The Bizarre Death of Jonathan Luna

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11th November 2017  •  5 min read

Jonathan Luna's body was discovered dotted with numerous stab wounds. His throat had been slit. He had defensive wounds. Nevertheless, the FBI concluded he committed suicide.

The Bizarre Death of Jonathan Luna

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Morbidology is a weekly true crime podcast created and hosted by Emily G. Thompson. Using investigative research combined with primary audio, Morbidology takes an in-depth look at true crime cases from all across the world.

Growing up in the projects of New York City, Jonathan Luna always dreamed of graduating college and making his family proud. His father had struggled to make a living with a restaurant while his mother was a housewife. He graduated from Fordham University in 1987 with a degree in history. Afterwards, he enrolled in the University of North Carolina law school. His friends described him as “selfless, engaging, charismatic and a gentle soul.” 1

After graduating law school, Jonathan scored a federal clerkship with U.S. District Judge William L. Osteen in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was here they he met his future wife, Angela. The couple eventually settled down in Elkridge, Baltimore, where they had two sons. Luna got a job working as an Assistant United States Attorney. His focus was on convicting sexual predators. “He dedicated a lot of his caseload to protecting children. He protected hundreds and hundreds of children from abuse,” recalled his colleague, Bonnie Greenberg.

The Bizarre Death of Jonathan Luna

The 4th of December, 2003, started just like any other day. Luna kissed his family goodbye before departing his modest home for work. He had been working on a case involving two men who were accused of dealing heroin from their music label studio, Stash House Records. One of the men was also facing a murder charge. Luna had spent the entire evening working on the case and called Arcangelo Tuminelli, a co-worker, at approximately 9PM that night, saying he was ready to go home and that he would see him the following morning. They were going to offer the two men a plea deal and he would work on it at home throughout the night so it would be ready for the morning. According to the clocking out system in his office car park, Luna didn’t leave the office until 11:38PM.

He left behind his phone and glasses, indicating he left in a rush or had planned to return. He needed the glasses to drive.

At around 1AM, Luna’s car entered Delaware where $200 was lifted from an ATM at a rest stop. He then crossed into New Jersey and on to Pennsylvania at around 4AM. In Pennsylvania, his credit card was used at a Sunoco Station. His E-Z Pass was used on the I-95 into Delaware but after this, he started to purchase toll tickets. His car was then parked behind a Sensenig & Weaver in Denver, Pennsylvania.

It was approximately 5:30AM and the sun was just starting to rise when a worker of Sensenig & Weaver arrived to start his shift. He noticed the discarded car and decided to investigate. He had assumed that it was a drunk driver. As he approached the car, he noticed that blood was smeared over the door and the front fender. When the worker looked into the car window, he found a large puddle of blood on the back seat and back footwell. Money and cell phone equipment had been scattered inside the car.

Nearby in a shallow creek lay the lifeless body of Jonathan Luna.

The Bizarre Death of Jonathan Luna
The creek where Luna drowned. Credit: Washington Post.

Luna had sustained 36 stab wounds with his own penknife. The pathologist, Dr. Gary Kirchner, said that his hands had been “shredded” and that his scrotum and throat had both been slashed. After the brutal attack, Luna drowned to death in the creek. Inside the car investigators found that the purchased toll tickets had blood smeared on them. Additionally, the puddle of blood in the back seat and footwell indicated that Luna hadn’t been driving the car, but somebody else. Inside the car was an unidentified fingerprint in the blood as well as blood from an unidentified source.

While the death was initially ruled as a homicide, “law enforcement sources” soon began to speculate that Luna had committed suicide. Dr. Gary Kirchner believed that Luna had been murdered but the FBI asked him to change the manner of death to suicide. Kirchner announced Luna had been “brutalized with multiple stab wounds.” In fact, he even had several stab wounds over his back and defensive wounds on his hands and arms as if attempting to ward off an attacker. He said that some of the wounds to his neck and chest were small puncture marks and were “consistent with torture.” 2

The Bizarre Death of Jonathan Luna
Credit: Baltimore Sun.

Local Lancaster counter authorities agreed with the pathologist and continued to investigate the grim death as a homicide.

They obtained the CCTV footage from the rest stop in Delaware and the Sunoco Station in Pennsylvania hoping that they could catch a glimpse of Luna. However, he could not be spotted in any of the footage even though his credit card had been used. While he wasn’t spotted on CCTV, several workers claimed they had seen him that night. “He was just very calm. He must have been with people, but I don’t think he knew they were going to kill him,” said one of the employees.

The Bizarre Death of Jonathan Luna
Credit: Lancaster Online.

Nevertheless, the manner of death was ultimately changed to suicide and a smear campaign on Luna’s reputation was soon born in cruel case of victim blaming.

