Slain TSU student was shot in back Robbery suspected as motive; man in white BMW sought

The gunman who killed a 23-year-old Towson State University student Saturday morning shot her once in the back by firing through the rear passenger window of her car, then apparently followed her in a BMW as she drove across the road to the York Road Plaza parking lot and died, police said yesterday.

The body of Joann E. "Jody" LeCornu was discovered in her white Honda Civic after a delivery crew at the plaza's Giant food store reported hearing gunshots at 3:41 a.m.


Baltimore County police say Ms. LeCornu's purse was not in the car, leading them to suspect robbery as a motive, said Capt. Brian Uppercue.

Investigators have been unable to reconstruct Ms. LeCornu's activities Friday night and Saturday morning.


Police believe she may have stopped at an automated teller machine near a Caldor store across from the Giant, and said they will review transactions on her account and records from her car phone. No ATM receipt was in her car, police said. A check of her home phone records yielded no clues, and police said leads are dwindling.

"With all the interviews we've done, we still haven't been able to determine why it is she was down there," Captain Uppercue said. "There's no indication of drugs, or anything like that. It's kind of curious why this guy followed her to Giant -- we don't know why. We don't know if she was meeting someone. "

The gunman was described by witnesses as a male with a stocky build, wearing a camouflage jacket and driving a white BMW.

Ms. LeCornu lived in the 600 block of Gittings Ave. She was a senior studying geriatrics at Towson State and, friends said, recently began working as a receptionist at Eastern Savings Bank in Hunt Valley.

Steve Dubin, her boyfriend and housemate, said he last talked to her Friday morning before they left for work. Mr. Dubin, a fund-raiser at Boys Latin School in Baltimore, said he was at a dance at the school Friday night and did not get home until about 12:30 a.m. Saturday. He said Ms. LeCornu probably got off work about 5:30 p.m. Friday. When he realized she wasn't home, he said he assumed she was visiting her parents in Annapolis. Her father is John LeCornu, an Anne Arundel County assistant state's attorney.

"The boyfriend hasn't provided us with a lot, her friends don't know where she was," Captain Uppercue said.

Family members yesterday declined requests for interviews.

Friends and neighbors described Ms. LeCornu as outgoing and friendly. Until last fall, she had worked at Alonso's Restaurant on Cold Spring Lane, where she was a popular waitress.


"She was a sweetheart -- she always kept us laughing," said Marge Carson, the restaurant's day manager. She recalled how Ms. LeCornu shared with colleagues her delight as she prepared for her twin sister's visit from California and her elation when she got a new puppy.

They also knew her as a person who took extra precautions for her personal safety.

"She always wanted someone to watch her get into her car," Ms. Carson said.

A neighbor, Marcia Scott, who lives with her sister on Gittings Avenue, said Ms. LeCornu always went out of her way to be helpful.

"If she saw my sister or I carrying a package, she'd call out for us to wait a minute and let her help," she said. Ms. Scott also described Ms. LeCornu's safety concerns and said her presence in the York Road Plaza parking lot in the early morning hours seemed uncharacteristic.

"She was a very attractive girl -- we are very, very upset," Ms. Scott said. "I can't understand where she could have been at that hour."