• Family remembers murdered woman, awaits trial

    By: Tina Terry


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Sonia Long was murdered five years ago this month, but her family members are still looking for justice. Thursday they held a vigil for Long. Police said her estranged husband murdered her in 2007.

    Family members said they wanted to make sure his trial moves forward.

    "What he did was ... I don't even have words for what he did to my sister," said Long's sister, Contressa Walker.

    In August 2007, police found Long's body on the living room floor of her estranged husband's east Charlotte home.

    A search warrant said Long came to the house with her boyfriend to get her children's birth certificates. The warrant said her ex, Anthony Long, attacked both of them and police caught him trying to drive away from the scene.

    Anthony Long was charged with murder, rape and assault with a deadly weapon. For the past five years he's sat in jail as prosecutors prepare a death penalty case against him.

    "When something happens like that, I think the person who did it needs to be prosecuted right then and there and not wait two or three years after the fact," said Walker.

    Members of the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's office were at Thursday's vigil. They said their office is being more aggressive about scheduling homicide cases. They also said it takes longer for death penalty cases to go to trial.

    "In death penalty cases everything takes longer," said homicide supervisor Bill Stetzer. "... everything gets looked at just a little bit harder because the stakes are so high."

    Anthony Long's trial is slated to start in October. Two other death penalty cases were also scheduled for this year. To show just how rare that is, in the past 10 years, the Mecklenburg County DA's office has tried only four death penalty cases.

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