Maryville man sentenced in slaying of estranged wife
By J.J. Kindred | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A Maryville man convicted of murdering his estranged wife in 2009 was sentenced to life in prison by Judge David Duggan Monday in Blount County Circuit Court.
Jeffrey Scott Long, 51, was sentenced for premeditated first-degree murder and felony first-degree murder, in which both charges were merged. He will be eligible for parole after he serves at least 51 years, according to Duggan.
Long was also sentenced to six years in prison for aggravated burglary and reckless aggravated assault, both Class C felonies and each carrying a $10,000 fine. The sentences will be served concurrently.
Long, dressed in his prison scrubs, listened to the sentence without emotion. His attorney, George Maifair, made a last-minute motion for specific details in the investigation to be inadmissible because it was based on hearsay, but Duggan rejected it.
Alcoa Detective Kris Sanders, the lead investigator on the murder case, briefly testified and reiterated the four-hour interview that he conducted with Long at the time of his arrest, with Long telling him that he killed his wife, 57-year-old Janas Long, in self-defense.
Sanders said Long told him his wife said, ‘I could kill you and there’s not a (darn) thing you could do about it.’ From there, Long and his wife allegedly had a struggle, and that’s when Long claimed he grabbed the knife from his wife and started hitting her with a hammer.
Long said his wife was still alive when he attempted to leave her apartment out of the back window in her bedroom.
Victim’s family speaks
Kyle Whitaker, a spokesman for Janas Long’s family, read a statement in front of Duggan, encouraging him to give Jeffrey Long the maximum sentence allowable by the state, and asked for no parole options.
“Each of the family members as you see here today, if you remember, were here for the trial,” Whitaker said. “We stayed in hotels and most of us came from Bristol and took time off from work. We wanted to be here for Jan. Some family members weren’t able to sit through all the trial because of the gruesomeness that was show in the images that were brought forth. I was the only family member who sat through it all.
“I can’t come up with the words to describe what I witnessed,” Whitaker continued. “I don’t even have the words to describe how it impacted our family. I don’t understand how Scott could have been so selfish and cruel. It’s impacted us in more ways than I could ever tell, and it will impact us for the rest of our lives. “On top of that, we will miss Jan. She was a lovable family member. During the holiday season, we will sit around, and Jan’s seat is going to be empty. When we see who’s coming through the door, it will not be Jan. She was taken away from us, your honor.”
Long was convicted in August for murdering Janas Long in the Lakemont Village Apartment complex on Cerritos Way off Alcoa Highway on Sept. 10, 2009.
On the night of the murder, a maintenance worker at the Lakemont Village apartment complex, James Eisele, made the first phone call to 911 at about 10:11 p.m. He reported seeing Jeffrey Long walking toward the complex after apparently leaving a van parked at Rose Music Company nearby.
Eisele knew Jeffrey Long from when he lived there with his wife before being evicted. He called police for a welfare check on Janas Long because he knew about an order of protection that was filed against Jeffrey Long.
Alcoa police officers, including Sanders, arrived on the scene, and after speaking with Eisele and his girlfriend for about three minutes, an officer knocked on Janas Long’s door to make sure she was safe.
Another officer responded to Rose’s Music Company and found the van. About five minutes after first knocking on the door, officers decided they needed to get into the apartment.
After calling backup, the initial officer and an Alcoa police sergeant entered the apartment at 10:36 p.m., while another sergeant watched a back window. Just one minute before they entered, the maintenance worker told them that the van parked at Rose’s Music Company had disappeared.
When the door was opened, Janas Long was found on the floor lying between the refrigerator and stove in a pool of blood, unresponsive and seemingly beaten to death.
Long was later found in his apartment covered in blood and profusely bleeding from his left arm, lumped in a chair and holding a picture of Janas Long. Police said he had a handwritten note that indicated he was suicidal.
Long surrendered, was arrested and taken to Blount Memorial Hospital for treatment of the wounds to his arm.
Long was formally charged Sept. 11, 2009, with his wife’s murder.