Jonathan Luna

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For the comic artist, see Luna Brothers.

Jonathan P. Luna (October 21, 1965–December 4, 2003) was a Baltimore-based Assistant United States Attorney who was stabbed 36 times with his own penknife and found drowned in a creek in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Personal background[edit]

Luna grew up in the projects in the South Bronx near Yankee Stadium. He was of African-American and Filipino ancestry. He was a graduate of Fordham University and the law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He worked at Arnold & Porter in Washington, DC in 1993–1994 and the Federal Trade Commission in 1994–1997. He worked as a prosecutor in Brooklyn before moving to Baltimore. He was married to an obstetrician and had two children. He was 38 years old when he died.

The night he died: December 3–4, 2003[edit]

  • 11:38 pm: Luna left the Baltimore courthouse and went northeast on I-95. He used his E-ZPass on I-95 into Delaware but not on the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Turnpikes. After three toll interchanges, he switched to buying toll tickets.
  • 12:57 am: $200 was withdrawn from Luna's bank account from the ATM at the JFK Plaza service center near Newark, Delaware.
  • 02:47 am: he crossed the Delaware toll bridge to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
  • 03:20 am: his debit card bought gas at the Sunoco King of Prussia service plaza.
  • 04:04 am: his car exited the turnpike at the Reading-Lancaster interchange. The toll ticket had a spot of his blood on it suggesting that he was already injured. His car was parked at the back of the Sensenig & Weaver Well Drilling company at 1439 Dry Tavern Road, Denver, Pennsylvania (Brecknock Township) before it was later driven into the creek.
  • 05:00 am: the first employee of Sensenig & Weaver arrived.
  • 05:30 am: the car was noticed, with its lights off and the front end into the stream. Blood was smeared over the driver's door and the front left of the car. Luna was face down in the stream under the car engine. He was wearing a suit and a black overcoat with his court ID around his neck. A pool of blood was found on the rear seat floor. Although stabbed 36 times with his own penknife around the chest and neck plus a head injury, the death was due to drowning.

No suspects or motive for murder was determined. The federal authorities (FBI) lean towards calling it a suicide but the local Lancaster County authorities, including two successive coroners, ruled it a homicide. Additional evidence collected during the investigation has captured a second set of blood and a partial print, as well as some grainy footage from near the time of the gas station purchase made with Luna's credit card at the Sunoco service plaza.[1] The investigation remains ongoing. There is an unclaimed federal reward of $100,000 for information leading to a conviction.

Suicide theory[edit]

It was initially reported that Luna did not have the expected substantial defense wounds on his hands and that many of the wounds are shallow which are called "hesitation" wounds in a suicide victim. These claims were rebuffed by the coroners' office, which stated that his hands had been "shredded" and that he experienced significant slashing to the throat and scrotum.[2] Some suggested motives for suicide were that Luna was to take a polygraph test concerning $36,000 which disappeared from a bank robbery case that he had prosecuted. Luna had a charge card which his wife, Angela, did not know about.[3] His name was on an Internet dating site and he had a $25,000 credit card debt.[3] There is also an accidental suicide theory that Luna was fabricating a kidnapping and attack and that he went too far.

Homicide theory[edit]

The Lancaster County coroner's office, who performed the autopsy, has stated in unambiguous terms that they rule Luna's death as a homicide due to the nature and type of the wounds.[4] Luna left his glasses, which he needed to drive, and his cell phone on his desk. He had called defense attorneys earlier in the night saying he would fax over documents that night but they never arrived. The pool of blood in the back seat would suggest Luna was in back and someone else was driving.

Inquest[edit]

In early February 2007, a private investigator and an attorney, both hired by Luna's family, filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in order to force the Lancaster County coroner to conduct an inquest into Luna's death, after an earlier request was declined.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bal-probe0109,0,5329212.story
  2. ^ http://www.yardbird.com/luna_stabbed_in_back_scrotum_hands_cut.htm
  3. ^ a b Hewitt, Bill (22 December 2003). "Who Killed Jonathan Luna?". People Magazine 60. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  4. ^ http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bal-md.luna30nov30,0,2938855.story
  5. ^ "Private Investigator Wants Jonathan Luna Case Reopened". WBAL Radio. 2007-02-26. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-02-26.