After decades on death row, one of Tampa Bay’s most famous murderers was put to death Thursday night.
Bobby Joe Long was given a lethal injection and died without incident, bringing to a calm end what had been an extremely violent life.
“I would have liked to see more pain,” said Lula Williams, whose daughter Chanel was one of the 10 women Long raped and murdered in 1984. “The pain he inflicted that we have in our hearts. I know the other families have pain.”
In addition to Long’s 10 victims that year, he raped dozens more in the years prior, answering classified ads and taking advantage of young women who were home alone.
When asked if he had any last words, he softly responded “no,” and the lethal injection began.
His shoulder twitched slightly as the first drug, etomidate, entered his body, and his chest began to rise and fall slightly more rapidly as he breathed heavily through his mouth.
Within two to three minutes, he was no longer moving, and his breathing was steady. A corrections officer behind the glass where witnesses were watching checked to make sure he was unconscious.
Then the deadly cocktail of rocuronium bromide followed by potassium acetate was delivered.
There were 26 witnesses in the tiny viewing room, flanked by nine members of the media and several corrections officials who watched as the death sentence was carried out.
In addition to several murder victims’ relatives, two of Long’s rape victims who both survived were also in attendance.
“It was just mind-boggling,” said Linda Nuttall, recalling the moment she learned her rapist was a serial killer.
Nuttall was a victim of the “Classified Ad Rapist,” the name investigators had for Long before he eventually ramped up his attacks and began murdering and often torturing his victims.
She told her story to reporters after the execution, saying she was living in Pinellas County when she advertised to sell furniture the week of Memorial Day in 1984–right around the time Long’s second known murder victim was found.
Nuttall said she was home with her two young children at the time, and feels like Long may have spared her life for that reason.
“I just felt lucky that I survived his attack,” she said.
After Bobby Joe Long was captured when another rape survivor, Lisa McVey Noland, helped investigators track him down, Nuttall realized he was her attacker.
Despite losing her daughter to a critical illness nine months after her attack, Nuttall told reporters “I have had and I continue to have a joyful life.”
“This will not define me,” Nuttall told 8 On Your Side. “I’m a survivor. It just comes from within. I’m a joyful person. I’m a happy person, and I wasn’t about to let this get me.”