Bobby Joe Long

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Bobby Joe Long
Bobbie Joe Long.jpg
2007 Mug shot of Bobby Joe Long
Robert Joseph Long

(1953-10-14)October 14, 1953
DiedMay 23, 2019(2019-05-23) (aged 65)
Cause of deathExecution by lethal injection
Other namesBobby Joe Long
The Classified Ad Rapist
The Adman Rapist
Criminal statusExecuted by lethal injection on May 23, 2019
Cynthia Bartlett
(m. 1974; div. 1980)
Conviction(s)Armed burglary,
Aggravated assault,
First-degree murder,
Sexual battery (September 24, 1985)
Criminal penaltyDeath (July 25, 1986)
Span of crimes
March 27, 1984–November 11, 1984
CountryUnited States
Date apprehended
November 16, 1984

Robert Joseph Long (October 14, 1953 – May 23, 2019), also known as Bobby Joe Long, was an American serial killer and rapist who was executed for the murder of Michelle Denise Simms.[1] Long abducted, sexually assaulted, and murdered at least 10 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 over a period of 26 hours. McVey provided information to the police that enabled them to track him down.

Long was sentenced to death for two of the ten murders. He was executed by lethal injection on May 23, 2019.

Early life[edit]

Long was born on October 14, 1953 in Kenova, West Virginia to Joe and Louetta Long. Long was born with an extra X chromosome, causing him to grow breasts during puberty, for which he was severely teased.[2] Long also suffered multiple head injuries as a child.[3] Long also had a dysfunctional relationship with his mother; he slept in her bed until he was a teenager, and resented her multiple short-term boyfriends.[2] Long married his high school girlfriend in 1974, with whom he had two children before she filed for divorce in 1980.[4]

Prior to the Tampa Bay area murders, Long had committed at least 50 rapes as the "Classified Ad Rapist" in Fort Lauderdale, Ocala, Miami, and Dade County. Starting in 1981, Long answered classified ads for small appliances, and if he found a woman alone at home, he would rape her. Long was tried and convicted for rape in 1981 but requested a new trial, which was granted. The charges were later dropped.

Before Long moved to Florida, he lived in Long Beach, California, on the 2500 Block of Eucalyptus Avenue, where he rented a room from a woman named Kathy. Long dated a 17-year-old girl across the street from his rented room. Long began contacting women through the Penny Saver and other classified ads. When Long found a woman alone, he asked to use the bathroom, took out his "rape kit" and brutally raped and robbed the woman. These crimes were never prosecuted by the local California authorities.[5][6]


Long moved to the Tampa Bay area in 1983. Long’s 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.[7]

This began an intensive investigation into the abduction, rape, and murder of at least 10 women in three counties in the Tampa Bay area (Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas) involving the personnel from the HCSO, the FBI, the Tampa Police Department (TPD), the Pasco County Sheriff's Office (PCSO), and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). The bodies of the victims were typically found in a state of decomposition long after the murders, having been dumped near a rural roadside and dragged into the woods.[7]

Modus operandi[edit]

In 1984, while on probation for assault, Long began driving around, looking for victims in areas known for prostitution and in bars where women were found alone. Long claimed that his victims approached him, and he would persuade them to enter his car and took them to his apartment. Long would then bind the victims with rope and ligature collars he had fashioned, using a variety of rope knots. Long later confessed that he derived sadistic pleasure from the abduction, rape, and brutal murder of his victims, some of whom he strangled to death. Others he killed by slitting their throats or bludgeoning them. Long would then arrange his victims' bodies in unique positions, or "display." Of Long's 10 known victims, five of the women were identified as known prostitutes, two as exotic dancers. The remaining three victims were a factory worker, a student, and one had an unknown occupation.[8]

Known victims[edit]

  • 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
  • Linda Nuttall - assaulted in May 1984; survived


At the time of his capture, Long was wanted in three Tampa Bay area jurisdictions where investigators had collected multiple forms of forensic evidence, including clothing, carpet fibers, semen, ligature marks, and rope knots.[8]

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 in the Tampa Bay area. As the detectives questioned 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.[9][10]

Fiber evidence analysis by the FBI linked Long's vehicle to most of his victims.[8]


The Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office confronted Long with the evidence. 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. Long pled guilty on September 24, 1985, to all of these crimes, receiving 26 life sentences without the possibility of parole (24 concurrent and two to run consecutively to the first 24) and seven life sentences with the possibility of parole after 25 years. In addition, the State retained the option to seek the death penalty for the murder of Michelle Simms. In July 1986, the penalty phase of the Michelle Simms trial was held in Tampa. It lasted one week and received extensive media attention. Long was found guilty and was sentenced to die in Florida's electric chair.

