Ex-Marine convicted of killing masseuse in San Diego in 1975 - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Ex-Marine convicted of killing masseuse in San Diego in 1975

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A former Camp Pendleton Marine was convicted Monday of first-degree murder for raping and strangling a masseuse in a downtown San Diego massage parlor nearly 36 years ago.

Jurors deliberated only a few hours before finding Leon Johnson, 58, guilty of killing 27-year Luz Borrayo on Nov. 22, 1975.

Johnson, who is serving a life sentence for murdering a 55-year-old store clerk in Mississippi in 1982, faces seven years to life in prison --- which was the penalty in 1975 -- for Borrayo's murder, attorneys said.

Sentencing is scheduled Nov. 18 before Superior Court Judge Charles Rogers.

Deputy District Attorney Andrea Freshwater said Johnson and a fellow Marine came into the Twilight Massage Parlor on Fifth Avenue the night Borrayo was strangled.

Borrayo would turn an occasional "trick" to make some extra money, Freshwater said.

A co-worker said Borrayo went into a room to give "Leon" a massage, then came out and turned on a jukebox so the victim could go back in the room and have sex with Johnson, the prosecutor said.

Above the music, the co-worker thought she heard "thumping" from the massage room, and Johnson emerged by himself about 45 minutes later with a "disgusted" look on his face, Freshwater told the jury.

When Leon and the other Marine left, the co-worker found Borrayo's partially nude body and called police. Part of the victim's dress was wrapped tightly around her neck and she had scrapes on her neck from trying to ward off the attack, the prosecutor said.

The case went cold until 2003, when investigators took another look at it, Freshwater said.

Johnson's semen was found on a sheet that covered a massage table, and DNA from that stain was entered into a national database, eventually getting a "hit" on Johnson's DNA profile, the prosecutor said.

Johnson also raped a convenience store clerk in Alabama a year after Borrayo was killed, and the rape victim had bruises on her neck similar to Borrayo, according to Freshwater.

Defense attorney Michael Garcia argued that Johnson's DNA, along with DNA from many unidentified males, was found in the massage parlor, which he said doubled as a house of prostitution.

Garcia contended the killer could be one of many unidentified military men who left their DNA behind while having sex with the victim.


"Mr. Johnson was there at some point," but was not guilty of raping or murdering Borrayo, Garcia said.


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