Number of victims: 10
Date of murders: 1986
Method of murder: Strangulation / Stabbing / Shooting
Location: Tampa Bay, Florida
Like most serial killers Bobby Joe Long’s criminal career escalated from petty crime to sexual assault and eventually to murder. Between 1980 and 1983, the Florida communities of Miami, Ocala and Fort Lauderdale were terrorized by a serial rapist who the police dubbed the "Classified Ad Rapist.” The man targeted housewives during a series of daytime attacks. He would gain access to the victim’s home under the guise of responding to a classified ad. Once inside, he’d produce a knife, tie up the victim, then rape her repeatedly. Before fleeing, he’d usually ransack the home.
Long was arrested in connection with the rapes in November 1981, but he was cleared due to lack of evidence. After his release, the attacks started up again. Soon they’d escalate to murder.
However, Long changed his M.O. once he started killing. Instead of housewives, he began targeting prostitutes and strippers, stabbing, strangling and shooting 10 victims in the space of just eight months from May to November 1984.
In early November, Long varied his M.O. again when he snatched 17-year-old Lisa McVey from a Tampa street. After holding McVey prisoner for several days, during which he repeatedly raped her, Long inexplicably released his victim. She went straight to the police.
Arrested on November 17, 1984, Long was charged with nine counts of first-degree murder, plus various counts of abduction, rape, and sexual assault. Convicted on all charges in February 1985, he was sentenced to death.