- The Washington Times - Monday, December 15, 2003

COLUMBIA, Md. — Friends and family of Jonathan Luna, as well as prominent members of Maryland’s legal community, remembered the slain federal prosecutor yesterday as a warm and engaging person with a winning smile who was devoted to his family and to the law.

Among those in attendance at the funeral were Mr. Luna’s boss, U.S. Attorney for Maryland Thomas DiBiagio, fellow federal prosecutors and federal judges.

Mr. Luna, 38, was found drowned with 36 stab wounds in a rural Lancaster County, Pa., creek on Dec. 4 about 70 miles from his suburban Baltimore home. Federal investigators still are searching for whoever killed him.

Federal Judge Andre Davis said he met Mr. Luna when he first became a federal prosecutor in Baltimore four years ago. Judge Davis said the two felt a natural affinity because Mr. Luna was a young black prosecutor and Judge Davis was the only black judge on the federal bench in Baltimore at the time. Judge Davis described Mr. Luna as a deeply caring person devoted to protecting the community.

“He loved his wife. He adored his children,” Judge Davis said.

Extra chairs were brought into the Long Reach Church of God in Columbia to accommodate the crowd. Pastor Robert Davis estimated about 1,000 people attended the funeral.

Bonnie Greenberg, a fellow prosecutor, described Mr. Luna as a “team player” who brought joy and enthusiasm to the court. She said he always had a smile that made his colleagues feel good.

“He would bring you up no matter how bad your day was,” she said.

Miss Greenberg also said he protected hundreds of children through his work prosecuting sex offenders. She said Mr. Luna was dedicated to his children, 5-year-old Justin and 1-year-old Jacob, and often showed pictures of them to his colleagues.

Reggie Shufford, a roommate in law school at the University of North Carolina, pointed out how Mr. Luna took his second year off to care for his father who was suffering from cancer.

Mr. Shufford said they both came from modest backgrounds and wanted to give back to the community by working for the public.

He also said Mr. Luna had a smile “that he was ready to give every time you passed him by.”

“Jonathan, may you rest in peace buddy. You’ve earned it,” Mr. Shufford said.

Judge William Osteen, a federal judge in North Carolina for whom Mr. Luna clerked after graduating from law school in 1992, said he picked Mr. Luna from more than 400 applicants.

Judge Osteen said he learned about Mr. Luna’s candor during the interview for the job when the New York native admitted to being a New York Yankees fan, even though the judge told him beforehand that he was a fan of the rival Boston Red Sox.

“Jonathan wrote with an indelible pen everywhere he went,” the judge said.

Brian Brauns, a law-school classmate, recalled how Mr. Luna challenged an especially tough teacher — who was avoided by other students — to a tennis match. Mr. Brauns also said the stress of first-year law school didn’t appear to bother Mr. Luna, who made other students feel more at ease.

“He did that for so many people,” Mr. Brauns said.

Family members and friends have said they think Mr. Luna’s death is connected to his job, where he prosecuted drug dealers, armed bank robbers and child molesters during his career.

Investigators have found no evidence of such a link and have been probing Mr. Luna’s personal life, including asking questions about whether he had a girlfriend or financial problems.

Mr. Luna was buried at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium, Md.


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