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Longo Trial
Longo trial in Oregon

 

http://www.mlive.com/news/aanews/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?/base/news-3/1048866110290300.xml

Longo describes rejection

Man charged in killings says months leading up to wife and children's deaths were stressful

Friday, March 28, 2003

BY BRAD CAIN
The Associated Press


NEWPORT, Ore. - In his second day of testimony Thursday, accused family killer Christian Longo described the months leading up to his wife and children's deaths as stressful ones full of rejection and financial instability.

Longo, already on probation for passing $30,000 in bad checks in Washtenaw County, owed his father another $100,000 and had been "shunned" - or excommunicated - by the Jehovah's Witness church.

His wife, MaryJane, was embarrassed to leave the house because she saw friends who knew of the couple's financial and legal troubles, Longo said. The couple decided to move from Ypsilanti Township to Toledo, Ohio, and start over, he said.

"We were both looking for an escape from what we had happening in Michigan," he said. "We wanted to move away from the religious district we were in."

By moving to Toledo, Longo violated his probation and the family had to live in a warehouse because they had no money, he testified. He also bought a stolen Bobcat - a construction loader - and was questioned by police when they spotted the vehicle parked at the warehouse, he said.

In Toledo, he said, he passed another $10,000 in bad checks.

Longo, 29, has already pleaded guilty to killing MaryJane and his youngest daughter Madison, 2, but has asserted his innocence in the death of his older children Zachery, 4, and Sadie, 3.

The exact date of the slaying is in question after witnesses testified this week to hearing bumping and dragging noises on the night of Dec. 15. In opening statements, Steven Briggs, assistant state attorney general, had said Longo murdered his family on Dec. 16.

Longo stepped down Thursday without shedding any light on who might have killed Zachery and Sadie.

Earlier Thursday, Longo described the months leading up to his family's death as stressful ones full of rejection and financial instability.

He also described an affair he had with his business partner's wife in the spring of 2000. The two discussed divorcing their spouses and getting married until Longo's wife, MaryJane, found out about the affair after discovering e-mails on his computer, he said.

She confronted Longo and said she was going to tell elders at the Jehovah's Witness church, as well as Longo's father, about the affair, Longo testified.

"She wanted everybody to know what a scumbag I had been," he said, adding that he told MaryJane he didn't know if he had ever loved her.

Longo said he eventually ended his affair and reconciled with MaryJane.

Longo first met MaryJane, who grew up in Ann Arbor, when he was 16 and was immediately attracted to her, he said. Because of his faith, however, his parents would not let him date until age 18, he said. He requested permission to date MaryJane one week after his 18th birthday and was denied, he said.

"My parents said I was not ready to date. I chose to move out the next week," he said.

The marriage was almost derailed, Longo said, when he stole $108 from a camera store where he worked to help pay for an engagement ring for MaryJane.

Word of the theft got back to the elders at the Jehovah's Witnesses, but MaryJane "chose to stick it out with me," Longo recalled. "It was the first time I cried in my adult life."

Eventually, Longo worked his way back into the good graces of church elders, he said.

After the murders, Longo was arrested at the Camping Santa Fe beach resort in Tulum, Mexico, two weeks after the slayings. While at the resort, he had partied, snorkeled and befriended a group of vacationers.

 

SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/114465_longo27.shtml

Longo takes the stand in his own defense

Thursday, March 27, 2003

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEWPORT, Ore. -- Christian Longo, accused of killing his wife and three young children, took the stand in his own defense yesterday and emerged as a proud but failed entrepreneur who resorted to stealing a minivan when his family's financial situation grew desperate.

Longo made it plain that money woes and the burdens of raising a family also took a toll on his marriage to MaryJane Longo.

"Some of the passion was gone," Longo said. "We were complacent with each other."

Defense attorney Steve Krasik proceeded slowly, questioning Longo for more than three hours about his strict upbringing as a Jehovah's Witness, his subsequent "shunning" by the church and the beginnings of his marriage. Longo was scheduled to resume testimony today.

