LANCASTER – A man was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 1978 rape and murder of a mother of three who worked the night shift at a Palmdale gas station.
Neal Antoine Matthews, 60, was convicted in September of first-degree murder for the Dec. 3, 1978, killing of 20-year-old Leslie Long.
The Lancaster jury deliberated about two hours before also finding 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.
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 — who also admitted the special circumstance allegations in Long’s killing — was sentenced in October to 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 at what was then a Chevron gas station on the corner of Palmdale Boulevard and Division Street.
The robbers took money from a floor safe and kidnapped Long at gunpoint. Her 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, where investigators believe she was killed. She was sexually assaulted and shot multiple times.
DNA evidence tied both men to the killing, authorities said.
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