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1 of 2 Men Linked by DNA to Cold Case Kidnap, Rape, Murder of Palmdale Mother of 3 Pleads Guilty

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Leslie and Jim Long with children Jimmy, Karen and Christy in a family photo from 1978. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

Thirty-five years after a Palmdale mother of three was kidnapped, raped and fatally shot, one of two men linked by DNA to the crime pleaded guilty to her murder, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.

Terry Moses, 60, pleaded guilty on Jan. 7 to the murder of gas station attendant Leslie Long in 1978, the DA’s office stated.

As part of his plea, Moses also admitted the special circumstance allegations of murder during a robbery, murder during a kidnapping and murder during a rape, a news release from the office stated.

Long was working the night shift at a Chevron gas station on Dec. 3, 1978, when she was robbed and kidnapped, the release stated.

The 20-year-old was reported missing by a customer who called the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after finding the gas station unattended.

Responding deputies found the floor safe open and empty and numerous coins scattered on the floor, authorities said. Long’s purse was still in the office and her vehicle was still parked behind the gas station, according to a news release from the sheriff’s department in 2011.

Three days later, the body of the young mother was found at the base of a small hill just off of the 14 Freeway at Soledad Canyon Road in Acton, the release stated.

Homicide investigators believed she had been shot and killed where her body was found.

Moses was expected to be sentenced to three terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole after his co-defendant Neal Antoine Matthews, 58, goes to trial, prosecutors said.

Matthews was in court in Lancaster on Wednesday, but his arraignment was continued to Feb. 17, the release stated.

Matthews was also charged with one count of murder with the special circumstance allegations of murder during a robbery, murder during a kidnapping and murder during a rape.

Prosecutors had not decided whether to seek the death penalty against Matthews, according to the release.