Still, the defense team hasn't yet explained Longo's assertion that he is innocent in the slayings of two of his children.

And much of the testimony Krasik elicited seemed to reinforce the prosecution's image of Longo as a self-centered killer who planned the slayings for months so he could pursue a wild lifestyle without the burden of his family.

Longo, 29, has pleaded guilty to killing his wife, 34-year-old MaryJane, and 2-year-old daughter, Madison, around Christmas 2001 and dumping their bodies into shallow waters off the Oregon Coast. He has pleaded not guilty in the deaths of his two older children, 3-year-old Sadie and 4-year-old Zachery.

In his testimony, Longo described his family's increasingly dire circumstances as he struggled to start up a construction-related business in Michigan and he and MaryJane racked up more than $25,000 in credit card debt.

After one of the family's cars was repossessed and another blew an engine, he decided to steal a minivan using a fake driver's license.

© 1998-2003 Seattle Post-Intelligencer

 

 

http://www.mlive.com/news/aanews/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?/base/news-3/1048779626285120.xml

A composed Longo takes stand, tells of restrictions, shunning

Murder defendant says religious rules dominated childhood

Thursday, March 27, 2003

BY BRAD CAIN
The Associated Press


NEWPORT, ORE. - Former Ypsilanti Township businessman Christian Longo took the stand Wednesday in his murder trial and described his strict upbringing as a Jehovah's Witness and his subsequent "shunning" by the church.

Defense attorney Steve Krasik proceeded slowly, questioning Longo for an hour before taking a 10-minute break. Longo gave articulate, matter-of-fact answers and remained composed while questioned.

Longo, 29, has pleaded guilty to killing his wife, 34-year-old MaryJane and 2-year-old daughter, Madison, around Christmastime 2001 and dumping their bodies into shallow waters off the Oregon coast. He has pleaded not guilty in the deaths of his two older children, 3-year-old Sadie and 4-year-old Zachery.

The defense, which began presenting its case Tuesday, did not give an opening argument. Longo's lawyers have not yet explained the deaths of the two older children.

On Wednesday, Longo testified that starting at age 11, he and his brother went door-to-door to share their religion with others. They were not allowed to take part in extracurricular activities, he said.

Longo also told jurors that he first met his wife when he was 16 and felt an attraction to her. Because of his faith, however, his parents would not let him date until age 18, he said.

He requested permission to date MaryJane, who grew up in Ann Arbor, one week after his 18th birthday and was denied, he said.

"My parents said I was not ready to date. I chose to move out the next week," first staying with a friend and then renting an apartment, he said.

Under questioning from Krasik, Longo described how he was excommunicated - or "shunned" - from the Jehovah's Witness faith at age 26. Other church members were not allowed to talk to him, he said.

Krasik also asked if Longo believed people go to a "better place" when they die.

Longo replied: "When someone dies, they are in the common grave. They are asleep until God decides otherwise."

An FBI agent, Daniel Clegg, testified earlier in the trial that Longo confessed to the crimes during an interview as he was being brought back from Mexico, where he was captured several weeks after the slayings. Clegg said Longo said of his family: "I sent them to a better place."

Earlier Wednesday, defense lawyers called two witnesses who attended a party on the first floor of The Landings condominium the same night that police believe Longo killed his family in an apartment one floor above.

The testimony seemed intended to contradict earlier comments from a couple who awoke that same night to loud crashing and dragging noises in the apartment below them, where the Longo family was staying.

Dave Sevigny testified that he attended a party on the first floor that night and shook and bumped a snack machine in the hallway after a bag of popcorn got stuck in the dispenser.

Another partygoer, Stephanie Stokes, said the eight or nine guests at the party were "pretty intoxicated" and loud.

Longo was caught at the Camping Santa Fe beach resort in Tulum, Mexico, where he partied, snorkeled and befriended a group of vacationers two weeks after the slayings.

Prosecutors have tried to paint Longo as a self-centered, cold-blooded killer who planned the killings for months so he could pursue a glamorous lifestyle without the burden of his family. Authorities said he left behind a trail of debts and criminal charges in Washtenaw County, where he had run a home cleaning business.

