Crime

Decades ago, he was gunned down at his Miami restaurant. DNA caught the killer, cops say.

Nearly three decades after a Miami restaurant owner was shot to death in a botched robbery outside his business, police have arrested one of the suspected killers.

Miami-Dade police’s homicide bureau late Wednesday arrested Alexe Nodal in the murder of Lucio Leon, who was killed on his 47th birthday outside the Tuyo y Mio restaurant on March 2, 1990. A DNA hit led to the arrest of Nodal, 50.

At the time, the murder devastated family and friends who said Leon, after coming from Cuba a decade earlier, worked tirelessly to provide for his family.

“He worked seven days a week. Sometimes, he wouldn’t get home until 9 at night,” his wife, Marta Leon, told the Miami Herald in 1990. “Not until he bought the cafeteria did he finally take a Sunday off. So much sacrifice, so much for nothing. He didn’t deserve to die like that.”

The restaurant, at 7121 NW 35th Ave., had been the target of a robbery six months before his killing. Leon also ran a check-cashing business, which may have attracted robbers.

Miami-Dade police at the time said Leon was returning from the bank with money in a paper sack. As he got out of his 1980 Ford Thunderbird, three robbers pounced. He managed to squeeze off several rounds from his own gun, hitting one of the robbers — believed to be Nodal.

Bullets from a robber felled Leon, and one of the gunmen shot Leon again as he lay on the ground, according to a Herald article.

Detectives found the Cutlass believed to have been driven by the robbers abandoned two hours later at Northwest 104th Street and 37th Avenue.

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