TAMPA — The serial killer Bobby Joe Long will return to a Tampa courtroom Friday, but he's not happy about it.
A judge Wednesday granted a request from Long's defense for a hearing on whether the state's lethal-injection drugs might cause him unnecessary pain. Long can attend the hearing in person. But he told Circuit Judge Michelle Sisco via phone Wednesday that he wants to skip the process of traveling from his death watch cell at Florida State Prison to the courtroom and back.
"I do not want to go through that torture for 24 hours," Long said.
Long, 65, murdered at least eight women in the Tampa Bay area in the 1980s. He faces death for the killing of Michelle Denise Simms, a former beauty contestant who body was found tied up, with her throat cut, near Plant City in May 1984.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a death warrant last week, setting Long's execution for May 23.
In court, Long's attorneys have said he suffers from epilepsy and the effects of a brain injury from an accident in his youth. They have expressed concern that the drugs used to execute him might cause him to have a seizure or other problems.
A hearing to address the issue is set for Friday. Long, on the advice of his attorney, said he would be there. But he described what he said is a punishing process to get him there and back safely.
He said he would be handcuffed and placed in leg irons with a chain around his waist. He said a black box would be attached to the waist chain and affixed over the handcuffs, then pulled tightly against his belly, limiting his movement. He said he would also be made to wear a "shock box."
"Those chains and all of that would stay on me for however many hours I'm gone until I get back here," Long said. "And that's torture."
"I've been tortured so much, judge, since I've been arrested, at various county jails, the Department of Corrections, just things that you probably wouldn't believe if I told you have been done to me."
Judge Sisco acknowledged Long's concerns, but said law enforcement could do what was necessary to ensure his safety and that of the community at large.
Contact Dan Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TimesDan.