- The Washington Times - Friday, December 5, 2003

A federal prosecutor in Baltimore found dead Thursday morning along a creek bed near Brecknock Township, Pa., drowned after being “brutalized with multiple stab wounds” and left face down in the icy water, authorities said yesterday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan P. Luna, 38, who failed to show up in a Baltimore courtroom Thursday to finalize a plea agreement in a drug conspiracy case against a local rapper, died of “freshwater drowning with multiple stab wounds,” according to a report by Lancaster County, Pa., Coroner Dr. Barry Walp.

Law-enforcement authorities said Mr. Luna was stabbed 36 times in what appeared to be a fierce fight for his life.

A massive manhunt for the killer is being coordinated by an FBI-led task force, along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore and other federal, state and local law-enforcement authorities in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Authorities said Mr. Luna, when found by police, was dressed in a business suit and wearing an overcoat. They said he still had his wallet, identification and cash.

A Pennsylvania State Police affidavit said Mr. Luna’s car, located at the scene still idling, was smeared with blood on the driver’s side door and front fender and there was “a large pool of blood” on the floorboard in front of the passenger seat. It also said money and cellphone equipment were inside the vehicle and Mr. Luna suffered a “traumatic wound” to the side of his head.

No motive for the killing has been determined. Authorities are questioning people tied to cases Mr. Luna prosecuted, including friends and associates. He often handled high-profile prosecutions involving violent defendants.

Mr. Luna was discovered by Pennsylvania State Police at 5:30 a.m. Thursday. No weapon was recovered at the scene. Dr. Walp said the stab wounds could have been caused by a penknife.

The prosecutor was due that morning in court to seal a deal in a case involving Baltimore rapper Deon Lionnel Smith, 32, and an associate, Walter Oriley Poindexter, 28, accused of running a violent drug ring from their Stash House Records studio.

Authorities said Smith and Poindexter were interviewed Thursday night by the FBI about the Luna killing, but had no information. Neither man has been identified by authorities as a suspect in the case. They remain in custody pending sentencing. For Smith that could mean 27 years and 60 years for Poindexter.

U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles Jr., who presided over the case, said a plea agreement in the case was reached on Wednesday. Smith and Poindexter pleaded guilty at 11:30 a.m. — about 211/2 hours before Judge Quarles was notified the body had been found.

Poindexter’s attorney, Arcangelo Tuminelli, told investigators he received a telephone call from Mr. Luna at 9:06 p.m. Wednesday to say he was working on the formal written agreements.

Mr. Luna is believed to have disappeared after leaving his office shortly before midnight, authorities said. They said he had gone to the office to prepare the formal plea agreements. His wife reported him missing when he did not come home.

The FBI yesterday posted on its Web site a telephone number for information in the investigation. The number is 443/436-7772.

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