Thursday, December 04, 2003

A Tragic Loss

A federal prosecutor was found stabbed to death in a Pennsylvania creek after failing to show up at the trial of a rapper and another man accused of dealing heroin.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan P. Luna, 38, was discovered face-down in the water behind the parking lot of a well-drilling company in Lancaster County, Pa., about 70 miles from Baltimore, police said. A car was near the body, police said.

"Let there be no doubt. Let there be no doubt that everyone in law enforcement, local police, state police, the United States Marshals Service, ATF, FBI, are united," U.S. Attorney Thomas DiBiagio said. "We will find out who did this and we are dedicated to bringing the person responsible for this tragedy to justice."
I have no doubt about their dedication, however, the shooting death of Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas C. Wales in Seattle, remains unsolved after three years. Although in this case, the barbarian(s) got up close and personal; hopefully there will be physical evidence to tie someone to the scene.
Luna was prosecuting Baltimore rapper Deon Lionnel Smith, 32, and Walter Oriley Poindexter, 28, who were accused of dealing heroin and running a violent drug ring from their Stash House Records studio. Smith recorded under the name Papi Jenkinz.

Authorities did not say whether the two men are under suspicion in the slaying. They were behind bars at the time.

Luna and the defense attorneys negotiated through the afternoon Wednesday and reached a plea bargain on the drug charges at the end of the day, said U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles Jr., who presided over the case. The men entered their guilty pleas around noon Thursday.

Smith pleaded guilty to distribution of heroin and possession of a weapon for the purposes of drug trafficking. Poindexter pleaded guilty to distribution of heroin to a government witness.

Luna got a phone call at his home Wednesday night and left the house about midnight, said a federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity. His wife reported him missing, and the FBI later began looking for him.
Luna was married and had two children. He grew up in New York City, attended Fordham University and went on to law school at the University of North Carolina.

He was an attorney at the Federal Trade Commission from 1994 until 1997. He then worked as a prosecutor in Brooklyn before coming to Baltimore.

Luna, who was black, was a champion of the disadvantaged, often writing letters to the editor on behalf of minorities and the poor.

In 1991, he wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times, saying he was "offended" at the title of a recent series of articles on the Mott Haven section of the south Bronx where he grew up. The series was titled "Life at the Bottom."

Luna wrote that there were people in the neighborhood like his parents who were "struggling every day to make a life for themselves and their families in Mott Haven. My dad struggled in the restaurant business, while my mom stayed at home to raise my brother and me."

Quarles described Luna as a "wonderful young man, responsible, charming and highly intelligent. He had genuine trial skills as a lawyer and juries loved him."


Post a Comment

<< Home