Trial date set for Hopewell murder suspect

Donald Long
Donald Long

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) – New information in the case of a man charged with murdering his wife more than forty years ago.

During a hearing for 77-year-old Donald Long, prosecutors released a report outlining the results of a DNA test on what's believed to be the murder weapon.

The victim was strangled to death. A cord is the suspected murder weapon. According to that report, released Wednesday morning, Long's DNA was not found on that cord.

Long walked into a Hopewell courtroom with shackles on his ankles and a smile on his face. During the hearing he blew kisses to his daughter and wife. The women made the trip from the west coast to support Long.

"It was good to see him in person, yes. First time since August 13th." (Nicole Bell: how did he look to you?) "He didn't look good -- he didn't look good," said Long's current wife, Beverly.

In August, Long was arrested near his Las Vegas home and charged with first degree murder. The victim is his former wife, Naomi Long.

"Don Long wants a speedy trial. He wants a speedy resolution to this issue. He's confident he'll be found not guilty. Then he'll get to go back with his family. He wants that day to come as soon as possible," said Lloyd Snook, attorney for Long.

Police say the crime happened in 1964 at what used to be the City Point Inn apartments in Hopewell. The victim's brother and nephew had no comment on the case. Neither did prosecutors.

Long's attorney had plenty to say. He wants the judge to toss out an incriminating statement his client allegedly made about the crime to another woman.

"If the judge rules against us on the admissibility of the statement entirely we're going to have a major battle over whether her testimony is reliable," said Snook.

He's also asking the judge to force prosecutors to release information about its case that it normally would not have to share.

"Nobody knows who the witnesses are. The commonwealth at least has their names. We want their names at least so we can start trying to track them down," said Snook.

If convicted Long could spend the rest of his life behind bars. The judge set a December 8th date to rule on the defense's requests -- including the one to throw out that alleged incriminating statement.

Long's trial is set for January. He's currently being held at Riverside Regional Jail.

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