Ten years later ...
Ali Lanyon of WHTM-TV, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, produced this report on the tenth anniversary of the death of Jonathan Luna
EPHRATA, Pa. (WHTM) - Nearly 10 years ago, Baltimore U.S. Attorney Tom DiBiagio stood at a microphone in front of throngs of television cameras and vowed to seek justice for Jonathan Luna.
"We will find out who did this and we are dedicated to bringing the person responsible for this tragedy to justice," DiBiagio told reporters.
But all these years later, not much has changed. The final hours of Luna's life and the circumstances of his death are still shrouded in mystery. Posted November 25, 2013. Read post >>
Luna news and clues
On the morning of his death, U.S. Justice Department officials violated Luna's crime scene. Read the amazing story of what happened in court -- and in his office -- on the morning Jonathan died. Dec 5, 2013. Read >>
A video biography of Jonathan Luna
Responding to a Right to Know Law Request filed by yardbird.com in April, 2009, Assistant Lancaster County District Attorney Susan E. Moyer wrote that our request for information was denied, in part, due to an "open ongoing federal criminal investigation in which the leads are continuously being developed and additionally that the Luna case is part of an open federal grand jury investigation." Posted May 28, 2009. Read post >>
Almost forty thousand untraceable dollars, confiscated from the accomplice of a flamboyant Baltimore bank robber, would inexplicably vanish from the Baltimore federal courthouse sometime in September 2002. Posted December 4, 2007. Read post >>
The father of slain federal prosecutor Jonathan Luna has written Lancaster County, PA, coroner Dr. Gary Kirchner requesting information on the assistant U.S. attorney's murder. Posted July 25, 2007 Read more >>
Yardbird.com became one of the first recipients of alleged DC Madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey's set of phone records. The data cd contains a complete set of Palfrey's phone records, dating from 1994 to 2006. Posted July 12, 2007. Read more >>
Deborah Jeane Palfrey sold fantasy, all right. In the end she was busted, and now she is hounded, for selling a better grade of fantasy, a more believable fantasy, a much warmer fantasy, than the government and the press can sell. Posted May 4, 2007. Read more >>
At the time of AUSA Luna's murder, known members of organized crime families in Pennsylvania and Maryland were attempting to get a piece of legalized slot machine gambing. As well, the Baltimore IRS investigation of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, aka the DC Madam, began one month after the former MD state police head Ed Norris copped a lenient plea deal for sex and tax crimes. We asked the obvious question: were obscure Baltimore police department charity acounts being used to fund 'escort services?' Will the scandal go international? You read it here first. Posted 3-26-07. Read more >>
Baltimore Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Luna, found murdered off the Pennsylvania Turnpike, suffered horrific wounds including slashed hands and stabs to his back, a witness recounts. "This was the worse murder I've ever seen." Posted 11-19-06 Read more >>
Lancaster, PA coroner discusses Jonathan Luna's wounds (external link) 12-3-06 Read >>
A Lancaster PA Sunday News editorial says the, 'depth of the FBI's commitment to finding out what really happened to Jonathan Luna would seem to be in question. Consider that the reward the agency is offering for information in the Luna case is $100,000, while in the Seattle shooting death of another assistant U.S. attorney, Thomas Wales, the reward is $1 million.... 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?' Posted 12-10-06 Read more >>
Marvin Cheatam: 'It is quite clear that there are enough questions about Mr. Luna's death... Why would he leave at the time that he did? Why would he leave some personal items that normally you would take with you? And why would he go into other states and have done what was done to him?' Posted 12-5-06 Read more >>
Faced with questions and growing public scrutiny, a Pennsylvania General Assembly Judiciary Sub-Committee dropped the testimony of an embattled state government security contractor from its agenda list of speakers on September 12, 2006. Posted 9-14-06 Read more >>
