According to court records, the filing was submitted on Tuesday (July 11, 2023) in Lexington County, S.C. on behalf of B. Reynolds Elliott.
Elliott is the personal representative for the estate of Arturo Bravo, the 28-year-old who was gunned down by Leon on the evening of February 14, 2016. At the time of his Valentine’s Day murder, Bravo was having an affair with Leon’s wife, Rachel Leon.
According to the lawsuit (.pdf), Bravo’s heirs and statutory beneficiaries sustained “actual and punitive damages” due to the “negligence, carelessness, gross negligence and recklessness” displayed by Leon in the murder of Bravo. The lawsuit seeks “fair and just” compensation – both for Bravo’s wrongful death as well as “his conscious pain and suffering, the costs of this action, and for such other relief as may be appropriate under the circumstances.”
What led us to this point?
Just hours after dinner with family and friends on the evening of Sunday, February 14, 2016 – Valentine’s Day – Leon shot and killed Bravo as he rendezvoused with Leon’s wife in the cabin of a silver Toyota Tundra pickup truck she allegedly purchased for him three days earlier (using Greg Leon’s money).
Leon had placed a tracking device on his wife’s Mercedes SUV and followed her after dinner to her rendezvous point with Bravo: The parking lot of a John Deere dealership at the intersection of Interstate 20 and U.S. Highway 378.
“What the fuck have you done?” Leon told his wife after murdering Bravo, according to his testimony during the trial.
“I shot my wife’s lover,” Leon told an emergency dispatcher some time after firing at least four rounds into the cabin of the Tundra.
Leon left Bravo to bleed out on the pavement – and left his wife alone in the back of the truck as he sped from the scene in his Land Rover. Afterward, he disposed of the revolver he used in a nearby woods and reportedly contemplated fleeing the country, according to one of his former attorneys. Hours later, though, he agreed to surrender to deputies of the Lexington County sheriff’s department.
Leon was charged with murder, attempted murder, discharging a weapon into a vehicle and possession of a firearm during a violent crime. He pleaded not guilty to those charges – claiming he acted in self-defense.
Eleventh circuit solicitor Rick Hubbard obliterated that claim during a week of testimony by state’s witnesses detailing the night of the shooting. Not only did the state’s case demonstrate premeditation on Leon’s part, it highlight his attempt to elicit false testimony following the murder.
RELATED | GREG LEON DEAD
“Greg Leon already knew his wife was having an affair,” Hubbard told jurors. “He knew she had a lover, it didn’t matter if it were Arturo Bravo or the deacon of her Baptist church. He took steps, leading up to Valentine’s Day, knowing that he wasn’t just going to catch his wife, he was going to catch them, and his plan was to kill two people, his wife and her lover, and he succeeded with killing one person.”
On July 6, 2023, Leon’s Lexington County jury deliberated for less than three hours – finding him guilty of murdering Bravo with malice aforethought. The owner of the popular San Jose restaurant chain was sentenced by circuit court judge Walton J. McLeod IV to thirty-five years in prison with no chance of early release.
Leon’s murder case drew national attention – including an expansive treatment in The Los Angeles Times three years ago which focused on Leon being part of a “dynasty of transplants” from this region of Mexico, which is home to the famed agave azul plant that forms the base ingredient in tequila.
Leon served only a week of that sentence before hanging himself in his jail cell. Earlier this morning, our news outlet reported Leon passed away shortly before midnight on Friday evening (July 14, 2023) after hanging himself in his cell at Kirkland Correctional Institution – a S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDC) intake center located just north of Columbia, S.C.
Upon discovering Leon hanging in his cell, cardiopulmonary resuscitation was immediately attempted by prison officials on the 56-year-old – who was transferred to a nearby hospital.
“Leon had a cellmate but was alone in the cell at the time,” the statement continued. “His death is being investigated as a suspected suicide.”
Did the filing of this civil case weigh on Leon’s mind in the hours before his death? Or was the prospect of decades behind bars simply too much for him to bear? We will never know …
According to the civil complaint against Leon, the injuries to Bravo were “were directly and proximately caused by (Leon) discharging a firearm into Plaintiff’s decedent’s vehicle.”
Accordingly, Bravo’s estate is seeking judgement against Leon – and compensation from him – pursuant to the provisions of the Palmetto State’s wrongful death act (S.C. Code of Laws § 15-51-10 et seq.). Attorneys argued the “causes of action for injuries and damages survive (Bravo’s) death and pass to his estate,” which has been “deprived of pecuniary support, aid, comfort, society, and advice” and has suffered “indescribable grief, shock, sorrow, and wounded feelings.”
Will Leon’s potential liability in connection with this lawsuit survive his death, though?
It is unclear how this lawsuit will proceed following the death of Greg Leon, but count on FITSNews to keep our audience up to speed on both the investigation into Leon’s death and the civil lawsuit filed against him just days before he died by suicide.
Finally, as is our custom in reporting on stories involving suicides, if anyone reading this post is dealing with issues that have them questioning whether to take their own life (or thinking of harming themselves), please – call a friend. You can also reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-TALK. Or just text or call 988 (more info here). As I often say, “you are not alone – you are never alone.”
FITSNews researcher Callie Lyons contributed to this report.
(Via: S.C. Eleventh Judicial Circuit)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Jenn Wood is FITSNews’ incomparable research director. She’s also the producer of the FITSFiles and Cheer Incorporated podcasts and leading expert on all things Murdaugh/ South Carolina justice. A former private investigator with a criminal justice degree, evildoers beware, Jenn Wood is far from your average journalist! A deep dive researcher with a passion for truth and a heart for victims, this mom of two is pretty much a superhero in FITSNews country. Did we mention she’s married to a rocket scientist? (Lucky guy!) Got a story idea or a tip for Jenn? Email her at [email protected].
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