Midlands restaurant owner used GPS to track wife before fatal shooting, prosecutors say

Prosecutors on Wednesday described the fatal chain of events that led to the fatal encounter between restaurant mogul Greg Leon and his wife’s lover, who was found dead in a parking lot, naked except for his socks. .

Calling 12 witnesses over two days, 11th Circuit attorney Rick Hubbard and assistant attorney Suzanne Mayes advanced the argument that Leon, consumed by murderous rage, followed his wife to the quiet parking lot at the using a GPS locator hidden in his Mercedes. Brandishing a .357 Smith and Wesson revolver, he then fired four shots into the back seat, two of which hit and killed Arturo Bravo Santos, his wife’s lover, prosecutors say.

The fatal encounter between Leon and Bravo in the parking lot was sparked earlier on Valentine’s Day 2016, according to a timeline pieced together from Facebook posts, call recordings, texts, surveillance footage and testimony from experts and law enforcement investigators.

Leon’s wife, Rachel, and Bravo exchanged messages throughout the day on Feb. 14, 2016. She sent Bravo emojis, and he responded with a photo of himself in a patterned sweater. The sweater was later found in the car.

Around 5 p.m., Rachel Leon texted Bravo, “Love come now.”

“Okay,” Bravo replied. Later that evening, Rachel walked away from a family Valentine’s Day dinner at Carrabba’s Italian Grill on Columbiana Drive to meet Bravo at the 110 Riverchase Way Park and Ride lot.

The exhibits show photos stored on the phone of Rachel Leon, wife of Greg Leon, of her and her alleged lover Arturo Bravo Santos during a trip they took to Charleston.

The exhibits show photos stored on the phone of Rachel Leon, wife of Greg Leon, of her and her alleged lover Arturo Bravo Santos during a trip they took to Charleston.

During cross-examination of Lexington Police Department Detective Marc Miramontes, defense attorney Jack Swerling, who argued in his opening statement that Rachel was being manipulated for her money, asked if Bravo was increasingly angrier that Rachel didn’t return her other calls and texts throughout dinner. . Miramontes said he didn’t know.

Shortly before 7 p.m., the Leons left the restaurant separately. At 7:15 p.m., surveillance footage showed Greg Leon’s Range Rover arriving at one of his restaurants, which attorneys called San Jose #1. Leon personally managed this restaurant and had an office there. Around this time, Rachel had two brief phone calls with her husband within two minutes. Later, she made a third call to her husband, which he did not answer.

Bravo, whose name appeared in Rachel’s phone as “Avi”, called her at 7:39 p.m., and the two spoke for less than a minute. At 7:43 p.m., surveillance footage showed Rachel’s white Mercedes SUV arriving at the park and ride, where Bravo was waiting. She then climbed into the back seat of the silver Toyota Tundra she had bought him three days before.

Back at San Jose #1, surveillance footage from the restaurant lobby taken shortly after 8 p.m. showed Leon appearing disturbed. Rachel’s phone records indicate that calls from Leon’s cell phone at 8:08 a.m. and from his restaurant five minutes later went unanswered.

Around the same time, a video showed Leon staring obsessively at his phone. For several minutes he stood behind the hosts’ stand, then paced to sit on a bench in the corner without looking up from the screen. He appeared to be trying to look for something, said Miramontes, who noted that at 8:10 p.m. an app on Leon’s phone allegedly showed the Mercedes was at the park and ride.

The app was developed by Spireon, a vehicle tracking company specializing in fleet management, which also made the GPS device hidden under the hood of Rachel’s car,

“For some reason he gets up in a hurry,” Miramontes said. “He sees something and gets up. It seems like a brisk walk or a slow run, whatever you want to call it.

CCTV footage showed people watching in surprise as Leon walked out of his restaurant still staring at his phone. An exterior camera showed the Range Rover rapidly backing into an alley behind the restaurant.

The Range Rover arrived at the park and ride approximately ten minutes later, just before 8:23 p.m. Seconds after arriving, Leon, who held a concealed weapons permit, pulled a gun from his right pocket. Prosecutors argued it was a .357 revolver that Leon purchased in 2006 at a Columbia pawn shop.

Prosecutors have argued that Greg Leon committed the murder of Arturo Bravo Santos using a .357 magnum revolver he purchased at a Columbia pawn shop in 2006.

Prosecutors have argued that Greg Leon committed the murder of Arturo Bravo Santos using a .357 magnum revolver he purchased at a Columbia pawn shop in 2006.

Suddenly, he raised the gun and dashed around the passenger side of the truck, disappearing from camera view. Although there was no sound on the video, Swerling said in his opening statement that Leon heard his wife scream. At 8:23 a.m. and six seconds, the passenger side door of the silver pickup opened, Miramontes testified. Four seconds later, a muzzle flash is seen on the video. Leon is seen again eleven seconds after the shots between the Toyota truck and his wife’s Mercedes.

But it’s unclear what happened during the 15 seconds Leon was out of sight. In bracing cross-examination, Miramontes, who previously testified in chief that he did not see Bravo searching for a weapon in the parking lot video, admitted that he in fact could not see what was going on inside the truck.

“What you can’t see, you can’t see,” Swerling agreed.

Who was Arturo Bravo Santos?

Prosecutors have painted a picture of a puppy love affair between Bravo, an undocumented construction worker, and Rachel Leon, the wife of a wealthy restaurateur and mother of seven.

Bravo posted songs on her Facebook wall, she sent him emojis, and she saved photos from a trip they took to Charleston, including one of the hugs that Bravo edited to include the words ” Te Amo, A y R” – I love you, Arturo and Rachel.

A photo on his phone taken just three days before the murder showed the couple standing proudly next to the silver 2014 Toyota Tundra outside the Dick Dyer Toyota dealership in Columbia. On Valentine’s Day, Bravo filled this truck with gifts: a teddy bear in a red basket, plastic-wrapped flowers, a gold heart-shaped box of Lindt chocolates, a bottle of champagne.

But Swerling dismissed Bravo’s affections as the sweet actions of a seducer.

“He also saw other women in the same kind of situation,” Swerling said in his opening statements.

“He took advantage of Rachel Leon. He knew she was married and he knew she was married to Greg Leon,” Swerling said. “He milked her.”

Investigators initially believed the man they found face down in the Lexington County parking lot was actually named Arnulfo Gil Liles.

That’s the name on a Mexican consular ID card and a Wells Fargo debit card found in Bravo’s truck. It was also the name that matched his fingerprints, according to investigators.

His true identity was not discovered until several days later, when family members brought North Carolina documents to Lexington Police Department investigators confirming his real name.

False names on documents are common for people like Bravo who lived and worked illegally, Miramontes said. But he could not explain why Bravo, whose only criminal record was driving without a license or insurance, would have been fingerprinted under an alias.

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