 

 

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Prosecutor: Longo killed because his family was a hindrance

Associated Press
Mar. 12, 2003 07:20 AM

NEWPORT, Ore. - The prosecution depicted accused family killer Christian Longo as a philandering man who wanted to rid himself of his wife and children because they were a hindrance to his lifestyle and expensive tastes.

It marked the first time the prosecution has offered a motive for the deaths of Longo's wife and children, whose bodies were found in two separate coastal inlets in December, 2001. Longo fled to Mexico after the slayings.

The Longo family moved to the Oregon coast after going broke in Michigan, and Longo worked at a Starbucks coffee counter. But he liked to drive flashy SUVs and considered himself an expert on wines, witnesses testified Tuesday in the second day of the aggravated murder trial.

Longo has admitted to killing his wife, 34-year-old MaryJane, and their daughter, 2-year-old Madison. But he has denied killing the two older children, 4-year-old Zachery and 3-year-old Sadie.

The trial for the deaths of Zachery and Sadie is expected to resume Wednesday at 9 a.m. in Lincoln County Circuit Court.

On Tuesday, the prosecution called witnesses to testify about two periods in Longo's life - 19 months before the murder when he told his wife he was having an affair, and after the murders when Longo was a fugitive partying on a Mexican beach with a German tourist.

"It's the state's theory that the defendant went to Mexico and slept with another woman and had fun. It's extremely relevant to our case. It's the defendant's motive for committing the murders," Steven Briggs, an assistant state attorney general, said in court.

Prosecutors say Longo killed his wife and three children on the night of Dec. 16, 2001 at a Newport condominium where they had been living. Longo fled to Mexico and was captured there on Jan. 13, 2002.

During a flight back to Oregon, Longo confessed the murders to FBI agent Daniel Clegg, saying he sent his family to "a better place," according to Clegg.

Before moving from the Midwest to Oregon, Longo was ousted from the Jehovah's Witnesses because of financial crimes he had committed, court documents show. Clegg said Longo told him he was upset his family could not attend church because he was on the run, and when asked what he meant by a "better place," Longo said life after death.

Briggs contended that the explanations given by Longo to Clegg masked the true motive for the killings.

"What the defendant told agent Clegg is his excuse for the murder. We are not positing that as the motive," Briggs said.

Prosecutors asked Janine Davis, 34, an insurance company employee from Seattle who met Longo while on vacation in Mexico, to testify about Longo's drinking and philandering at a Mexican beach resort in early January.

Longo cuddled with a German girl to keep her warm in the back of a pickup truck on a morning ride to tour some Mayan ruins. The pair later walked together on the beach at sunset, Davis testified.

"He was very easy going, easy to talk to," but didn't want his picture taken, Davis said.

In other testimony, MaryJane Longo's sister, Sally Clark, suggested Longo had an affair back in Michigan in May, 2000, with a woman named Jessica.

At the end of her testimony, Briggs showed Clark pictures of the slain family. Clark broke down and cried when the pictures were placed in front of her.

Using a projector, prosecutors also showed a picture of the body of 4-year-old Zachery. Christian Longo didn't look at the image, choosing instead to stare straight ahead. Joy Longo, Christian's mother, left the courtroom.

 

 

 

 

 

Find this article at:
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0312Longo12-ON.html

Wednesday, March 12, 2003, 12:00 a.m. Pacific

Permission to reprint or copy this article/photo must be obtained from The Seattle Times. Call 206-464-3113 or e-mail resale@seattletimes.com with your request.

Longo prosecutors offer motive

By Andrew Kramer
The Associated Press

NEWPORT, Ore. — Christian Longo murdered his wife and three children in December 2001 because he was tired of them and they were preventing him from living a wilder lifestyle, a prosecutor argued at Longo's trial yesterday.

It was the first time the prosecution has offered a motive for the deaths of Longo's wife and children, whose bodies were found in two separate coastal inlets.

