Crime & Courts

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Greg Leon Days Before His Suicide

Civil claim made by estate of his murder victim, Arturo Bravo …

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Three days before South Carolina restaurant magnate Greg Leon died by suicide in a South Carolina prison, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed against him by the estate of his murder victim.

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.”

The lawsuit was filed by Columbia-based attorneys John F. McKenzie and Robert A. McKenzie.



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.




“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)



Jenn Wood (Provided)

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



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Observer (the real one) July 15, 2023 at 8:05 pm

The vultures are circling. Are Arturo’s family behind this suit here legally, or are they undocumented invaders like their deceased loved one? If the latter, I hope La Migra is paying attention and makes arrangements for them to return to their country of origin, ASAP.

SubZeroIQ July 16, 2023 at 7:50 am

Are you saying that if the Government delays processing your papers, then anyone can rape you, kidnap you, even kill you and you get to say nothing about? And you even get deported if you complain about it?
I am no fan of Jack or Robert McKenzie and shall, God willing and FITS-permitting, post a lengthier comment about them.
But I ask you to think of how immigrants, documented or not, or even Latin-or-non-European-surnamed U.S. citizens, are in 2020s America treated like the Jews of 1930s Germany; and we know how that ended.
Please be careful about such hate destroys the soul of a whole nation, whose later claims of “WE didn’t know, only our leaders did this” ring hollow.

Morty W July 18, 2023 at 8:26 am

“But I ask you to think of how immigrants, documented or not, or even Latin-or-non-European-surnamed U.S. citizens, are in 2020s America treated like the Jews of 1930s Germany; and we know how that ended.” You blew any credibility you may have had with that lame, bogus, shopworn comparison of we Americans who support LEGAL immigration to the builders of brick ovens in the Socialist Germany of Hitler. Case closed.

SubZeroIQ July 19, 2023 at 9:19 pm

But you NOT “support LEGAL immigration”; and the “brick ovens” were built in the early 1940s as “the final solution,” as a result of the thinking of the 1930s and earlier.
It is a short or long step to the brick ovens from Texas’ new law or regulations that agricultural workers, on temporary visas, IN THIS HEAT DOME, are not allowed water breaks. Their human lives are, in the eyes of Red States’ politicians (and Blue States’ hypocrisy, too) less important than the crops which might rot in the fields if the modern-day slaves do not pick them up.
And suffocation DOES OCCUR in the metal ovens of the trucks of immigrant smugglers BECAUSE the system is designed to make the immigrants suffer in silence.
“Support[ing] LEGAL immigration” means giving lawful immigrants equal rights, including the right to sit on juries and to vote at least in local and state elections, which, BTW, the U.S. Constitution NEVER PROHIBITED but has always given the franchise to “inhabitants,” not necessarily “citizens.”
But you don’t need to agree with me this far. Just look at the first comment here. A man gets killed, and the first reaction is to want to deport his family for suing.
And not even suing. How about just complaining to law enforcement of injuries? I joke that I am “the most lawful immigrant in America” because I got my rightful Green Card by suing the old INS in my individual capacity in a series of federal lawsuits and by being a nationwide class representative in a separate class action lawsuit. Both lawsuits ended up with the old INS conceding it had misinterpreted/misapplied IRCA and had mishandled MY papers.
I did NOT get a penny, not even my costs, or any compensation for the 12 years I was wrongfully denied employment authorization while INS intentionally delayed my papers.
I only got my green card.
AND YET, my old landlady was charging me more rent than the U.S.-born citizens for an identical apartment, and she had a known crack-cocaine PWIDer stand in my parking lot, touch himself at me, shoot birds at me, and loudly threaten to rape me.
WHEN I COMPLAINED ABOUT THAT, my old landlady went to Senator Lindsey Graham and to Congressman Joe Wilson asking them to get me deported.
They also tried to cut off the social security retirement checks of my naturalized-citizen mother who had worked hard and paid all her dues to Social Security.
And when I filed a lawsuit complaining of that, they had me falsely arrested. Who did the arresting? Sara Heather Savitz Weiss, who stood to be photographed with Judge Manning’s arm around Hatchet-for-Hire Heather’s mother, yet turned on Judge Manning before he had a chance to frame and hang his Order of the Palmetto on the wall.
Who is allowing, perhaps directing all this? Alan Wilson who got campaign contributions from Heather’s father, Stephen Savitz, and who gave $60 million that should have gone to tax payers to private lawyers instead.
And when the City of Columbia pled conflict of interest and sought the Attorney General to prosecute my victimizers instead, one of Alan Wilson’s high deputies wrote essentially that they would prosecute someone who injures a dog but will not prosecute someone who injures ME.
“Support[ing] LEGAL immigration” or supporting surreal hypocrisy?

Anonymous July 16, 2023 at 2:16 pm

Well said, Observer.


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