Bobby Joe Long, 65, is scheduled to receive a lethal injection on Thursday at Florida State Prison over a murderous spree that claimed 10 women’s lives in the Tampa Bay area back in 1984
The ex-wife of a Florida serial killer facing execution says she regrets not shooting him dead after a brutal beating and the decision has haunted her ever since given the lives he later destroyed.
Bobby Joe Long, 65, is scheduled to receive a lethal injection on Thursday at Florida State Prison over a murderous spree that claimed 10 women’s lives in the Tampa Bay area back in 1984.
The woman who was his childhood sweetheart and father of their two children, Cindy Brown, said she believes he is getting what he deserves.
‘This is something that in my heart should have happened many, many years ago,’ she said.
‘It’s been a long time coming. I hate to see anybody die, but he’s done the things that he’s done. You made your bed; it’s time to lay in it.’
Brown, who divorced Long in 1980, still vividly recalls an increasingly violent man.
One day, he grabbed her, choked her and slammed her head into a television, knocking her unconscious with a gash to the forehead.
‘When I came to, I was on the couch. Of course, he was there, crying. ‘I’ll never do it again. I’m so sorry.’ Then the next words were, ‘When you drive yourself to get your stitches, if you tell them what really happened, I’ll kill you when you get home,’ Brown said.
The woman who was his childhood sweetheart and father of their two children, Cindy Brown, said she believes he is getting what he deserves. The couple divorced in 1980 before his murderous spree
Brown, who divorced Long in 1980, said she regrets not killing him after a brutal beating and the decision has haunted her ever since given the lives he later destroyed
She said after that beating, she loaded a shotgun and pointed it at Long with the intention of killing him.
Brown didn’t go through with it and said it has haunted her ever since.
‘I have forgiven the man for what he did to me – the name calling, the physical violence, everything else… I don’t think I will I 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 be the murder victims or the rape victims,’ Brown said.
After their divorce, Long went on a violent rage against women that also included dozens of rapes. The spree earned him 28 life sentences and the death penalty for one of the killings, that of 22-year-old Michelle Simms.
Artiss Ann Wick was the first woman killed in March 1984 and nine more victims followed until his arrest eight months later.
The majority of his victims were strangled, while other had their throats slit or were bludgeoned before being positioned in a gruesome way.
Lisa Noland, one rape victim who survived, helped lead police to Long. She was 17 at the time when she was snatched off her bicycle while riding home from work at a doughnut shop.
Just a day earlier, Noland had written a suicide note and planned to kill herself after years of being raped by her grandmother’s boyfriend.
Even though she was blindfolded during the ordeal, she recalled the car and details about Long.
‘At the time he put the gun to my head, it was nothing new to me,’ she said.
Long, who has two daughters, went on a murderous spree in 1984 in Tampa Bay earned him 28 life sentences and the death penalty for one of the 10 killings
Long admitted after his arrest to being ‘The Classified Ad Rapist’ – the moniker investigators gave while trying to solve dozens of rapes. Long would go through classified ads and make appointments to see items for sale. He would rape women if they answered the door and were home alone
She said she knew from her past abuse that if she fought, it would further enrage her attacker.
‘I had to study this guy. I had to learn who he was, what made him tick. If I did the wrong move, could it end my life? So literally, the night before I wrote a suicide note out, and now I was in a position where I had to save my life.
After his arrest, Long confessed to that and other crimes and admitted to being ‘The Classified Ad Rapist’ – the moniker investigators gave while trying to solve dozens of rapes.
Long would go through classified ads and make appointments to see items for sale. If a woman answered the door, he would rape her if she was home alone.
Brown, his ex-wife, was living in the Miami area while Long was killing women. Though she still feared him, they spoke regularly because he had visitation rights to their children.
She would turn on the TV news every morning while getting ready for work and one morning was on the phone with him when news reported another one of his victims was found.
‘I said, ‘Bob, you always tell me to be careful, but what’s going on out there in Tampa?” Brown said. ‘And he said, ‘That’s why I tell you, because you never know’.’
