**UPDATE: Florida has executed serial killer Bobby Joe Long; he was pronounced dead at 6:55 p.m.**
A 65-year-old serial killer who was convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing at least ten women is set to be executed Thursday night.
Robert Joseph Long, also known as Bobby Joe Long, abducted, sexually assaulted, and murdered the women in the Tampa Bay Area in Florida during an eight-month period in 1984.
He released one of his last victims, 17-year-old Lisa McVey, after raping her for a period of 26 hours. McVey provided information to the police that enabled them to track him down.
Long moved to the Tampa area in 1983. Hillsborough County had been averaging about 30 to 35 homicides per year in the 1980s. Then, in 1984, the murder rate escalated. During one eight-month period, a killer with a unique method of binding, raping, and killing his victims, then dumping them in unusual positions and poses, was averaging a murder every other week. The first victim was discovered in May 1984, when the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) was called to a crime scene where the body of a nude woman had been found.
In 1984, while on probation for assault, Long began driving around, trawling for victims in areas known for prostitution and in bars where women were found alone. He claimed his victims approached him, after which he persuaded them to enter his car and took them to an apartment. There he bound his victims with rope and ligature collars he fashioned using a variety of rope knots, later confessing that he derived sadistic pleasure from the abduction, rape, and brutal murder of his victims. Some he strangled, others he killed by slitting their throats or bludgeoning. The bodies were placed in unique positions or “displayed,” for example with their legs splayed five feet apart at odd angles. Of Long’s ten known victims, five were identified as sex workers, two as exotic dancers, one was a factory worker, one was a student, and one was of unknown occupation.
Long was arrested on November 16, 1984, and charged with the sexual battery and kidnapping of Lisa McVey. Long signed a formal Miranda waiver, and consented to questioning. After the detectives procured a confession for the McVey case, their questioning focused on a series of unsolved sexual battery homicides pending in the area. As the detectives began to question Long about the murders, he replied, “I’d rather not answer that.” The detectives continued the interrogation, and handed Long photographs of the various murder victims. At this point, Long stated, “The complexion of things sure have changed since you came back into the room. I think I might need an attorney.” No attorney was provided, and Long eventually confessed to eight murders in Hillsborough County, and one murder in Pasco County.
Fiber evidence analysis by the FBI linked Long’s vehicle to most of his victims.
The known victims are:
Artiss Ann Wick, 20 – killed on March 27, 1984
Ngeun Thi Long, 19 – killed on May 13, 1984
Michelle Denise Simms, 22 – killed on May 27, 1984
Elizabeth Loudenback, 22 – killed on June 8, 1984
Vicky Marie Elliott, 21 – killed on September 7, 1984
Chanel Devoun Williams, 18 – killed on October 7, 1984
Karen Beth Dinsfriend, 28 – killed on October 14, 1984
Kimberly Kyle Hopps, 22 – killed on October 31, 1984
Lisa McVey, 17 – assaulted on November 3, 1984; survived
Virginia Lee Johnson, 18 – killed on November 6, 1984
Kim Marie Swann, 21 – killed on November 11, 1984
On April 23, 2019, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed Long’s death warrant, this being the first death warrant signed by DeSantis since he took office in January 2019.
Ling has reportedly selected a final meal of a roast beef sandwich, bacon, french fries and a soda.
He is currently scheduled to be executed on Thursday night at 6:00 p.m. local time.