It was soon reported in the media that Luna may have involved in a robbery case in which $36,000 went missing. The Baltimore Sun implied that Luna was involved in the robbery and alluded that he had committed suicide because he was afraid that he was going to lose his job. There was never any evidence to corroborate these claims up yet they were published as fact. “His job was not in jeopardy in any respect,” declared U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio.3 Federal sources leaked details of his debt and theorised that he had been having an affair. Everybody that knew Luna had nothing but pleasant words to say about him and found the allegations to be “a well-timed hit job on Luna’s reputation.”

Many theorise that Luna’s death was connected with the drug ring case that he was prosecuting. It should be noted, however, that the two men involved in the drug ring were in jail at the time of his death. Coincidentally, Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar, who was also working on a drug ring case, disappeared in 2005. To this day, he has never been found.

The Bizarre Death of Jonathan Luna
Credit: Washington Post.

What happened to Jonathan Luna from the moment he left his place of employment until he ended up stabbed and slashed in a murky creek still remains a mystery.

In 2006, The Lancaster Sunday News pointed out that the reward for information in the Luna case is $100,000 while the reward for information in the Seattle shooting of another U.S. attorney, Thomas Wales, was $1 million. They also added: “Isn’t Jonathan Luna as important a person as Thomas Wales? It wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that Mr. Luna had dark skin and Mr. Wales had white skin, would it?” They also questioned whether somebody in the government has something to hide.4

While the FBI ascertains that Luna ended his own life, this leaves a plethora of unanswered questions. For one, how could he have driven approximately 95 miles without his glasses? Why did he switch from using his E-Z Pass to toll tickets? Was somebody unfamiliar with his E-Z Pass driving his car? Why would he have stabbed himself 36 times as well as slashing his scrotum, throat, and hands? How did he stab himself in the back? What would motivate him to end his life when he was known by all to be an upbeat, full of life, family man? And finally, why exactly is the FBI so intent on trying to convince us that Jonathan Luna killed himself?

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  1. Columbia Flier, 18 December, 2003 – “Friends Family Pay Tribute to Slain Prosecutor”
  2. New York Post, 6 December, 2003 – “U.S. Attorney Stabbed 36 Times”
  3. The Sun, 18 April, 2004 – “Luna Reportedly Feared Losing Job”
  4. The Lancaster Sunday News, 10 December, 2006 – “A Matter of Homicide”


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Marilyn Santos
Marilyn Santos
4 years ago

Sometimes fbi are soo dump how he killed himself? Smh

Jeffrey Cutler
Jeffrey Cutler
3 years ago

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,… Read more »

Kelly Noble
Kelly Noble
3 years ago

Luna did not kill himself…my god what is the fbi smokin? No one put to kill himself would first of all drag him self all the way put there and die in the water…Secondly wouldn’t stab himself in the back or scrotum! And third…would stab himself so ma nu times! He would if using a knofe…either slice his wrists or stab himself in the heart. Usually men who Comite suicide do it with a gun to the head. This man was torchured and the FBI is covering something up. No wonder people have trouble trusting government agencies.

Tara White
Tara White
3 years ago

We can play armchair detective all day with this one but nobody can override our government. If its a cover up and of course it is itll never be solved properly. Too many years have gone by and leads or clues are surely gone now. Sad…he had a lot of potential!

5 months ago
Reply to  Tara White

I fear you are right on the money, literally, since money had something to do with it. This is a very sad and absolutely blatant cover up by the FBI. They know or suspect who did it. I wonder what would happen if they looked into the backgrounds of the suspected bad agents. I live near where his body was found. It is in an obscure area that no one knows about unless they are very familiar with this area. It is close to the turnpike but not easy to get to if you don’t know the area. The killer… Read more »

Susanna Vesna
Susanna Vesna(@susanna_vesna)
2 years ago

FBI should be renamed into FBC- Federal Bureau of Cover-ups! smh


[…] Sources […]

Find the truth
Find the truth
6 months ago

I bet this had something to do with Luna’s murder and the FBI’s cover up

Michael Tobin
Michael Tobin
2 months ago
Reply to  Find the truth

Fortunately, in the real world, a conspiracy theory and $2 will only get ya a bag of chips. Your primary source is a third rate site with unfounded sources? Plenty of insightful researching going on there…. I suppose 9/11 was an inside job, the moon landing was a hoax, etc…? Conspiracy theorists always like to think they are the only ones with ‘The Truth’ but in reality, they are a group of pale weirdos who need to move out of their grandma’s basement.

Jeff Watt
Jeff Watt
2 months ago

Manner of death NOT changed to suicide. FBI wanted it, Lancaster county coroner said NO.

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