1,000 gather in Columbia to mourn U.S. prosecutor found slain in Pa.

Authorities still searching for clues in Luna's death

December 16, 2003|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,SUN STAFF

Family, friends and colleagues of Jonathan P. Luna, the federal prosecutor found slain this month in Pennsylvania, gathered yesterday for a funeral in Columbia that attracted about 1,000 people.

Mourners trudged through slush-covered sidewalks and past reporters and television news camera operators for the 11 a.m. service at the Long Reach Church of God. The service lasted about an hour and a half. Luna was buried in Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium.

"There was this sense of compassion in the room -- I think that might describe it best," said the church's pastor-elect, the Rev. Robert S. Davis Jr., who observed the service.

Yesterday, authorities continued to investigate Luna's killing. He was found stabbed and drowned in a shallow creek in rural Lancaster County, Pa., early Dec. 4.

Law enforcement officials have told The Sun they suspect his death was the result of a personal relationship that turned violent. They have been closely reviewing details of Luna's personal life for possible clues to his death.

Luna, 38, worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in Baltimore and lived in Elkridge with his wife, two young children and mother-in-law. His parents, Paul and Rosezella Luna, live nearby in Columbia.

The service included tributes from eight people who knew Luna, among them friends from law school, family members and colleagues. They spoke fondly of Luna in front of rows of red poinsettias to a standing-room-only crowd, people who attended the service said.

Others in attendance yesterday included U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio, Baltimore City State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy and Howard Police Chief G. Wayne Livesay. Church officials said extra chairs were needed to accommodate the crowd.

A program printed for the service included an obituary for Luna that chronicled his rise from the South Bronx through college and law school.

Upon graduating from the University of North Carolina's law school in 1992, Luna won a competitive federal judicial clerkship, working for U.S. District Judge William L. Osteen in Greensboro, N.C.

Osteen was among the eight speakers who paid tribute to Luna yesterday.

Luna married his wife, Angela, in August 1993 during her last year of medical school. He worked as an attorney in Washington for several years, first at a private law firm, and later for the Federal Trade Commission.

Luna's next job took him back to New York, where he worked for the Brooklyn district attorney's office for a few years. In July 1999, he joined the U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore as an assistant U.S. attorney, the obituary said.

Luna "loved politics, travel, sports, reading, and he especially enjoyed reading about history and baseball," the obituary said. "Yes, he was a Yankees fan! A true New Yorker, he had a soft spot for the Knicks and the Jets."

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