Los Angeles

Jury Deadlocks in 1978 Palmdale Kidnap, Killing of Mother Working at Gas Station

On the evening of Dec. 3, 1978 Leslie Long, 20, married and mother of three, was robbed by two men at gunpoint while working at a gas station in Palmdale.

Jurors failed to reach a consensus Monday in the trial of a man accused of the 1978 kidnapping, rape and murder of a mother of three who worked the night shift at a Palmdale gas station.

A mistrial was declared after the panel deadlocked 11-1 in favor of a guilty verdict, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Neal Antoine Matthews, 60, was also facing special circumstance allegations of murder during a robbery, murder during a kidnapping and murder during a rape.

A hearing was set for Aug. 1, when prosecutors are expected to announce whether they will retry Matthews.

Co-defendant Terry Moses, 61, pleaded guilty more than a year ago to the Dec. 3, 1978, murder of 20-year-old Leslie Long and admitted to the same special circumstance allegations Matthews faced.

Moses also pleaded to the Aug. 22, 1976, murders of Carlton Goodwin and Michael Fuqua, along with an attempted murder in December 1996, and is facing three life prison terms without the possibility of parole.

He was set to be sentenced Monday, but the hearing was postponed to Aug. 1.

Moses was serving a 25-year-to-life state prison sentence on an unrelated case when the two men were charged in May 2015 in the attack on Long, who was working the night shift at what was then a Chevron gas station on the corner of Palmdale Boulevard and Division Street.

Authorities said that robbers took money from a floor safe and kidnapped her at gunpoint.

Long's body was found three days later at the base of a small hill just off the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway at Soledad Canyon Road in Acton, eight miles from the gas station. She had been sexually assaulted and shot multiple times, authorities said.

Prosecutors said DNA evidence tied both men to the killing and both were active gang members at the time.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
Contact Us