- The Washington Times - Friday, March 12, 2004

BALTIMORE — Investigators are exploring the possibilities of premeditated murder, a random killing or even a suicide in the death of a federal prosecutor, authorities said yesterday.

The FBI offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to a resolution of the case of Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Luna. Investigators were especially interested in learning more about two gaps in a timeline of Mr. Luna’s final hours on his path from Baltimore to the Pennsylvania creek where he died.

“The fact is the task force is looking at every possible scenario, including homicide, as well as the possibility that Mr. Luna was the victim of a random act of violence — and suicide,” said Capt. Steven McDaniel, a troop commander with the Pennsylvania State Police in Lancaster, Pa.

At this point, more than three months after Mr. Luna’s death, investigators were not favoring one theory over another, said Kevin Perkins, special agent in charge of the FBI in Maryland and Delaware.

“There’s a lot of investigation that’s being conducted … that covers all three” theories, Mr. Perkins said.

Mr. Luna, 38, was found dead facedown Dec. 4 in the creek near Denver, Pa. The married father of two young boys was stabbed 36 times and had drowned. His silver 1999 Honda Accord was idling nearby.

Authorities also released a 10-item timeline showing his circuitous route. It begins at 11:38 p.m. on Dec. 3, when Mr. Luna left the U.S. Courthouse in Baltimore, where he worked. Included were a couple of stops along the way where Mr. Luna’s debit card was used.

Investigators were interested in any information relating to two time periods for which they lack information. The first was between 12:57 a.m. Dec. 4, when Mr. Luna’s debit card was used at an automated teller machine in Newark, Del., and 2:37 a.m., which is about the time he got on the New Jersey Turnpike at Exit 6A, Capt. McDaniel said.

“There are multiple routes, both in southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey, which Mr. Luna’s car may have traveled to arrive at Exit 6A,” Mr. Perkins said.

The second time period is from 4:04 a.m., when Mr. Luna left the Pennsylvania Turnpike at Exit 286, until 5:30 a.m., when his body was found.

Capt. McDaniel said asked anyone with information to come forward with details, even if they seemed insignificant.

“Did they see someone changing a tire? Did they see someone stopping, looking under their hood? You know, anything that would be maybe normal, but now put that together with this information that we can confirm, that may be a piece of information that we need,” Capt. McDaniel said.

Investigators also confirmed that a toll ticket with Mr. Luna’s blood on it was part of the evidence. The ticket was obtained when Mr. Luna’s car entered the Pennsylvania Turnpike at 2:47 a.m. It was returned to a toll booth attendant at 4:04 a.m., when his car left the turnpike.

Mr. Perkins wouldn’t comment on whether there was evidence of anyone leaving the area where Mr. Luna’s body was found.

“That is among the most seriously sensitive pieces of information in this investigation, and we can’t discuss that,” Mr. Perkins said.

Investigators also declined to elaborate on what kinds of contacts Mr. Luna may have had with other people in his last hours.

Since Mr. Luna’s death, investigators have conducted more than 700 interviews, Capt. McDaniel said, and some interviews were being conducted yesterday.

Investigators also have examined more than 100 cases Mr. Luna worked on.

Family members and friends have said they believe Mr. Luna’s death was connected to his job. He had prosecuted drug dealers, bank robbers and child molesters.

Authorities have studied Mr. Luna’s financial records and reviewed his E-Z Pass toll account to trace his travels.

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