Although Long confessed to raping and killing women, his confession was thrown out. His trial proceeded straight to the penalty phase, which was possible in the 1980s. In early 1985, he received the death penalty.

Long was convicted and appealed his first degree murder conviction and death sentence for crimes committed in Hillsborough County.[11]

Long appealed his first degree murder conviction and sentence of death in the death of Virginia Johnson.[12]

On appeal from the Circuit Court in and for Pasco County, in which Long's death sentence was vacated, his conviction reversed, and his case remanded to the trial court with directions to enter an order of acquittal for the murder of Virginia Johnson.[13] On February 24, 1999, Long accused the Capital Collateral Regional Council (the state office defending death row inmates in their appeals) of revealing his private letters to a book author, thus violating attorney–client privilege. He also accused the agency of running a "death pool," betting on the dates on which inmates would be executed, and asked that the agency be removed from his case.[14] An investigation concluded that these allegations were unfounded. Long's petition for a writ of mandamus to require Bob Dillinger, the public defender for the Sixth Judicial Circuit, to relinquish possession and control of his file in State v. Long, was denied.

According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Long had one five-year sentence, four 99-year sentences, 28 life sentences, and one death sentence.[1]


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.[15][16] Long's subsequent appeals were denied and he was executed by lethal injection on May 23, 2019.[17] He ate his final meal at 9:30am local time; he requested roast beef, bacon, french fries and soda.[18] He was pronounced dead at 6:55pm and made no last statement.[19]


The story of Long's crimes was told on:

TV Movies[edit]

  • Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey (2018)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Inmate Population Information Detail - Inmate 494041". Florida Department of Corrections. Archived from the original on November 11, 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-10.
  2. ^ a b "Bobby Joe Long - The Classified Ad Rapist". Department of Psychology, Radford University. Archived from the original on August 21, 2008. Retrieved August 12, 2009.
  3. ^ Giannangelo, Stephen. The Psychopathology of Serial Murder: A Theory of Violence.
  4. ^ Moore, Melissa. "Married to a Monster: Ex-wife discusses serial killer who raped, killed 10 women". crimewatch. Telepictures Productions Inc. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  5. ^ Norris, Joel (1988). Serial Killers. N.Y.: Doubleday. pp. 137–149. ISBN 0-385-26328-7.
  6. ^ "Bobby Joe Long: The Classified Ad Rapist". Frances Farmers Archived from the original on 5 January 2008. Retrieved 1 November 2007.[unreliable source?]
  7. ^ a b "The "Bobby Joe" Long Serial Murder Case: A Study in Cooperation". Archived from the original on 2007-08-07. Retrieved 2007-11-01.
  8. ^ a b c Hickey, Eric W. (1991). Serial Murderers and Their Victims. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole. pp. 135–136. ISBN 0-534-15414-x.
  9. ^ "ROBERT JOE LONG, a/k/a v. STATE OF FLORIDA,". June 30, 1988. Retrieved 2007-11-01.
  10. ^ Ramsland, Katherine. "Bobby Joe Long". Crime Library. truTV. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  11. ^ "ROBERT JOE LONG, a/k/a BOBBY LONG, Appellant, v. STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee No. 69,259". June 30, 1988. Retrieved 2007-11-01.
  12. ^ "Robert Joe Long, Appellant, v. State of Florida, Appellee". November 12, 1987. Retrieved 2007-11-01.
  13. ^ "ROBERT J. LONG, Appellant, vs. State of Florida, Appellee, No. 83,593 Corrected Opinion". March 6, 1997. Retrieved 2007-11-01.
  14. ^ "The Morgue Archives: Jan-Feb 1999". Retrieved 4 November 2007.
  15. ^ "Robert Joseph Long - Death Warrant - May 2019" (PDF). Florida Supreme Court. 23 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Upcoming Executions | Death Penalty Information Center". Retrieved 2019-04-24.
  17. ^ "Bobby Joe Long, Convicted Killer Who Terrorized Bay In Mid 80s, Executed".
  18. ^ Davidson, Tom (May 23, 2019). "Serial killer Bobby Joe Long requests special final meal ahead of execution". mirror. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  19. ^ "Serial Killer Who Took 10 Women's Lives Executed in Florida". Time. Retrieved May 26, 2019.

External links[edit]