Woman Who Survived Killer's Murder Spree Watches Him Die

Bobby Joe Long, 65, killed 10 women in Florida in 1984
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 24, 2019 12:43 AM CDT
Florida Executes Serial Killer Who Terrorized State
Lisa Noland, who survived an attack at the hands of serial killer Bobby Joe Long, speaks to reporters after his execution May 23, 2019, in Starke, Fla.   (AP Photo/Brendan Farrington)

A serial killer and rapist who terrorized Florida with a murderous spree that claimed 10 women's lives in 1984 was put to death Thursday, his execution witnessed by a woman who survived one of his attacks and aided in his capture. Bobby Joe Long, 65, was pronounced dead at 6:55pm Thursday following a lethal injection at Florida State Prison. Long had no last words, simply closing his eyes as the procedure began, witnesses said. The killer terrified the Tampa Bay area for eight months in 1984 as women began showing up dead, their bodies often left in gruesome poses. Most were strangled, some had their throats slit, and others were bludgeoned. Law enforcement had few clues until the case of Lisa Noland, who survived one of Long's attacks. She witnessed Thursday's execution from the front row.

Just 17 in 1984, Noland was abducted by Long outside a church that year. He raped her but ultimately let her go free. She left evidence, including as many fingerprints as possible, on the scene and gave police details leading to his capture. Long confessed to the crimes, receiving 28 life sentences and one death sentence, for the murder of 22-year-old Michelle Simms. Noland positioned herself in the witness room where she hoped Long would see her, the AP reports. "I wanted to look him in the eye. I wanted to be the first person he saw. Unfortunately, he didn't open his eyes," she said. "It was comforting to know this was actually happening." She said she began to cry after she left the room once it was over. "The peace that came over me is a remarkable feeling," she said.

(More serial killer stories.)

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