Jenny Carrieri's suit seeks to compel investigators to produce their files on her sister's 1996 slaying
Credit: Courtesy Jenny Carrieri

In March 1996, Jenny Carrieri’s twin 23-year-old sister was murdered as an early morning snowfall blanketed the suburbs outside Baltimore. For the last two decades, not knowing her killer’s identity has tormented Carrieri.

Carrieri tells PEOPLE she intends to hire a private investigator to uncover the truth that has eluded Baltimore County detectives for so long. In August, she filed a formal request with the department, seeking a copy of the case file on Joanne “Jody” LeCornu’s homicide.

That request was denied a month later on the grounds releasing such documents could compromise the department’s ongoing investigation. But police conceded that Carrieri and her lawyer could come into headquarters to peruse the file.

Instead, Carrieri opted to file a lawsuit against the Baltimore County Police Department, seeking a judicial order that would compel investigators to produce copies of their files and notes on Jody’s slaying.

A rebuttal to Carrieri’s suit was recently presented to a Maryland judge. It contends that the department “is not an entity subject” to litigation. In addition, the rebuttal denies a majority of the allegations laid out in Carrieri’s lawsuit.

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Jody, who was a Towson University student at the time of her death, was discovered dead in her white Honda Civic, which was parked not far from her home in the Mount Washington section of Baltimore. Police are not certain whether LeCornu knew her killer, who they believe approached her car and spoke with her for a period before firing a single shot into her back.

LeCornu tried to escape her killer by driving across the street to the parking lot where her body would be found hours later, according to investigators.

But witnesses told detectives they saw an African-American man follow her across the street. He allegedly reached in through the driver’s side window, which was already rolled down, and shut the car off before taking something from the vehicle.

The suspect then left the area in a white BMW, police tell PEOPLE.

No one has ever been arrested for LeCornu’s murder and investigators acknowledge they’ve had few leads to work with.

Optimism About DNA and New Technologies

In a previous interview with PEOPLE, Det. Carroll Bollinger, a 30-year police veteran who joined the Baltimore County Police Department’s cold case unit more than 10 years ago and has been the lead on the LeCornu case, said investigators have re-entered fingerprints recovered from LeCornu’s car into the nation’s criminal database, hoping to get a hit.

Bollinger has told PEOPLE he has been conducting fresh interviews with several persons of interest who’ve been connected to the case. He’s also said he will talk to LeCornu’s friends and ex-boyfriends again.

“We’re also trying to develop DNA off of some of the items we’d collected from the scene where previously, we couldn’t,” says Bollinger. “We are going over video taken at the time, using new technologies. Our video examiners are now able to take apart a video and retract an image from it where you couldn’t do that 20 years ago. We’re just going back to see if we can shake the tree and get any apples to fall.”

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Carrieri tells PEOPLE she recently received a letter from Kevin Davis, commissioner for the Baltimore City Police Department. Davis has offered up some of the city department’s resources to assist in the county’s investigation.

Particularly, Davis has said in published reports that he believes his forensic technicians may be able to make out the license plate from the fleeing BMW, which was caught on video tape. The footage is grainy, making it hard to identify the numbers on the plate.

But Carrieri alleges that authorities in Baltimore County have turned the city’s offer down.

Investigators have asked that anyone with any information on LeCornu’s murder call the Metro Crime Stoppers tip line at (866) 7-LOCKUP. There is a $32,000 cash reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in Jody’s killing.