20 February 1998 – Michael Edward Long
Obsession gripped Michael Edward Long, who was executed on this day in 1998.
He was transfixed by an Oklahoma florist and, when she shunned his affections, he turned aggressor and killed her. And that resulted in a lethal injection fix for Michael Long.
He’d met Sheryl Graber at the florist where they worked and he soon started fancying her. But she wasn’t interested.
Torn apart by his sexual frustration, he went to her house on 7 April 1987 in the hope of getting his end away. Thing is, he also went armed with a hefty knife and a gun, so he must have known the answer long before he’d even got there.
Needless to say she refused him, so he threw her to the floor and stabbed her when she screamed. Graber managed to let herself loose and get to the front door, where she screamed for help.
Murder most foul
The neighbours came running, but by this time Long had pulled her back. He put the neighbours’ minds at rest by saying she was drunk. He calmly closed the door and then proceeded to stab Graber 30-odd times, so viciously that fragments of blade were left inside her.
He finished her off with a bullet to the head and to the stomach, before turning the gun on her four-year-old son. He shot little Andrew twice, then stabbed him for good measure.
By this time, the neighbours had called the police and he was apprehended as he tried to make his getaway. He was sent to trial and found guilty on two counts of murder. And, for his crimes he got two death penalties.
And so he was set to get a shot of toxins, but not without vacillating between wanting to try to overturn his death penalty and waving his rights to appeal. Yet appeal he did. In doing so, Long tried to assert that his confession was inadmissible, because he hadn’t volunteered it.
He also made out that the photos of the bloodied corpses were inadmissible, because they were unfairly emotive. But the evidence and witness statements were overwhelmingly against him and, despite his lawyer’s best efforts, the death penalty remained intact.
Long was finally put down by lethal injection on 20 February 1998, after having spent a third of his life behind bars, in what he described as a ‘hellhole’.