By Frank Miles
Published May 23, 2019
Convicted serial killer Bobby Joe Long had no last words.
Long was pronounced dead at 6:55 p.m.
A witness to the execution had on a polo shirt with photos of all 10 victims on the back and the words, “The Ones That Matter.”
Witnesses said the 65-year-old Long simply closed his eyes as the lethal injection procedure began Thursday at Florida State Prison.
In the front row was Lisa Noland, who was abducted and raped by Long before he released her — and she was able to lead police to him.
She said she wanted to hear Long’s final words, though she wouldn’t be able to address him.
But if she could, it would be this, she said: “I would say ‘Thank you for choosing me and not another 17-year-old girl.’”
“Another 17-year-old girl probably wouldn’t have been able to handle it the way that I have,” she said.
Noland became the victim Long let go. The day before her abduction, she’d written a suicide note, planning to end her life after years of sexual abuse by her grandmother’s boyfriend.
But she ended up using heroic use of that history.
“At the time he put the gun to my head, it was nothing new to me,” she told The Associated Press.
She said she knew from her past abuse that if she fought Long, it would further enrage him.
“I had to study this guy,” she said. “I had to learn who he was, what made him tick. If I did the wrong move, could it end my life? So literally, the night before I wrote a suicide note out, and now I was in a position where I had to save my life.”
The killings began in March 1984. Most of the victims were strangled. Some had their throats slit. Others were bludgeoned. Authorities said the killer positioned most of the bodies in gruesome poses.
Investigators gave the serial killer the moniker “The Classified Ad Rapist” while trying to solve dozens of rapes. Long would go through classified ads and make appointments to see items for sale. If a woman answered the door and was alone, he’d rape her.
He was captured after an eight-month killing spree in the Tampa Bay area.
Long confessed to the crimes, receiving 28 life sentences and one death sentence for the murder of 22-year-old Michelle Simms.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.