Twenty years ago on this date, September 2, 1994, 29-year-old Sandra Lee Long was murdered by Brian Steckel. He was executed by lethal injection in Delaware on November 4, 2005. Let us hear from the loved ones of Sandra Lee Long and do not forget her.
Summary: Steckel met 29 year old Sandra Lee Long approximately one week before her murder. Steckel gained access to her apartment by asking to use her telephone. Once inside, he pretended to use the phone, then demanded sexual favors. When she refused, Steckel beat her and threw her onto a couch. During the struggle, Sandra, bit Steckel’s finger causing it to bleed. Steckel then strangled her with a pair of nylons then a sock, causing her to lose consciousness. Steckel then sexually assaulted her, first using a screw-driver he brought with him, and then by raping her anally. He then dragged her to the bedroom and set the bed on fire, then fled the scene. Later the same day, the News Journal received an anonymous phone call from a male who identified himself as the “Driftwood Killer.” The man named his next victim by name. The News 4 Journal contacted the police, and the police brought the woman into protective custody. The woman had previously reported to the police that she had been receiving harassing phone calls with a “very lurid, very sexual” content. The authorities had traced these calls to Steckel. Steckel was arrested in connection with an outstanding harassment warrant for the phone calls to the woman. During the interview, Steckel confessed in detail to his crimes against Sandra Long, as well as other murders.Although some portions of Steckel’s confession lacked credibility, many of the details were confirmed by subsequent investigation by the police, including the autopsy of Sandra, the fire department’s discovery of the points of origin of the fire, DNA testing of blood found on Sandra’s apartment door, which matched Steckel, and the discovery of the nylons, lighter and screwdriver used in the attack. During his trial, Steckel sent a copy of Sandra Long's autopsy to her mother, writing "Read it and weep. She's gone forever. Don't cry over burnt flesh."
QUOTE 1: Long’s mother, Virginia Thomas, who witnessed the execution spoke briefly afterward to thank prosecutors, police and the courts for their assistance during this “terrible nightmare.” “Now, hopefully, we will have some peace and closure.”
QUOTE 2: Bells rang outside the Smryna prison in protest of the court-ordered execution of Brian Steckel. "I don't think it's a process that contributes to healing any of the things or making society safer or healing people's pain," said Kristin Froehlich, who opposes the death penalty.
Just a few feet away were people who felt his death would bring justice, including April Walters. She has no pity for the man who tortured and killed her best friend 11 years ago. "This is justice for all the sick people out there that think they can do whatever they can and that they're God. He wanted to be God that day. He killed her, he took her life, he was trying to be God. He's not God," she said.
QUOTE 3: Across a street from the protesters, in another penned area, a different group carried signs supporting the death penalty. "He's still going to die," Dan Blevins, a friend of Long's family from Boca Raton, Fla., shouted as the bell began to toll.
QUOTE 4: "He's going to hell." Nicholas Long, the victim's stepson, held a sign with Long's photograph. "We're going to get some justice at 12 o'clock," he said. After the execution, Long's relatives planned to gather and celebrate, he said. "It's been 11 years. We need to get justice."