LANCASTER – A man pleaded not guilty Thursday in connection with the abduction and killing of a woman who was working the night shift at a Palmdale gas station more than three decades ago.
Neal Antoine Matthews, 59, is charged in the Dec. 3, 1978, attack on Leslie Long, who was working a Sunday night shift at what was then a Chevron gas station on the corner of Palmdale Boulevard and Division Street.
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, about eight miles from the gas station. The 20-year-old mother of three had been sexually assaulted and shot, authorities said.
The murder charge includes the special circumstance allegations of murder during a robbery, murder during a kidnapping and murder during a rape.
Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Matthews.
Co-defendant Terry Moses, 60, pleaded guilty in January to Long’s murder, along with the Aug. 22, 1976, murders of Carlton Goodwin and Michael Fuqua and an attempted murder in December 1996.
Moses — who was serving a 25-year-to-life state prison sentence on an unrelated case when he and Matthews were charged last year — is facing three life prison terms without the possibility of parole.
DNA evidence ties both men to Long’s killing, according to Deputy District Attorney Tannaz Mokayef.
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