Jury: Guilty on lesser charge

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Covington County jury on Wednesday took less than an hour to find Jackie Long not guilty of attempted murder, but guilty of the lesser-included offense of first-degree assault, as well as guilty in the charges of burglary first-degree and robbery first-degree.

Long, 55, was accused of the crimes after an alleged home invasion that occurred shortly after daylight on Dec. 31, 2005, at a Wing residence in which Henry Jordan, 61, was assaulted.

Long was indicted last year by a Covington County grand jury for the alleged home invasion in which he was accused of attempting to steal prescription medication and brutally beating Jordan.

Long admitted on the stand that he went to the Jordan residence that morning to purchase prescription pills, and that eventually an argument ensued over where Jordan had obtained the pills.

He also testified that Jordan pulled a gun on him and shot, and that’s when the assault began.

Monday, Jordan’s wife and youngest son, David, testified that his eye was out of its socket, he had a large gash above his eye, and he had blood coming out of is nose and ears.

The family testified that they didn’t know Long.

Sylvia Jordan said she thought he may have come with a man with whom her husband had traded pills for a new deck.

“The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office reached out to a member of our Cold Case Task Force back in 2013, and that is how this case got on the radar,” District Attorney Walt Merrell stated in a press release.

Merrell said investigators with the Cold Case Task Force took what “amounted to a partial confession and worked the crime backwards.”

“They did a phenomenal job, considering that, in the beginning, we had to investigate to try and figure out who the victim was because Mr. Long never called the victim by name when speaking to the informant,” Merrell said.

Long will be sentenced on Jan. 14, by Circuit Judge Lex Short, who presided over the three-day trial.

Merrell called Long “perhaps the most dangerous individual I have ever dealt with.”

Assault in the first degree is classified as a Class B felony; burglary in the first degree is a Class A felony; and robbery in the first degree is a Class A felony.

A Class A felony carries a sentence life or not more than 99 years, but not less than 10 years, and a Class B felony carries not more than 20 years but not less than two years.

“I absolutely intend to ask the judge to give Mr. Long consecutive life sentences, given his criminal history and the heinousness of this crime,” Merrell said.

After Long’s sentencing, the state of Florida will seek to extradite him and try him for the capital murder of Buddy Phelps, a Niceville businessman.