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Three teenage girls have all been jailed for 20 years over the brutal killing of a 73-year-old woman, who was dragged beside her own vehicle during an attempted carjacking.
Linda Frickey, who was well known in the local community, died of blunt force injuries following the incident that occurred in New Orleans on 21 March 2022.
Frickey became entangled in a seatbelt as carjackers sped away with her car. She was dragged while neighbours watched on helplessly.
Local outlets reported that the three teenagers pleaded guilty to reduced charges on Monday, ahead of trial. A fourth suspect, an 18-year-old male, still faces a charge of second-degree murder, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors argued that the male was behind the wheel of the car when Frickey died. A charge of second-degree murder carries a potential life sentence.
Two of the three defendants who pleaded guilty made statements at their sentencing, apologising to the Frickey family and asking for forgiveness.
According to The New Orleans Advocate, one of the trio became tearful, telling the family, “That’s not what we set out to do … and I hope that you all can forgive me.”
Reading from a written statement, the other girl called the incident “the worst decision of my life”.
“I wish I could go back and change the outcome. [Frickey] seemed like such a nice lady,” she said, according to news outlet NOLA.
Outside the court following their sentencing, Frickey’s sister, Jinny Frickey, said she “felt relief” after the hearing.
“When they were saying they were sorry, I’m sure they were,” she said. “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.”
The district attorney’s office said it would not be commenting until the case was over, but praised the “remarkable grace” of Frickey’s family in response to the defendant’s statements.
"Our hearts and unwavering support continue to be with the Frickey family as we fight for justice and pursue a resolution that honors Linda’s memory.”
“I think they really were sincere in their apology, and we appreciate that they did admit their guilt and accept their punishment and hopefully as time goes on, everyone can heal,” added Frickey’s sister-in-law Kathy Richard.
However, Ms Richard added that the fourth defendant, who will face trial next week, deserved “no mercy” – saying that the family wanted the man to get “the maximum”.