Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Trials of Christian Longo

The Verdict

On April 7, 2003, an eight-woman, four-man jury deliberated only four hours and 20 minutes before finding him guilty of murdering Zachery and Sadie.

With this verdict, the jury had three options for sentencing: They could sentence him to death by lethal injection; life imprisonmenta so-called "true-life" sentence; or life in prison with the possibility of parole in 30 years.

On April 16, the same jury, after deliberating only six and a half hours, sentenced him to death by lethal injection.

Minutes later, Longo addressed the packed courtroom to publicly condemn his acts and say that he expected no forgiveness.

"They deserved the best, and that's something I didn't provide," he said. "I was the one, in fact, they needed protection from."

Journalist Michael Finkel established and carried on an astonishing year-long relationship with Longo after his arrest. At first intrigued by Longo's choice of his identity to usurp, the two fell into weekly telephone conversations and over a thousand pages of shared correspondence, in which Longo serves up several different post-verdict versions of who killed whom and when. One of these is a full confession of throwing the two children, still alive, off the Lint Slough bridge.

According to Michael Finkel, Longo carries horrible memories that haunt him still.

Christian Longo in court
Christian Longo in court

During his emotional post-sentencing statement, Longo said he did not fathom the enormity of his crime until he'd been jailed in Newport. While there, he saw newspapers and photos of the makeshift memorial that appeared on the bridge over Lint Slough.

"Up until then," he said, his chin trembling, "I was feeling an amazing amount of self-pity." 

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