Graphic video, suicide note shown in murder trial
By J.J. Kindred | (email@example.com)
Jurors saw a graphic video and an apparent suicide note in the second day of a trial of a Maryville man accused of killing his estranged wife.
Jeffrey Scott Long, 50, of Maryville, is charged with the murder of 57-year-old Janas Long in the Lakemont Village Apartment complex on Cerritos Way off Alcoa Highway in Louisville on Sept. 10, 2009.
A Blount County Circuit Court jury heard testimony Thursday from nine witnesses brought in by prosecuting assistant district attorneys Betsy Smith and Shari Tayloe. They included several Alcoa police officers and a DNA expert from Nashville.
Alcoa Police Patrol Sgts. Steven Anderson, Hank Morris and Lt. Paul Gilbert responded to a welfare check for Janas Long after learning that Jeffrey Long was at the apartment complex despite being under a restraining order. “I knocked on the door at least four to five times, but there was no response,” Anderson said. “The air conditioner was running, and I couldn’t hear anything because of the traffic (on Alcoa Highway).”
When Anderson and the other officers let themselves into the apartment, they saw Janas Long lying on the floor between the refrigerator and stove in a pool of blood, unresponsive and seemingly beaten to death. The officers also found the back window open with blood on it.
Officers found a hammer in front of the refrigerator, a chisel outside the bedroom window and a flashlight that a former co-worker of Janas Long’s testified Wednesday she had given to her for protection.
Gilbert testified that he saw a white Chevrolet Astro van parked at Rose Music Company that was registered to Janas Long, and Morris discovered blood on the window. A video was shown of the whole apartment, including graphic pictures of Janas Long’s body.
Blount County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Clyde Ingle testified that he was among the first deputies, along with Alcoa police officers and detectives, to respond to the Shamrock Motel and Courtyard Apartments, 204 Courtyard Circle, Maryville, to find Jeffrey Long after he was named as a possible suspect in the slaying.
He said the same white Astro van that officers saw in the Rose Music Company near Lakemont Village fit the description of one found in the parking lot near a blue Dumpster in the Courtyard Apartment complex.
Sgt. Rusty Aycocke and Investigator Matt Gilmore, both of the 5th Judicial Drug Task Force and Blount County SWAT team, testified they were tipped off that Jeffrey Long lived in the Courtyard Apartments, and they found him in his apartment covered in blood and profusely bleeding from his left arm.
“It was very obvious that he was in medical distress,” Aycocke said. “It was clear that there was a substantial amount of blood.”
Gilmore said Jeffrey Long was slumped in a chair and was holding a picture of his estranged wife and had a handwritten note.
“I took 25 (hydrocodones) to overdose,” the note read, among the excerpts. “We both can see the end from here. She will go to heaven and I will go to hell. You should not have let the order of protection (stand) when I did nothing wrong. It is not fair to keep someone away.”
The trial is to resume at 9 a.m. today before Judge David Duggan.