In this updated photo provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows Bobby Joe Long in custody. Long, is scheduled to be performed Thursday, May 23, 2019, for killing 10 women over a period of eight months in 1984 that terrorized the Tampa Bay area. He was sentenced to 401 years in prison, 28 life sentences and a death sentence. His execution for the murder of the 22-year-old Michelle Simms. (Florida Department of Law Enforcement via AP)
TALLAHASSEE, Florida. – Cindy Brown, remembers when she decided to divorce Bobby Joe Long, a serial killer facing execution as a result of a murderous spree that claimed 10 lives of the women and terrorized Florida Tampa Bay area in 1984.
The man who was her childhood sweetheart and the father of their two children is set to receive a lethal injection Thursday at Florida State Prison in Starke. Brown said that she believes that Long, now 65, is getting what he deserves.
“This is something that in my heart, must have happened many, many years ago,” Brown said. “It’s been a long time coming. I hate to see someone die, but he has done what he has done. You made your bed; it is time to explain.”
Brown, who divorced a Long time, in 1980, still vividly recalls an increasingly violent man. One day, he grabbed her, strangled her and threw her head into a television, beat her unconscious with a gash in the forehead.
“When I came to, I was on the couch. Of course, he was there, crying. “I will never do it again. I’m so sorry.’ Then the following words: ‘When you yourself with your stitches, if you tell them what really happened, I will kill you when you get home,” Brown recalled Wednesday.
After the divorce, the Long, went on a violent rage against women that also dozens of rapes. Spree him 28 life sentences and the death penalty for one of the murders, that of the 22-year-old Michelle Simms. The execution would be the first under Gov. Ron DeSantis, who took office in January.
After the defeat of that Brown to the hospital, she said, they are loaded with a shotgun, pointed it at the Long and planned to kill him. But she knew not to go through with it. She said that it is not the trigger has haunted since her, knowing that the life he later destroyed.
“I have forgiven the man for what he did for me — the name calling, the physical violence, everything else … I don’t think I will ever forgive him for what this has caused my children, nor will I ever forgive him for what he did to those girls, whether they are the murder victims or the victims of rape,” she told The Associated Press.
Artiss Ann Wick was the first woman murdered in March 1984. Nine of the victims followed up to his arrest eight months later.
Most were strangled, some had their throats cut, and others were clubbed. He placed most of the victims in a horrible way. A rape of the victim who survived, a 17-year-old snatched from her bicycle while riding home from work in a donut shop, helped the police too Long. Although blindfolded during the ordeal, she remembered the car and the data on the Long.
After his arrest, Long known that, and other crimes and admitted to be “The Classified ad Rapist,” the name researchers gave it while trying to solve dozens of rapes. Long would be going through ads and making appointments to see items for sale. If a woman opened the door and was alone, he would rape her.
Brown lived in the Miami area, while Long, was killing women. Although they still feared him, they talked regularly, because he had visitation rights with their children. They turn on the TV news every morning while getting ready for work. On a morning she was on the phone with the news that another one of his victims was found.
“I said, ‘Bob, you always tell me to be careful, but what is there in Tampa?'” Brown said. “And he said: ‘That is why I tell you, because you never know.'”
It wasn’t long before she received a phone call from Long. She could see it in his voice that something was wrong.
“You know that the girls in Tampa?” Brown recalled Long saying.
Her first thought was that the Long ‘ s then girlfriend, named Barbara, was one of the serial killer victims.
“Oh my God! They killed Barbara!,'” Brown called to say.
“He said, “No, I killed the girls.” And I told him, “Bob, that’s not funny. No joke, if that. It’s just not funny.” And he said, “I’m not joking,'” Brown said. A Hillsborough County sheriff’s sergeant then took the phone from Long and confirmed that, yes, he had been charged.
Said Brown, “That was when my whole world on its head.”
While they agree with the Long run, they know the open wounds of her son and daughter and the families of the dead.
“Each one of the victims and the victim families are in my prayers. I know that it is a difficult emotional roller coaster for them, and I am so, so sorry,” she said, choking with tears. “I understand it’s not my fault, but tell my heart. My heart believe.”