Bobby Joe Long execution: Florida serial killer who murdered 10 women, raped 50 others faces electric chair
Some say that it is for the likes of Bobby Joe Long that the death penalty still exists.
Long is to be executed at 6 pm on Thursday, May 23 for the crimes he committed more than 30 years ago.
A serial killer, he is responsible for the rape and murder of at least 10 women in Tampa, Florida and the rapes of at least 50 women.
Long, 65, is said to have been responsible for increasing the homicide rate of Hillsborough County, which used to be 30 to 35 homicides per year in the 1980s.
After Long moved to the area in 1983, during one eight-month period, homicide rates shot through the roof with a murder every other week.
His life before Tampa Bay was also just as horrifying.
In 1981, Long started a spree of rapes in Fort Lauderdale, Ocala, Miami, and Dade County, where he would answer classified ads for small appliances and then prey on women if he found them vulnerable or alone, while their husbands were at work during the day. He would tie them up after showing a knife and then would rape them violently following which he would rob them.
These rapes occurred between 1980 and 1983.
He is also known to have gifted the jewelry that he stole from these women he raped to his flames who had no idea where they came from.
One of his victims, Sharon Richards, who was his roommate at the time, accused him of rape—but the lack of evidence meant the police had to drop the case. But, just two weeks after this incident, Long hit her after the two argued. He argued that he had done nothing wrong to the judge and said that it was all Sharon's fault. He was acquitted of the case in 1984 and is said to have laughed at her when he left the courtroom.
In another case, he was found guilty of sending lewd letters to a 12-year-old girl and faced two days in jail and six-month probation.
Long had finally stumbled onto the arms of the law and it was the beginning of the end for him.
It was the same year that this serial rapist became a serial killer.
On March 27, 1984, Long raped Artis Wick in Tampa, a 20-year-old girl working as a prostitute. However, after he raped her, he found himself unsatisfied and he strangled her, committing his first murder. Her skeletal remains were only found on November 22, 1984.
His next victim was Ngeun Thi Long, also known as Lana Long, who worked as a dancer at the Sly Fox Lounge in Tampa. She was killed on May 13, 1984.
The victim's body was only found in October that year, maggot-ridden and in a high stage of decomposition by a couple of teenage boys. The body was blackened and nude and kept face down with her wrists tied behind her back. She had a noose around her neck, was gagged and had severe bruising. Further investigation revealed that, prior to her death, the victim had been severely beaten.
What horrified the authorities was something else — the woman's legs were at odd angles, her hips broken that would allow the leg to be at right angles to her body. Her face was so severely eaten away by maggots that she could not be recognized. Long was never charged with this murder, but all sources link it back to the Classified Ad Rapist.
Tire tracks were found coming into and out of the field. An autopsy revealed that she had died of strangulation. Almost all of Long's next victims died of strangulation or asphyxiation but one was shot and one died of a cutthroat. The bodies were found usually long after the murder in a state of decomposition, dumped near a rural roadside and dragged into the woods.
Michelle Denise Simms, 22, was next. Killed on May 27, 1984, her body was found nude, on her back, with her hands bound at the waist and a ligature around the neck. Her throat had been cut, and she had sustained multiple blunt trauma injuries to the head before giving up.
Long went on to brutally rape and murder three more women that year before finally attempting to murder 17-year-old Lisa McVey, 17, on November 3, 1984, who survived.
As she was riding her bike after her shift at a Krispy Kreme in Tampa, Long put a gun to her head and took her into his car. He raped her for 26 hours before letting her go. She convinced him that her father was gravely ill. Before she left, however, she left her fingerprints all over his car and his home and helped the police identify his Magnum. This would prove to be crucial in his November 16, 1984 capture. Today, she is a Sheriff in the same county. After McVey, he murdered and raped Virginia Lee Johnson and Kim Marie Swann.
Long's capture was a result of the evidence found at crime scenes and McVey's information.
The State Attorney and the Public Defender's Office of Hillsborough County reached a plea bargain for eight of the homicides and the abduction and rape of Lisa McVey. He pled guilty on September 24, 1985, to all of these crimes, receiving 26 life sentences without the possibility of parole.
The State sought the death penalty for the murder of Michelle Simms and he was sentenced to death on Florida's electric chair.
However, after an appeal, his death sentence was vacated by a Circuit Court in Pasco County for the murder of Virginia Johnson. However, his death warrant went on to be signed only on April 23, 2019 by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Violent and angry, Long was bullied when he was growing up due to a rare condition that caused him to have an extra Y chromosome that resulted in breasts. He also had a dysfunctional relationship with his mother and even slept on her bed until much later.
Parents Louella and Joe split when Long was a young boy and he married his childhood sweetheart Cindy Bartlett, now Brown. She recalled in an interview that an accident changed his personality. He is said to have grabbed her, choked her and slammed her head into the TV. However, he threatened her saying if she told anyone the truth, he'd kill her. At the time she had decided to shoot him but couldn't go through. The two split in 1980.