Embattled Pennsylvania turnpike security contractor Russell Wantz asks a federal judge for an injunction to ban the writing, sale and distribution of The Midnight Ride of Jonathan Luna. Posted 7-27-06 Read more >>
A Pennsylvania lawmaker finds himself attacked by the Philadelphia Inquirer, in part, for purchasing and reading The Midnight Ride of Jonathan Luna. Posted 5-14-06 Read more >>
On the eve of slain federal prosecutor Jonathan Luna's memorial service and funeral, a team of FBI agents interrupted a small, private gathering of friends-in-mourning at Luna's home to "gather evidence" and closely examine the premises. 1-16-06 Read more >>
A vigil marking the second anniversary of the death of Baltimore federal prosecutor Jonathan Luna proceeded despite overnight snow and freezing rain at the scene of Luna's death, an obscure creekside outside of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. On hand were a diverse group: several of Luna's friends, concerned citizens and activists, a central Pennsylvania city councilwoman, and a retired policeman. 12-6-05 Read more >>
It took only six days for the Justice Department's Inspector General to summarily decline calls for an independent investigation of the Luna and Gricar cases. Instead, Inspector General Glenn Fine suggests the FBI should investigate its own cover-up of Luna's murder. Posted 12-12-05 Read more >>
A prominent Pennsylvania lawmaker has asked the U.S. Justice Department's Inspector General Glenn A. Fine to conduct an independent investigation into the cases prosecuted by late Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Luna and missing Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar. Posted 12-6-05 Read more >>
Bellefonte, PA, police say they believe the hard drive from missing DA Ray Gricar's laptop computer has been found. Posted 10-26-05 Read more >>
DA Ray Gricar's laptop computer, its hard drive missing, has been found in the Susquehanna River, after earlier searches turned up nothing. A year earlier, a knife turned up in the creekbed where Jonathan Luna died, at a spot previously searched by 150 state police cadets. Some ask, Is someone planting evidence to bolster suicide theories and close down the investigations? Posted 8-4-05 Read more >>
Missing Centre County, PA, District
Attorney Ray Gricar's laptop computer has been found in the Susquehanna
River, under a bridge where divers had previously extensively searched.
The laptop is missing its hard drive, says Bellefonte Police Chief
A large-city American newspaper has published an article raising substantive questions about the FBI's handling of the investigation into the death of Baltimore assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Luna. Posted 7-30-05. Read more >>
Mark Felt was correctly identified as Watergate 'Deep Throat' in December 2004 by writer Bill Keisling, in his book, The Midnight Ride of Jonathan Luna, published by Yardbird Books. Posted 5-31-05. Read more >>
A controversial and ill-timed travel advertisement paid for by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and meant to increase car tourism in Pennsylvania, has instead touched off a dispute involving public commentary and press freedom. Posted 5-19-05. Read more >>
Police call in psychic to help find missing DA Ray Gricar. Meanwhile, a close friend of Jonathan Luna's offers keen insights into Luna's personality. 'Why,' he asks, 'would Joey leave his glasses back in his office? He needed them to drive.' Posted 5-10-05. Read more >>
A group of Pennsylvania district attorneys and others plan to meet to discuss concerns raised by the disappearances of Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Luna, one of the DA's organizing the meeting has told writer Bill Keisling. Posted 5-18-05 at 5pm. Read more >>
Police say they're not looking into the record heroin bust missing DA Ray Gricar announced shortly before his disappearance. Something's missing in Happy Valley, and it's not just Ray Gricar. Posted 4-27-05 6pm.
Only days before his disappearance, Centre County, PA, District Attorney Ray Gricar helped announce the prosecution of what the State Attorney General's Office called the "largest heroin operation that we have ever seen in Centre County." The Monday morning following his disappearance, Gricar missed a scheduled hearing for a drug case. Now, police say, Gricar's laptop is missing....