Longo has pleaded guilty in the slayings of his wife, 34-year-old MaryJane, and their daughter, 2-year-old Madison. But he has denied killing the two older children, 4-year-old Zachery and 3-year-old Sadie.

In the second day of the trial for the deaths of Zachery and Sadie, the prosecution depicted Longo as a philandering man who wanted to rid himself of his family because they were a hindrance.

The prosecution called witnesses to testify about two periods in Longo's life — 19 months before the murder when he told his wife he was having an affair, and after the slayings when Longo was a fugitive partying on a Mexican beach with a German tourist.

"It's the state's theory that the defendant went to Mexico and slept with another woman and had fun. It's extremely relevant to our case. It's the defendant's motive for committing the murders," Steven Briggs, an assistant state attorney general, said in court.

Prosecutors say Longo killed his wife and three children on the night of Dec. 16, 2001, at a Newport condominium where they had been living. MaryJane and Madison were both strangled, prosecutors say. Longo's two older children showed signs of asphyxiation, Briggs said, but autopsies could not determine exactly how they died. Asphyxiation could include drowning or smothering.

Longo fled to Mexico and was captured there on Jan. 13, 2002.

During testimony yesterday, FBI agent Daniel Clegg said Longo told him during the flight back to Oregon that he had sent his family to "a better place."

Longo had been ousted from the Jehovah's Witnesses because of financial crimes he had committed in the Midwest.

Clegg said Longo told him he was upset his family could not attend church because he was on the run, and when asked what he meant by a "better place," Longo said life after death. The two talked about the months before the murder. Longo said his exclusion from the church "was very hard on him," Clegg said.

Briggs contended that the explanations given by Longo to Clegg masked the true motive for the killings.

"What the defendant told agent Clegg is his excuse for the murder. We are not positing that as the motive," Briggs said.

MaryJane Longo's sister, Sally Clark, testified yesterday.

In a telephone call in May 2000, she said, MaryJane told her that Longo had confessed to having an affair, that he had "stopped loving her a long time ago," and that MaryJane had ceased being fun after she started having children.

"She was extremely upset," Clark said. "I have never seen MaryJane in that state of mind."

Clark also described how Longo moved his family from a suburban house in Ypsilanti, Mich., to a rundown warehouse in an industrial area in Toledo, Ohio.

She said the family's phones and cellphones were cut off. Clark and other sisters grew concerned and began searching for the Longo family. By then, Longo had fled creditors on a cross-country trip that ended in Newport.

At the end of her testimony, Briggs showed Clark pictures of the slain family. Clark broke down and cried when the pictures were placed in front of her.

Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company

 

 

Prosecutors call Longo a calculating murderer

Former Ypsilanti Twp. man's trial for killings begins in Oregon

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

BY MATT SABO
Newhouse News Service


NEWPORT, ORE. - After leaving work at a local Starbucks at 11 p.m. and returning to his rented bayside condo, Christian Longo sipped wine and snacked on his favorite cheddar cheese before lying down next to his wife, MaryJane, for the last time, an Oregon prosecutor told a jury on Monday.

Longo then placed his hand on her throat and began strangling her, leading to a violent three- or four-minute struggle during which he bloodied her nose as "she fought for her life," Assistant State Attorney General Steve Briggs said in his opening statement.

On the first day in the former Ypsilanti Township man's aggravated murder trial, prosecutors portrayed Longo as a calculating killer who researched the best way to kill his wife and three children at the same time he was reading up on how to change his identity and speak Spanish.

Briggs told the jury that a medical examiner concluded that Longo's 2-year-old daughter, Madison, showed the same signs of asphyxiation as his wife - bruising on her neck and hemorrhaging in her eyelids - which points to strangling. But the deaths of Zachery, 4, and Sadie, 3, were classified as "homicidal asphyxiation," Briggs said, meaning they may have been strangled, suffocated, or drowned.

Longo, 29, faces four counts of aggravated murder in the Dec. 16, 2001, deaths of his son and oldest daughter. Last month, he pleaded guilty to killing his wife,

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