Disclaimer: All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — On Monday, Nov. 27, the fourth suspect in the Linda Frickey case will go to trial.
John Honore, 18, will be the only suspect to face a judge and jury after Monday’s plea deals for the three teenage girls.
The girls were sentenced to 20 years in prison and will serve a minimum of 15 years before the possibility of parole.
Attorney and former prosecutor Cliff Cardone explains how the girls were able to plead guilty to attempted manslaughter, which means the homicide wasn’t completed, even though they were initially charged with second-degree murder in Frickey’s death.
“The underlying crime here was completed,” Cardone said. “So, does it make sense? Not really. But it’s applied in situations to encourage pleas. It’s allowed under Louisiana law, and I used it many times as a prosecutor to encourage a plea.”
Their plea deals reduce their sentences from life imprisonment to up to 20 years, and according to Cardone, to get a plea deal such as this one, the girls will likely take the stand.
“The likelihood is that these people that pled will cooperate with the DA’s office to offer themselves up as witnesses against the remaining defendant,” Cardone explained. “Will they need to testify? This is pretty much an airtight case. You’ve seen the video. We’ve all seen the video.”
Cardone says that based on what he knows about the case, it doesn’t appear Honore was offered a plea deal. He has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.
“It’s a no-brainer for him,” the former prosecutor said. “I’m going to get life in prison if I plead guilty to second-degree murder. I’m not faced with a first-degree murder charge. So, go to trial and hope [defense attorneys] make a mistake.”
To secure a second-degree murder conviction, the jury must return a unanimous verdict, which is why Cardone believes the defense is banking on a misstep.
“They will, in all likelihood, attack credibility of any witness that might testify against Honore to maybe cause or create reasonable doubt in the jury’s mind.”
Twelve jurors will hear opening statements, beginning Monday at 9 a.m.