Updated 4/30/05 11:37am Read more >>
At the time of Jon Luna's death, investigators falsely suggested Luna may have had contact with a prostitute. Now a state legislator has asked the PA State Police to investigate long-standing allegations that a key turnpike security provider has alleged links to prostitution and organized crime. Posted 3/14/05. Read more >>
A corrupt, ingrained system of insider justice exists in central Pennsylvania, says a top county detective who until recently had worked in the York County, PA, District Attorney's office. Posted 2/27/05 . Read more >>
A 21-year veteran trooper of the Pennsylvania State Police was found shot to death in the parking lot of the Ephrata, PA, state police barracks on February 23, 2005. The Ephrata state police barracks first responded to Luna's murder. Posted 2/24/05. Read more >>
In the months, days, and even hours before he died, slain Baltimore federal prosecutor Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Luna actively engaged in concealing FBI and U.S. Justice Department culpability in what has come to be known in Baltimore as the Dawson arson fiasco. Posted 12/27/04. Read more >>
In the last months, days and hours before he died, slain federal prosecutor Jonathan Luna found himself concealing dark secrets to protect himself, the U.S. Justice Department, and the FBI.
"One came in wearing a black trench coat," a book seller recounted. "He was an FBI agent. He came in saying, 'I'm told I'm in the book and I want a copy (of The Midnight Ride of Jonathan Luna.)'" Posted 1/18/05. Read full article >>
Who killed Jonathan Luna?
On December 3, 2003, Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan Luna vanished from his desk in the federal courthouse in Baltimore, Maryland. The next morning, shortly before dawn, Luna’s body was found face down in a cold stream outside of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He'd been stabbed dozens of times....
Jonathan was known to his friends in the projects of Bronx simply as 'Joey.' View a scrapbook of images of Joey Luna's remarkable life of accomplishment.
Luna video clips
Witnesses say the body of slain federal prosecutor Jonathan Luna exhibited signs of Luna having attempted to fend off a vicious attack, and having been beaten, before his brutal murder in December, 2003. Posted 3-22-06 Read more >>
His body was found crouched beneath his still-idling car, face down in an ice-cold stream, stabbed thirty-six times. He was still dressed in a business suit and a black overcoat. Perhaps most tellingly, a "large pool of blood" was found on the floor of the rear passenger compartment of the car, where he obviously lay bleeding. Posted 4/4/05.
We've posted a surprising profile of Luna's killer. With the disappearance of Centre County DA Ray Gricar, we have updated the profile as of April 21, 2005.
We're building a comprehensive page documenting The Midnight Ride of Jonathan Luna. Click here to visit.
Read excerpts from Bill Keisling's new courthouse murder mystery, The Midnight Ride of Jonathan Luna.
In the days immediately following Jonathan Luna's death, a former classmate started a web log of news and remembrances. The blog contains remarkable insights into Luna's personality. The blog has since been taken down. We reproduce it here.
An essay by black writer J. Simple. "One of the things young African Americans are repeatedly told while growing up (at least my generation) in America is that you have to be better than those of the dominant cultural group. The defining logic here is that since you did things 'by the book,' you could not, by any fault of your own, be accused of doing the wrong thing; you did it by the book; you did it 'your way,' not theirs." To read the essay click here.
A literary perspective on heroin addiction:
In this famous essay, William S. Burroughs tells us about heroin addiction, its threat to world health, and media hysteria that threatens personal freedoms. "If we wish to annihilate the junk pyramid," he writes, "we must start with the bottom of the pyramid: the Addict in the Street, and stop tilting quixotically for the 'higher ups' so called, all of whom are immediately replaceable. The addict in the street who must have junk to live is the one irreplaceable factor in the junk equation." To read this essay by one of America's most gifted -- and most tortured -- writers, click here.
A cross marking the spot of Jonathan Luna's
death has been placed in the yard of Sensenig
and Weaver Well Drilling Co., in Denver, Pennsylvania.
Click here to purchase the paperback edition of The Midnight Ride of Jonathan Luna from the Yardbird store.
E-book edition now available for iPad and Kindle!
