LANCASTER – A man was convicted Thursday of the 1978 killing of a mother of three who worked the night shift at a Palmdale gas station.
The Lancaster jury deliberated about two hours before finding Neal Antoine Matthews, 60, guilty of first-degree murder for the December 1978 killing of 20-year-old Leslie Long, according to Deputy District Attorney Tannaz Mokayef.
Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegations of murder during a robbery, murder during a kidnapping and murder during a rape.
The panel was the second to hear the case against Matthews. The first jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of guilt, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Matthews is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole. Sentencing is set for Nov. 6.
Co-defendant Terry Moses — who was charged along with Matthews — pleaded guilty last year to Long’s killing, along with the Aug. 22, 1976, murders of Carlton Goodwin and Michael Fuqua and an attempted murder in December 1996. Moses is set to be sentenced Oct. 18 and is facing three life prison terms without the possibility of parole.
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 on Dec. 3, 1978, at what was then a Chevron gas station on the corner of Palmdale Boulevard and Division Street.
Authorities said robbers took money from a floor safe and kidnapped Leslie Long 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.
DNA evidence tied both men to the killing, authorities said.