Jonathan Luna, in an undated family photo.
updated 12/7/2003 5:56:02 PM ET 2003-12-07T22:56:02

Authorities investigating the slaying of federal prosecutor Jonathan Luna are asking questions about his personal life, including his finances, relationships and trips he made in the last month, his father said Sunday. While a federal law enforcement source told The Associated Press that investigators had found nothing to indicate the killing was related to Luna’s work, Luna’s father and friends are convinced his death was tied to his career.

ON SUNDAY, a federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Luna had traveled in recent months to the area of Pennsylvania where his body was found and that investigators were trying to determine what he had been doing there.

They were not immediately aware of any work-related business that would have taken him to the region, the official said.

Investigators also were looking into a credit card Luna held without his wife’s knowledge and into postings of messages by someone who went by the name of Jonathan Luna in Web sites where people advertise for female sex partners, according to a federal law enforcement official who spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity.

Baltimore FBI spokesman Larry Foust said Sunday that investigators were still trying to determine a motive for Luna’s killing.

“This is a full-court press, but we just don’t know. There’s a lot of information and a lot of misinformation out there,” Foust said. “We have people working nonstop, overturning every stone, going where the facts lead them.”

‘I WAS WARNING HIM’

For years, Paul D. Luna, 83, had urged his son to return to private practice instead of prosecuting drug dealers and violent criminals. The assistant U.S. attorney had just worked out plea deals in one drug case late Wednesday, hours before he was found dead, stabbed 36 times and left face down in a creek.

“I was warning him many times,” Paul Luna told the AP on Sunday. “I’m very positive that this is for his work. I even told that to the FBI.”

He said two FBI agents interviewed him for about three hours Saturday.

The same day, investigators were in Lancaster County, Pa., showing hotel owners pictures of the slain 38-year-old prosecutor. Hotel owners and managers said they were asked to review their guest registers for Wednesday and Thursday nights and asked if they had video security cameras.

Pennsylvania State Police also contacted their counterparts in Delaware on Saturday about the case, said Lt. Joe Aviola, a Delaware State Police spokesman. He did not have any details about what they were looking for in Delaware.

Paul Luna said he told the FBI agents about a planned trip to New York after Thanksgiving, which was the last time he saw his son.

Image: Slain Prosecutor
Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Chad Roberts wraps up crime scene tape in Brecknock Township, Pa., on Thursday, near the spot where the body of Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Luna was found.
“I reminded him about taking me to New York. He says, ’Not this week, Dad. I’m sorry, because I have a case. I have to go to Pennsylvania,”’ he recalled his son saying. Paul Luna said he didn’t know what the case or trip was related to and that his son rarely told him details about his work.

He said investigators also asked him whether his son had any financial dealings with anyone and whether he was having financial problems.

FINANCES PROBED

“I don’t think he was having problems because he was planning to go to the Philippines with me next month,” said the father, who is from that country. “So if he has problems, why should he do that?”

Friends also said money was never a problem for Luna. Though he was a successful prosecutor and his wife is an obstetrician, they own modest family sedans.

They bought their Elkridge townhouse for $174,900 in 2000. They talked later about buying a bigger home but decided against it because they would rather spend the extra money on family vacations, said neighbor Dana Stango.

Paul Luna said he gave investigators names of his son’s friends in New York, where his son had been an assistant district attorney in the late 1990s.

He also said he was asked about relationships his son may have had but said he had no knowledge of any possible extramarital affair. His son appeared to be happily married to his wife, Angela, he said.

“It looked like they were very much in love with each other,” Paul Luna said. He said he saw the couple and their two young sons frequently.

FURIOUS FIGHT FOR LIFE

Luna was stabbed 36 times in a furious fight for his life before drowning in a Pennsylvania creek, investigators said Friday as they worked to reconstruct his final hours.

A federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said authorities have not established a motive for the slaying, the first killing of a federal prosecutor in three years.

Investigators are interviewing people connected with cases Luna prosecuted, as well as friends and associates, but no immediate promising leads have come up, the official said.

Luna apparently was attacked after leaving his office in Baltimore around midnight Wednesday, the source said. His body was discovered six hours later and 70 miles away, near his blood-smeared, idling car, according to a police affidavit.

Lancaster County, Pa., coroner Dr. Barry Walp said the 38-year-old assistant U.S. attorney was “brutalized with multiple stab wounds” that could have been caused by a penknife, and then drowned in the creek.

“They were defensive wounds,” a second federal law enforcement source told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Walp said Luna was dressed in a suit and overcoat, and had his wallet with identification and cash, but it was unclear whether he had been robbed.

REBUILDING THE FINAL HOURS

Money and cell phone equipment also were found inside his car, which had blood on the driver’s side door and fender and a large pool of blood on the floor, according to a police search warrant application. The affidavit said Luna also had a “traumatic wound” on the right side of his head.

The FBI worked to create a timeline of what Luna did in his last hours.

By 5 p.m. Wednesday, Luna and defense attorneys had reached a plea bargain in the case of rap musician Deon L. Smith and Walter O. Poindexter, who were on trial on charges of running a violent heroin ring from their studio, according to the judge presiding over the case.

Poindexter’s attorney, Arcangelo Tuminelli, said he got a call from Luna at 9:06 p.m. in which the prosecutor said he was still drawing up the paperwork for the plea and making sure it was all correct.

Tuminelli said he did not where Luna was at that point. But he said Luna told him he had to go home and would be back in his office in the federal courthouse in Baltimore later.

PERSONAL ITEMS

“I assumed there would be a fax at my house of the agreement by about midnight,” Tuminelli said. The fax never came.

One federal law enforcement official said authorities had determined Luna left his home early in the evening and went back to his office to work on papers in the plea bargain. He was there until around midnight, the source said.

Another source who spoke on condition of anonymity said there were personal items in Luna’s office that one “would have expected him to be taking home had he been leaving to go home for the evening.” The source declined to describe the items.

Authorities have not said whether the rapper’s case had anything to do with the slaying. Smith and Poindexter were behind bars at the time.

© 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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