Thirty-five years after a Palmdale mother of three was kidnapped, raped and fatally shot, two men linked to the crime by DNA were charged Tuesday with capital murder in her death.
Terry Moses and Neal Antoine Matthews were also charged with the special circumstance allegations of murder during a robbery, murder during a kidnapping and murder during a rape, making them eligible for the death penalty if convicted, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office stated in a news release.
Leslie Long was working the night shift at a Palmdale Chevron gas station on Dec. 3, 1978, when she was robbed and kidnapped, the release stated.
Long 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 still parked behind the gas station, according to a release from the sheriff’s department in 2011.
Three days later, the body of the 20-year-old 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 the young woman had been shot and killed where her body was found.
An autopsy later revealed Long had also been sexually assaulted, according to the release.
DNA evidence later tied both Moses and Matthews to her death, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors will decide at a later date whether to seek the death penalty.