Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man gets 40 years in prison for Oldsmar kidnapping that led to death

LARGO — Abandoned by his family, Abdusbasiyr Blake spent most of his teenage years living in a group foster home.

He'll likely spend most of his adult years behind bars.

Blake, 20, was sentenced Friday to 40 years in prison on convictions of second-degree murder and kidnapping.

Blake was 18 years old when he and two other teenagers forced a man into a car at gunpoint in Oldsmar in September 2008.

The three teens — Blake, Javon Strange and Juan Carlos Morales — kidnapped Gregory Longley because they believed he could lead them to another man they were looking for in a dispute over missing coins, authorities said.

Their plan went awry when Longley grabbed a loaded gun from Strange's lap and shot him in the head.

Strange, 18, died at the scene. Morales was injured when Longley shot him, too. Longley acted in self-defense and was not charged, authorities said.

The State Attorney's Office charged Blake and Morales with second-degree murder under a Florida law that says a person who commits a felony crime bears responsibility if another person dies during the commission of the crime.

In a separate trial in July, Morales, now 19, was convicted of kidnapping, but acquitted of murder. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

On Friday, Blake's court-appointed attorney, Cynthia Bryant, asked Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Philip Federico to consider sentencing Blake as a youthful offender.

According to the director of the foster home, Blake was a "responsible and well-behaved" teenager who earned his GED and had registered for college before he timed out of the foster care program.

Blake never intended for anyone to die and instead got caught up in a situation that spiralled out of control the night of Sept. 7, 2008, Bryant said.

Bryant also pointed to comments Longley made to the St. Petersburg Times at Blake's October trial, in which he said he did not think that Blake should have been charged with murder.

"He (Blake) didn't kill anyone," Longley said then.

But Federico said Blake needed to be held accountable for his participation in the kidnapping, which ultimately led to Strange's death. And a lack of familial support does not excuse the crimes, Federico said.

"People are still responsible for their actions," he said. "They have choices to make."

"The world is a safer place" with both Blake and Morales off the street, Federico said.

"I think that the judge imposed justice in this case," said assistant state attorney Jeremiah Allen. "It's obviously been a long haul to prosecute these two individuals … and we're very happy and pleased with the outcome."

Bryant called the case tragic.

"We were hoping for more leniency, but in light of (Morales') sentence, we're glad it wasn't life," Bryant said.

There were no family members in the courtroom for Blake or Strange.

But a friend of Blake's spoke briefly on his behalf.

Ashley Pedata, 21, said Blake was a good person with a "big heart."

It's sad, she said after the verdict, that a young man who never pulled the trigger will spend most of his life in prison.

"He's just going to come out knowing how to be an inmate," she said.

Rita Farlow can be reached at or (727) 445-4157.

Man gets 40 years in prison for Oldsmar kidnapping that led to death 12/03/10 [Last modified: Friday, December 3, 2010 7:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Nearly 1 in 4 Tampa Bay homeowners considered equity rich

    Real Estate

    If your home is worth at least 50 percent more than you owe, you're rich — equity rich that is.

    About one in four Tampa Bay homeowners are considered "equity rich." [Associated Press file photo]
  2. Trump strategist Steve Bannon: No military solution in North Korea


    BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon says there's no military solution to the threat posed by North Korea and its nuclear ambitions, despite the president's recent pledge to answer further aggression with "fire and fury."

    Steve Bannon, chief White House strategist to President Donald Trump, has drawn fire from some of Trump's closest advisers. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays have their chances, but end up with another loss (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The litany of games the Rays have given away this season is long enough, arguably too lengthy. So the only way to get to the postseason is make up for some of those losses by grabbing some wins when the opportunity is presented, especially at this time of year when the margin is diminished and the stakes …

    Associated Press
  4. Dunedin man accused of possessing child pornography


    DUNEDIN — A 57-year-old man was arrested Wednesday, accused of intentionally downloading child pornography, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.

    Richard Beal Anger, 57, of Dunedin faces 11 counts of possession of child pornography. [Courtesy of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Pence cuts short Latin America trip and pressures Chile to sever all ties to North Korea


    SANTIAGO, Chile — Vice President Mike Pence is cutting short his Latin America trip by one day to return to Washington for a strategy meeting Friday at Camp David with President Donald Trump and the national security team.

    Vice President Mike Pence urged Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to take a tougher stand against North Korea on Wednesday in Santiago, Chile.