Three teenage girls were sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to reduced charges in connection with the dragging death of an elderly woman during a carjacking in New Orleans last year.
The minors, Briniyah Baker, Lenyra Theophile, and Mar’Qel Curtis, initially faced potential life sentences as they were charged as adults in the violent death of 73-year-old Linda Frickey, whose arm was severed in the 2022 attack.
As part of the plea deal, each defendant was convicted of the lesser charge of attempted manslaughter, meaning they will eventually get a second chance to walk free.
A fourth suspect, 18-year-old John Honore — who is accused of being the driver of Frickey’s stolen car — was the only defendant to not enter a guilty plea on Monday, prompting jury selection for his second-degree murder trial in which he faces a life sentence if convicted.
The four teens ranged in age from 15 to 17 when police charged them in the March 2022 for the attack on Frickey, who died from blunt force injuries after her arm got stuck in a seatbelt as the suspects commandeered the car and sped away, dragging her behind in a horrifying chain of events.
Frickey’s relatives were in the courtroom when the three defendants entered their pleas, saying afterwards that they felt the girls were being genuine when they expressed remorse, but adding that they should still face consequences for what they did.
“When they were saying they were sorry, I’m sure they were,” said Jinny Frickey, the victim’s sister, according to the Associated Press. “Because you go back, hindsight, a lot of times, you are sorry for the actions you completed. But you did it. And, unfortunately, they did it and they have to serve the time.”
During Monday’s proceeding, one of the female defendants asked Frickey’s family for forgiveness, saying they never intended to kill their loved one.
“That’s not what we set out to do,” the defendant said through tears, “and I hope that you all can forgive me.”
During the harrowing episode, police said the teens realized they were dragging the victim on the ground outside, and stopped the SUV to free the grandmother before ultimately leaving the SUV and her lifeless body on the side of the road.
The vehicle was recovered just 13 blocks from the spot where the unsuspecting grandmother was caught off guard by the suspect, who abruptly jumped in the driver’s seat and took off, trapping Frickey in the wheel well.