Florida executes serial killer, 35 years after crimes

Robert ‘Bobby’ Long was sentenced to death in September 1985. (AFP pic)

WASHINGTON: A serial killer was put to death on Thursday in the US state of Florida, 35 years after he raped and killed at least eight young women in the Tampa Bay region.

Robert “Bobby” Long, 65, was executed at 6.55pm (2255 GMT) at the Florida State Prison in Raiford, the state’s Department of Corrections said.

“The execution took place without incident,” Michelle Glady, the department’s director of communications, said in a statement.

He was sentenced to death in September 1985 for killing a woman the year before.

During the investigation, he confessed to killing seven others as well as to committing multiple rapes, according to the execution order.

The then recently divorced father of two began his violent spree in early 1980s.

He first chose his victims from the classifieds section in local newspapers. He contacted women who were selling items, went to their homes and raped them before fleeing.

That earned him the nickname of “classified ad rapist.”

In 1984, Long started murdering.

Over the course of eight months, he kidnapped at least as many women, tied them up, raped them, choked them or slit their throats before abandoning their bodies.

He kidnapped a 17-year-old girl who was returning home on her bike in September of that year. After raping her repeatedly, she managed to convince him to let her go, and later notified police.

Since his sentencing, Long made several failed appeals. His last request, filed with the Supreme Court, failed as well.

His lawyers had highlighted that their client suffered from epilepsy, along with other reasons to stay his execution.

They said the cocktail of lethal drugs would fail and could cause Long to suffer cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the US Constitution.

Long’s execution was the eighth so far this year in the United States.