Kimberly Swann, 21, (left) was killed on November 11, 1984. Virginia Johnson, 18, (right) was killed on November 6, 1984
Kimberly Hoops, 22, (left) was killed on October 31, 1984. Karen Dinsfriend, 28, (right) was killed on October 14, 1984
Chanel Williams, 18, (left) was killed on October 7, 1984. Elizabeth Loudenback, 22, (right) was killed on June 8, 1984
Michelle Denise Simms, 22, (left) was killed on May 27, 1984. Lana Long, 19, (right) was killed on May 13, 1984
It wasn’t long before she received another phone call from Long and she could tell by his voice there was something wrong.
‘You know the girls in Tampa?’ Brown recalled Long saying.
Her first thought was that Long’s then-girlfriend, named Barbara, was one of the serial killer’s victims.
‘Oh my God! They killed Barbara!,” Brown recalled saying.
‘He said, ‘No, I killed the girls.’ And I told him, ‘Bob, that’s not funny. Don’t joke like that. It just isn’t funny.’ And he said, ‘I’m not joking,” Brown said.
A Hillsborough County sheriff’s sergeant than took the phone from Long and confirmed that he had been charged.
‘That was when my whole world turned upside down,’ Brown said.
While she agrees Long should be executed, she knows it is opening up wounds for her son and daughter and the families of those killed.
‘Every one of the victims and the victim’s families are in my prayers. I know it’s a tough emotional roller coaster for them, and I am so, so sorry,’ she said, choking up with tears.
‘I understand it’s not my fault, but tell my heart that. Make my heart believe that.’
Woman raped by Florida serial killer reveals how she fought to survive as he is set to be executed
Lisa Noland, pictured when she was younger, was 17 when she was attacked and raped by Bobby Joe Long. She helped lead police to him
Lisa Noland was 17 when she said she wrote a suicide note, planning to end her life after years of being raped by her grandmother’s boyfriend.
A day later, she found herself fighting for her life while being raped by a man who is now set to be executed in Florida after a killing spree that left 10 women dead over an eight-month rampage in 1984.
The man set to die at Florida State Prison on Thursday is Bobby Joe Long. Noland was the victim he let go, someone who knew the mind of a rapist and played it while gathering – and leaving – evidence that would lead to his capture. Her abduction and rape strangely saved her own life.
‘At the time he put the gun to my head, it was nothing new to me,’ she said while packing a suitcase to leave for Long’s execution.
She said she knew from her past abuse that if she fought, it would further enrage her attacker.
‘I had to study this guy. I had to learn who he was, what made him tick. If I did the wrong move, could it end my life? So literally, the night before I wrote a suicide note out, and now I was in a position where I had to save my life.’
Investigators were horrified and baffled by the trail of bodies Long left in the Tampa Bay area. Artiss Ann Wick was the first woman killed, in March 1984. Nine more victims followed.
Noland plans to sit in the front row in the room where witnesses will watch Long die. Long will get to say his final words, and she will hear them. She won’t be able to say anything back.
But if she could, it would be this: ‘I would say ‘Thank you for choosing me and not another 17-year-old girl.”
‘Another 17-year-old girl probably wouldn’t have been able to handle it the way that I have. I truly believe that all the abuse I’d been through in my life helped me get out of that situation,’ Noland said.
Noland described her attack in excruciating detail; the church where Long abducted her, the gun he pressed against her head, and the bright light she could see on the car’s dashboard beneath the edge of her blindfold. It said Magnum, as in Dodge Magnum.
She was menstruating and she made sure she left blood evidence on the backseat of his car. She could tell the direction they were driving and when they were on Interstate 275 north of Tampa. When she was brought to the killer’s apartment, she counted the steps up to the second floor. When he let her use the bathroom, she made sure she left fingerprints everywhere.
And she knew she couldn’t make him angry. She appealed to a glimmer of kindness he showed while he washed her hair after raping her repeatedly. She asked what made him do what he did. He said he had suffered a bad breakup and hated women. She told him he seemed nice and that maybe she could be his girlfriend. She wouldn’t tell anyone.
Long later got Noland dressed. He let her loose and told her not to take the blindfold off for five minutes. She got out of the car and tripped on the curb. Long caught her before she fell. Terrified, she waited for what seemed like an eternity and pulled off the blindfold. She was in front of a tree in another churchyard.
To this day, she claims that tree as hers, and included it in the design of a T-shirt she made to mark Long’s execution.
And she’s joined the ranks of the law enforcement officers who captured Long. She’s a deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the same department she helped lead to Long’s arrest.