Dead 3a with unusual display

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I have a friend who sent me this pic of her 3a that she said died suddenly while talking on the phone. I tried to tell her the steps for a hard reset and also for booting into recovery, but she says it only either goes to black screen or the screen in the pic. Since I'm not there and can't try it myself, I'm not sure if she's trying the reset / recovery button sequence properly.

Has anyone seen a screen that looks like this? If so, is it a hardware failure?

TIA for any input.