23-year-old Joann “Jody” LeCornu was found shot in the back in­side her car one snowy morn­ing in Tow­son in March 1996, Bal­ti­more County Po­lice De­tec­tive Car­roll Bollinger was called to the scene.

Twenty years later, LeCornu’s killer still has not been caught.

But Bollinger, now a mem­ber of the homi­cide unit’s cold case squad, and Jenny Car­ri­eri, LeCornu’s twin sis­ter, say they are not giv­ing up hope.

Both have been try­ing to keep LeCornu’s story alive, in an ef­fort to draw out new in­for­ma­tion.

“I feel like there’s peo­ple out there who know some­thing,” said Car­ri­eri, 43. Bollinger thinks so, too. “I don’t know that some­one could keep this to them­self,” said Bollinger, a 32-year

vet­eran of the depart­ment. “I don’t know that any­body can keep this in­side for 20 years.”

In a county where po­lice solve most homi­cides, the depart­ment this year re­leased pho­tos from the crime scene, with the idea of stir­ring new in­ter­est in the case.

A cold case in­ves­ti­ga­tion “goes on the premise that things change in peo­ple’s lives,” Bollinger said.

“What I’m hop­ing is that maybe some­body had an al­le­giance [to the sus­pect] back then, and that al­le­giance to that per­son is no longer there,” he said. “Some­body knows what hap­pened in this case.”

Po­lice are also tak­ing another look at ev­i­dence, in­clud­ing fin­ger­prints from the car.

There’s a $32,000 re­ward from Metro Crime Stop­pers.

LeCornu spent the evening of March 2, 1996, with friends at the Mount Wash­ing­ton Tav­ern, where she was a reg­u­lar, po­lice say. When the bar closed, they say, she went to a liquor store on Falls Road to buy a six-pack of beer.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors say LeCornu was sit­ting in her white Honda Civic in the park­ing lot of what is now the Drum­cas­tle Gov­ern­ment Cen­ter on York Road when some­one ap­proached her car and shot her once in the back. They don’t know why she went to the lot. LeCornu was able to drive across the street to the Gi­ant Food park­ing lot, where she was later found.

The shoot­ing oc­curred in the mid­dle of the night — around 3:40 a.m. — but Bollinger says there were wit­nesses: peo­ple at the Gi­ant, and work­ers mak­ing de­liv­er­ies at the Bos­ton Mar­ket.

They told in­ves­ti­ga­tors that they saw a man fol­low LeCornu’s car un­til it stopped, get out of his own car and reach into hers. It looked as if he put her car in park and then took some­thing from it — likely her purse, which was never found.

The man got into a white BMW, po­lice say, headed south on York Road and turned east on Walker Av­enue.

“This per­son shot her, fol­lowed her, Jenny Car­ri­eri con­tin­ues to look for new in­for­ma­tion that might lead to the per­son who killed her twin sis­ter, Jody LeCornu, in Tow­son in 1996. waited for her, en­tered her ve­hi­cle, and drove off,” Bollinger said. “Nor­mally, that all doesn’t hap­pen.”

Wit­nesses de­scribed him as a black man in his mid-20s to early 30s, be­tween 5-foot-10 and 6-foot-1, weigh­ing be­tween 200 and 220 pounds. He was wear­ing a green fa­tigue-style coat.

LeCornu made sev­eral phone calls that night, to the tav­ern and to friends, po­lice say. They don’t know whether she knew her killer.

De­tec­tives have pur­sued the the­ory that it was a drug deal gone bad, and an al­ter­nate that it was a ran­dom rob­bery. They have in­ves­ti­gated per­sons of in­ter­est for both the­o­ries.

Car­ri­eri said her sis­ter had been in re­hab for al­co­hol and drugs. But she said the events of that night still seem bizarre.

“I don’t see her sit­ting in a dark park­ing lot,” she said. “She did strug­gle when she was in high school with drugs. She also, I be­lieve, drank too much, as well. ... But I don’t be­lieve she was do­ing drugs at that point.”

LeCornu was tak­ing classes at Tow­son State Univer­sity, work­ing at a bank and “liv­ing for the day or for the mo­ment,” she said. She hadn’t yet fig­ured out what she wanted to do with her life.

“Even af­ter all th­ese years, it’s still very real. We’re just not set­tled.” Jenny Car­ri­eri, sis­ter of Jody LeCornu

Jody LeCornu was 23 when she was shot to death in a car in Tow­son.

Bollinger said de­tec­tives have ruled out any con­nec­tion be­tween LeCornu’s killing and her father’s work as an as­sis­tant state’s at­tor­ney in Anne Arun­del County. John LeCornu pros­e­cuted drug cases and vi­o­lent crimes.

Af­ter his daugh­ter’s death, LeCornu be­came sick with can­cer. He would leaf through the doc­u­ments he com­piled in the af­ter­math of the killing: news­pa­per ar­ti­cles, pho­tos, notes from his meet­ings with de­tec­tives, He kept the pa­pers un­der his bed. He died in 2007 with­out an­swers. Car­ri­eri, who lives in Eas­ton, is now mar­ried with chil­dren. But she’s still look­ing for her sis­ter’s killer.

“Even af­ter all th­ese years, it’s still very real,” she said. “We’re just not set­tled.”

Po­lice ask any­one with in­for­ma­tion to call 410-307-2020 or Metro Crime Stop­pers at 1-866-7LOCKUP.

LLOYD FOX/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

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