TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a death warrant for convicted serial killer and rapist Robert “Bobby” Joe Long. The governor’s office confirmed Tuesday the death warrant had been signed and an execution date has been set for May 23, 2019.
Before Long was captured in 1984, his murders cast a shadow over Tampa. Long killed at least 10 women, but detectives say there could be others. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1985.
His conviction was possible thanks to the bravery of the victim who got away, Lisa McVey Noland. She was 17 years old when Long abducted her.
Today, Noland is a deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Noland advocates for women, children, and victims in the Bay Area and in Tallahassee, where she has told her story to lawmakers.
Noland has also appeared in television shows and her story was the basis for a 'Lifetime' movie, released a few months ago, titled “Believe Me.”
Noland and the families of some of Long’s victims vow, year after year, to continue asking for Long’s sentence to be carried out.
Vicky Elliott was 21 when she was killed by Long. Her brother, Jeff Sienko went to Tallahassee one year ago to ask lawmakers for closure.
Sienko and his family said they plan to witness Long’s execution.
"We're all going to go," said Sienko. "You did this to our family, behind closed doors, now we're going to see it done to you in the public eye."
Noland has said she, too, will attend Long’s execution.
In an interview with FOX 13’s Lloyd Sowers, she said, "And I already know the T-shirt I'm going to wear. It will have his name on the front -- Long -- and on the back -- 'Overdue.' Long Overdue."
Long will be the first death row inmate to be executed on Gov. DeSantis’ watch. Florida’s last execution was José Antonio Jiménez on December 13, 2018 under then-Gov. Rick Scott.
Including Long, there are 344 inmates awaiting execution in Florida.