Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed his first death warrant, with an execution scheduled May 23 for Tampa-area serial killer Robert Joseph Long, according to documents posted on the Florida Supreme Court website. Long was sentenced to death in the May 1984 murder of Michelle Simms after picking her up on Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa.
In 1985, Long also pleaded guilty to seven additional first-degree murder charges and numerous charges for sexual batteries and kidnappings, according to a letter sent last month from Attorney General Ashley Moody to DeSantis about Long’s eligibility for execution. Long, now 65, is serving multiple life sentences, along with the death sentence, at Union Correctional Institution. The state Department of Corrections website indicates all eight murders occurred in 1984 in Hillsborough County, though he also has convictions on other charges from Pinellas and Pasco counties.