A to Z Challenge: L (serial killers)

Bobby Joe Long — Classified Ad Rapist

Fast Facts:

  • Born in 1953 in West Virginia
  • Diagnosed as a sexual sadist which appears to have been triggered by a motorcycle accident, he graduated from rape to murder, killing at least 10 young women
  • He was caught after letting a rape victim leave as well as forensic evidence which linked his car to the victims
  • Charged with 10 murders and one rape
  • Confessing he made a plea deal for 8 of the murders and after multiple appeals his sentence is one 5 year sentence, four 99 year sentences, 28 life sentences and one death sentence (although after multiple appeals is still waiting execution)

The son of divorced parents, Long spent most of his childhood in Florida with his mother. He had a troubled childhood, failing first grade and being injured in some accidents. His hatred of women started with his bar-worker mother who brought different men home with her. Long had to share a bed with her until he entered his teens.

Long met his future wife when he was 13. Soon after they were married they had 2 children which added stress to an already volatile relationship. Long was also in a serious motorcycle accident which his wife said changed his behaviour. Always having a short temper, he now became violent and developed a dangerous sex drive (later diagnosed as sexual sadism).

His wife filed for divorce and he moved in with a female friend who later accused him of rape and assault. His first jail sentence came after sending an inappropriate letter to a 12 year old girl. After this he moved to rape and used classified advertisements to enter unsuspecting women’s homes to rape them. He’s suspected of committing more than 50 rapes in this time.

Long then moved onto murder after the assault and rape of a prostitute didn’t fulfil him, strangling her. He then killed more prostitutes, but police were able to link the deaths using a red nylon fibre found on two of his victims. Eventually, Long kidnapped a 17 year old. He raped her, keeping her at his apartment as a “sex slave” for over 24 hours before releasing her. She was able to give police a brief description of Long and his car, although Long was able to claim more victims before police arrested him. The red fibres matched the carpet of his car and could be traced to most of his victims.

Long was charged with 10 murders, reaching a plea deal for 8 of them, as well as one count of rape and was sentenced with 26 life imprisonments (two to run concurrently with first 24), as well as two death sentences. After appeal he is serving one 5 year sentence, four 99 year sentences, 28 life sentences and one death sentence. He’s currently on death row in Florida as appeals have delayed his execution.

12 comments on “A to Z Challenge: L (serial killers)

  1. I’ve noticed that all of the serial killers have a moniker as well as their name – The classified ad rapist in this case. Were those given by the police or by the media? Any idea how that ‘tradition’ started?

    L is for Ladder of Years

    • In most cases it comes from the media, Karen, although there are a few cases where they’ve come from the police. There’s an interesting article here on it.

  2. So… after a plea deal, he’s *only* serving one 5-yr sentence, four 99-yr sentences, 28 life sentences, and just one death sentence.

    Why did he bother appealing? Trying to clear his name??! “Hey, I’m a thoroughly brutal, sadistic, evil man… but I’m not quite as thoroughly brutal, sadistic, and evil as you originally thought!”??!!

    • I guess he thought it’s okay to take another life, but wasn’t willing to give up his own. He’s managed to delay his death sentence for years thanks to the appeals.

  3. What is the point in a plea deal if you’re facing multiple life sentences? You’re away for life as you should be?

    Do you think at some point every killer wants to be caught? Why else would he release a victim and not kill her?


    • Many serial killers plea deal to avoid the death sentence. Sometimes they are successful, sometimes not.

  4. These horrid people just keep coming. One after another. Luck of the draw we aren’t in their sites, innit?

  5. What a horrible human being. You do have to wonder what makes people turn into this.

    Lose My Mind by The Wanted

  6. I wonder how the people whose job it is to try and answer that question manage to do their jobs everyday? *shivers*

  7. I can’t understand in a case like this how an appeal is even warranted. What a waste of money and time. It’s not like he was wrongfully accused, or that there was even a shred of doubt as to his horrible involvement. Ironic that he’s not willing to die when he thought nothing of the value of the lives of others.

    • I agree, Lynda. When faced with their own mortality do they even think about the lives they’ve taken?

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