Also worth mentioning
In the old days, if a policeman or a federal prosecutor turned up dead nearby, mobsters would be quaking in their wingtips, as they knew, their fault or not, retribution from The Man would come swift and severe. That's why a don would keep such things from happening in his territory. That's why a don doesn't hang out a sign that says, "Dead prosecutor drop off." It draws too much attention, and heat.
In the Luna case, all this becomes an interesting subject. Posted October 5, 2007. Read more >>
One week after Jonathan Luna's brutal murder in December 2003, Maryland State Police Superintendent Ed Norris was indicted for, among other things, using his police Executive Protective Unit (EPU) to ferry women of mysterious origins around to various locations, including a Baltimore hotel room, while Norris served as Baltimore's police commissioner. "The boys in blue were really going to town, literally and figuratively," writes Bill Keisling in The Midnight Ride of Jonathan Luna. "It's enough to make you wonder about the future of our country." Posted May 15, 2007.
(Click here to download the full indictment in PDF format [800k].)
This amazing report, completed shortly before Jonathan Luna's death, says higher-ups at the Pennsylvania State Police "Diminish the importance of sexual harrassment and sexual misconduct." The report quotes the president of the PA State Troopers' Association as saying, "the introduction of women in policing has caused problems of sexual harrassment and sexual misconduct in policing agencies. Women working with men, riding in patrol cars together at night, essentially 'spending the night together,' has put an 'extra burden on policing.'"
The report notes that many state policemen told the PA Inspector General that long-running "incidents of... sexual misconduct are isolated actions by individuals and not evidence of a larger, ongoing problem within the State Police. This is the theory of the 'rotten apple' in an otherwise clean barrel. When the Mayor of New York City appointed a commission in 1972 to investigate police corruption (i.e. Serpico), it addressed a similar attitude. In the Knapp Commission Report, the investigators viewed the 'rotten apple' theory as an obstacle to basic reform. The Commission found that a high command unwilling to acknowledge the severity of a problem would be unable to accept the drastic changes necessary to deal with the problem." A must read. Posted 9-14-06
(Click here to download the full report in PDF format [1,100k].)
The U.S. Justice Department's Office of Inspector General says FBI agents routinely break the bureau's own rules governing the handling confidential informants. Inspector General Glenn A. Fine reviewed 120 federal cases, and found that FBI agents violated department informant rules in 104 of the cases, or 87% of the time. The findings are contained in a 302-page report released in September 2005 by the Inspector General. Posted 10-17-05 To read more click here >>
(Click here to download the full report in PDF format [2,700k].)
It took two years for members of the U.S.
Senate to learn that the FBI in 2000 conducted its own internal
study on agent misconduct. The FBI then stonewalled for months
to keep its report from the Senate, finally releasing it to
the oversight committee several months before Jonathan Luna's
death. Known as the Behavioral and Ethical Trends Analysis, or
BETA, the report details a study conducted by the FBI’s
Behavioral Sciences and Law Enforcement Ethics unit. The Ethics
Unit has since been starved of funds by the FBI. The BETA report
is described by U.S. Senator Charles Grassley as a "laundry
list of horrors." Posted 5/1/05
To download Part 1 of the BETA report (2,400 k) click here >>
To download the Summary of Observations from the BETA report (300 k) click here >>
"OPR was created in 1976 and located in the FBI’s Inspection Division. Unlike today’s OPR, this entity was responsible only for investigating allegations of criminal action or other serious misconduct by FBI employees," the report explains. The report concludes the OPR, "has lost touch with its original mission and no longer effectively serves the Director and the FBI as a whole." Posted 5/2/05. To download the complete Bell Report (532 k) click here >>
Jonathan Luna's murder fell in a period
that produced amazing revelations about deep, systemic and enduring
scandalous behavior within the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department.
Posted 2/17/05 To
read more click here >>
For the second time in two and a half years, a FBI agent has been charged with helping FBI mob informants to commit murder. Posted 4-2-06 Read more >>