Bobby Joe Long, a serial killer who confessed to 10 murders in Florida during the 1980s, was executed Thursday night by lethal injection, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Long, 65, was pronounced dead at 6:55 p.m. inside the death chamber at the Florida State Prison, the newspaper reported.
The execution was witnessed by a woman who survived one of Long’s attacks and helped police capture him. Long did not make a final statement before he was put to death.
Long was executed for the 1984 slaying of Michelle Denise Simms, a 22-year-old former beauty pageant contestant from California, the Times reported. Simms’ body was found near an interstate overpass in Plant City that May, her body bound with a rope and her throat cut, the newspaper reported.
The FBI linked Long to 10 murders over a period of eight months in 1984, WTSP reported. The victims were between the ages of 18 and 28, and most of them were strangled, the television station reported. One woman was shot and another had her throat slashed.
“We thank God that this day has finally arrived,” Lula Williams, the mother of victim Chanel Williams, told the Times. “Now, after 35 years, we can say we had some peace of mind knowing that justice has been served.”
Lisa McVey was 17 when she was abducted by Long in November 1984, the Times reported. McVey, who was riding her bicycle home from her job at a doughnut shop, was held in Long’s apartment and repeatedly raped for 26 hours, the newspaper reported.
McVey convinced Long to let her go, but she left evidence of his crime at the scene and gave police details, which led to his capture, WTSP reported.
McVey, now Lisa Noland, is a deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the television station reported.
Long confessed to the crimes and received 28 life sentences and a death sentence for Simms’ murder, according to court records.
“I wanted to look him in the eye. I wanted to be the first person he saw. Unfortunately, he didn't open his eyes," Noland told reporters Thursday night. "It was comforting to know this was actually happening. “The peace that came over me is a remarkable feeling.”
In the room overlooking the death chamber, Frank Elliott, the brother of victim Vicky Elliott, wore a shirt with the 10 victims’ photos screen-printed on the back, the Times reported.
“The ones that matter,” it said above their faces.