Black Then Mysteries: The Unsolved Death of Jonathan Luna

1 Posted by - April 25, 2018 - BLACK MEN, Heartbreaking

A rapidly rising star, Jonathan Luna was an Assistant D.A who died very early. The events leading up to his demise left more questions than answers.

 

BACKGROUND

Born and raised in the South Bronx to a Black mother and a Filipino father, Jonathan Luna finished his studies at Fordham University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

He started his legal career in 1993 with the Arnold & Porter law firm in D.C. and would stay there before working for the Federal Trade Commission in 1994. After his time with the FTC, he served as a prosecutor in Brooklyn for three years.

Luna was seen as an extremely respectful and professional attorney by his peers. He was also viewed as effective at his job—perhaps too effective considering the case that probably led to his end.

 

LUNA’S FINAL FEDERAL CASE

At the time of his death, Jonathan Luna had been Assistant District Attorney of Baltimore since 1999. In early December 2003, he was in the thick of a particularly roughly drug case that was about to blur the line between upholding the law and bending it until it broke.

Walter O. Poindexter and Deon Lionel Smith were brought up on heroin charges. They were captured as a result of evidence provided by Baltimore drug dealer Warren Grace. To get information, the FBI gave Grace quite a bit of leeway as he repeatedly broke conditions that kept informants out of prison.

Grace was the prosecution’s main witness but because of his violations, Luna’s aim of putting Poindexter and Smith away was snuffed. On December 3, Luna talked with defense attorneys in a bid to get plea deals. He worked on the conditions of the plea deals into the night before leaving his office sometime before midnight.

 

THE MISSING THOUSANDS

Prior to the drug case, there was a 2002 bank robbery case Luna helped handle. After the case ended, $36,000 of the evidence money came up missing. Luna was one of the suspects as he was responsible for the money. Even after his death, no one was arrested for the theft.

This case ties into Luna’s death since police revealed that Luna was having money problems to the tune of $25,000 of credit card debt. It was also noted that Luna came into $10,000 after the $36,000 went missing with no explanation of its origin.

Around this time, it was also claimed that Luna frequented dating sites. In the deaths of individuals of note, when these kinds of claims are made, it tends to get both the rumor mill and the conspiracy machine rolling. It also led to the theory that Luna committed suicide.

However…

 

DECEMBER 4, 2003

On December 3, 2003, Jonathan Luna was putting together the plea deal for Poindexter and Smith. Why he left his office at 11:38 PM is never actually explained, but he did leave his eyeglasses and phone before leaving the garage. This is crucial because Luna needed his glasses

Jonathan Luna’s final journey saw him arrive in Newark, DE where he pulled $200 from an ATM at 1 AM. He drove through New Jersey afterwards. A bloodstained toll ticket showed him arriving in Pennsylvania just past 4 AM. The blood on the ticket showed that Luna had been injured prior to when his body was found.

Warning, the conclusion features an explanation of Jonathan Luna’s wounds. With respect to him and his family, I will omit the most graphic details which can be found in the source for this entry.

 

DISCOVERY OF LUNA

The hour between when he arrived and when his body was found in Denver, PA is mired in mystery. At 5:30 AM, a Senseing & Weaver Well Drilling employee found Jonathan Luna’s Honda Accord over a creek with the engine still running. There was blood on the front, the passenger’s seat on the driver’s side, and driver’s side door.

Luna was found underneath the car, face down in the water with ID card still on. Following an examination of his body, it was shown that he had over 30 stab wounds with some to the back. Also his hands were described as having numerous cuts—perhaps defensive wounds. Luna’s throat was also cut.

 

FINDINGS

Dr. Barry Walp, at the time the Lancaster County coroner, found that it was a homicide by drowning. However, in an investigation of the scene, police eventually found what they believed to be the murder weapon—Luna’s pocket knife.

Going back to the missing $36,000 from 2002, one theory was that Jonathan Luna was stressed by his debt and committed suicide. The coroner that took over after Dr. Walp, Dr. G. Gary Kirchner, was rumored to have been pushed towards marking the death as a suicide. Since he didn’t, Luna’s death remains an open investigation almost 14 years later.

SOURCES

-Who Killed Jonathan Luna (Lancaster Online): http://lancasteronline.com/elanco/news/who-killed-jonathan-luna-a-decade-later-federal-prosecutor-s/article_362ae867-53cc-5da3-a56b-d3bdefd54927.html
-Case 09: Jonathan Luna (Case File): http://casefilepodcast.com/case-09-jonathan-luna/

 

2 Comments

  • Jeffrey Cutler November 7, 2017 - 8:41 pm Reply

    Jonathan Luna may have been vetting [[Lawrence F. Stengel]] at the behest of [[Stewart Dalzell]] when he was murdered, because of the Lisa Michelle Lambert and [[Murder of Laurie Show]] case. This may be the reason [[R. Seth Williams]] was targeted by the [[FBI]] and the Philadelphia courts and such a harsh sentence for pleading to 1 count of briberery, when [[John Corsine]] was never prosecuted for his involvement in securities fraud. On November 1, 2017 Jeffrey Cutler got a reference number for the report of conspiracy to commit INSURANCE FRAUD by Brian Hurter, Dennis Stuckey, David Buckwalter, Christina Hausner, Susan Peipher, Richard Mills as 17110104. Jefrey Cutler, the Tax Collector of East Lampeter Township started this cases as well as case # 17-2709, on appeal from case # 2:17-cv-00984, which mentions the 190,000 counts of mail fraud by Brian Hurter and Amber Green Martin for sending out fraudulent property assessments in Lancaster County Pennsylvania. The FBI tried to obstruct justice in the case with a EMAIL to CEASE AND DESIST reporting crimes to them and the office of the Philadelphia District Attorney. In Lancaster County a minimum of 2 African Americans (Jamaal Harris and Andrew Miller) were held without trial in excess of 4 years without trial, and were required to plead guilty to get out of prison. The local newspaper (LNP) and York Daily Record censored a memorial advertisemet for his Uncle Irving Cutler, after payment, but refunded the money. The Advertisement was run on October 29, 2017 by the Reading Eagle.

    • Crystal Durham May 25, 2018 - 12:43 am Reply

      Jeffrey Cutler, your theory is interesting. I’m not sure I understand all of it but hopefully I’m getting the gist of it: So you believe someone was trying to make Luna look like someone who was sort of asking for it? This does seem to be a tried-and-true tactic. I’d like to know more.

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