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In pursuit of justice


WORLD Radio - In pursuit of justice

Two women lost their sister in a brutal carjacking

Sisters Jinnylynn Griffin and Darline Barrza Photo by Kim Henderson

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, February 22nd. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.

Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.

Coming next on The World and Everything in It: stealing cars. Carjackings are up this year. Often it’s juveniles committing these crimes. Sometimes these carjackings lead to violence.

BROWN: And a quick word to parents: some details in this story may not be suitable for younger listeners.

WORLD Senior Writer Kim Henderson brings us this report.

GRIFFIN: And this is the street that starts the car. This is where she gets out the building.

KIM HENDERSON: Jinnylynn Griffin is on a mission.

GRIFFIN: It's relatively a good neighborhood. And it happened at 1:30. It happened at this time in the afternoon.

Griffin’s mission is pretty straightforward: she wants justice for her sister, Linda Frickey. On March 21, 2020, carjackers stole Linda Frickey’s late model Nissan Kicks.

Carjackings had gotten so bad there in New Orleans that the two sisters had talked about it. Just a month earlier.

GRIFFIN: She came to our crawfish boil over at my house, like in February. And she was telling me about how carjackings were getting bad. And I said, “Linda, if they want to carjack you, what you're gonna do?” She said they could have the car. “I got insurance.”

Carjackings rarely turn fatal, but in Linda Frickey’s case, that’s exactly what happened. When 4 teens took her car, she was still in it. The main culprit maced her and kicked her, but she was stuck in the seatbelt and couldn’t get free.

Leanne Mascar witnessed the nightmarish scene.

MASCAR: I heard all this horrible screaming from that corner. And when I looked to the right, I thought it was a mannequin.

What she thought was a mannequin was actually Linda Frickey, who was hanging out the driver’s side door.

MASCAR: I could hear the sound of her body hitting the pavement, and she was facing me. And I could see her clothes and everything. It was horrible.

Next, the car swerved into a guy-wire, severing Frickey’s arm. That freed her from the car and her attackers, who sped away.

Mascar and others rushed to Frickey’s aid.

MASCAR: And I remember this woman coming across and as soon as she looked down, she just everybody, everybody just dropped into prayer. So much praying, everybody.

Frickey died that day, on that street. A security video captured the carjacking, leading to the swift arrest of three girls and one guy, the driver.

MASCAR: He had a rap sheet a mile long. I don't care how old he is. He was doing adult things. They get away with it so long, you become more emboldened. They get very bold. I mean, very bold, and then you're okay with that. And then all of a sudden, then you're killing.

The New Orleans district attorney campaigned on the promise he wouldn’t try juveniles as adults. That’s a big push these days. Gary LaFree, a criminology professor at the University of Maryland, understands why.

LAFREE: Well, I think there's a very natural concern that once you get someone embroiled in the criminal justice system, they’re sort of a lost cause, or at least much more difficult to pull them out.

LaFree says that beyond that individual, incarceration is costly for society, too.

LAFREE: It costs as much to keep people in prisons as it does to put them through Harvard, basically. So when you sign up to keep someone, essentially, in an institution the rest of their life, it's huge.

LaFree says the solution is keeping young people from committing crimes in the first place. But there’s a new problem. Some carjackings are orchestrated—even glamorized—on social media.

LAFREE: I think with young people, not only are people committing crimes sometimes, but also bragging about it online.

In Linda Frickey’s murder case, the New Orleans DA went back on his promise about juveniles. He charged Frickey’s assailants as adults. Here, DA Jason Williams talks to reporters after the trial of the main carjacker, John Honore, who’s now 18.

WILLIAMS: Every stomp, every kick, every punch, every macing, every yard of the two football fields he drove was a choice.

Jinnylynn Griffin feels like her quest for justice for her sister is complete now. But the process was challenging. Griffin estimates she’s been to various court dates at least 30 times.

GRIFFIN: My momma raised us all to be strong women. So crying is not something we do real easy, but yeah, it was pretty hard.

Another sister, Darline Barrza, says the healing can begin now, but they are painfully aware of what they lost.

BARRZA: Whenever we had a party, she would come in the door and kiss everybody on the cheek. Everybody. We almost had to line up. (kiss sounds) We miss her. I miss her.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kim Henderson in New Orleans, Louisiana.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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