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The county prosecutor said Bill Long Jr. remains dangerous and he agreed with the judge's decision.
Bill Long Jr.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
A Roanoke County judge Thursday denied bond for the man charged in an hours-long standoff with the police in July, citing concerns about community safety.
After weighing testimony presented at the hearing, General District Judge Jacqueline Talevi sent Bill Martin Long Jr. back to the Western Virginia Regional Jail, where the 47-year-old man will await a preliminary hearing scheduled for Sept. 13.
Long faces single counts of felony abduction, use of a firearm in a felony and misdemeanor brandishing of a firearm. The charges stem from a July 16 incident at Long’s house in Hollins, in which the county police have said Long held his wife and a neighbor hostage. Long has been jailed since his arrest.
Offering his own side of the story in testimony Thursday, the neighbor, Greg Elliot, told Talevi that he considers Long a close friend, but remains afraid of what might happen if Long were released.
“I’d never seen him like that,” Elliot said.
He compared Long’s demeanor that day to Jack Nicholson’s character in the movie version of Stephen King’s novel “The Shining” — wild-eyed and quick to curse, all while pointing two guns at him.
Elliot testified that he had noticed a steady decline in Long’s mental stability in the month prior to the standoff, which he said might have been spurred by a change in his medication.
Defense attorney Jeff Dorsey said Long had struggled since his medication had changed, but did not elaborate about what Long needed medication for.
Elliot said he first noticed strange behavior when Long spoke to him about his belief that President Barack Obama could control the weather, and even orchestrated the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy.
More recently, though, Elliot said his friend spoke often about government plots to steal his identity and have him killed.
After his arrest, Long underwent a psychiatric evaluation at Central State Hospital in Petersburg. Talevi said she read the subsequent report, which factored into her decision to deny bond.
Dorsey expressed concern that his client was unable to get his prescribed medication in jail; some drugs were not on the facility’s approved list . Talevi said she would make calls to ensure Long got the attention he needed.
Roanoke County Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Leach said he agreed with the judge’s decision to keep Long incarcerated.
“He remains dangerous,” Leach said. “Him not being on his medications now gives me even more concern.”