A psychiatrist told jurors on Monday that Anthony Long was in a heightened emotional state and unable to make rational decisions in the days leading up to his wife’s strangulation in 2007.
Forensic psychiatrist Moira Artigues was one of two witnesses called by Anthony Long’s defense attorney on Monday. Earlier, the defendant told Judge C. Edward Thomas that he would not take the stand in his defense.
Closing arguments are expected Tuesday morning, then the case will likely go to the jury, which has heard three days of testimony.
Anthony Long is charged with first-degree murder in Sonia Long’s killing. If convicted, he would face life in prison.
In presenting the case against Long last week, Assistant District Attorney Clayton Jones called Sonia Long’s killing “a real-life human tragedy.”
The Longs met in 1998, and within a few months, they had moved in together. They soon began having problems and separated several times. When Sonia became pregnant, they married in June 2000. Their daughter was born in September, and a second daughter in November 2001.
In interviews from jail, Anthony Long has told the Observer they lived apart more than they lived together.
The relationship disintegrated, and Sonia Long got pregnant by another man, Roderick Phillips.
In August 2007 she sought a restraining order and moved to a battered-women’s shelter just days before she was killed, Jones said.
Phillips and Long came in contact with her estranged husband because she had a lead on a new apartment and needed to get her children’s birth certificates and Social Security cards to complete the application.
Anthony Long took the day off from his job in construction on that day, and Sonia Long and Phillips sat in the driveway debating whether she should go inside his house.
Finally she decided to go in, and Phillips waited outside with their newborn baby, Daniel. They feared the new boyfriend’s presence would spark a confrontation.
Phillips told jurors Anthony Long lured him inside the east Charlotte house about 45 minutes later, saying Sonia Long had had an asthma attack and needed help. Inside the house, Phillips says he was stabbed by Anthony Long before ultimately escaping with Daniel.
Police officers later found Sonia Long strangled just inside the front door, Jones said. Long is also accused of raping her.
As the trial continued Monday morning, more than a dozen members of Sonia Long’s family filled two rows of the courtroom on the fifth floor of the Mecklenburg courthouse. Long’s sister, who has adopted the couple’s daughters, has also attended every day of the trial.
Anthony Long’s attorney, Alec Carpenter, has said his 40-year-old client’s “diminished (mental) capacity” kept him from understanding that his actions were criminal.
Artigues, the psychiatrist, had interviewed Long six times, starting just months after the killing. She said Long had post-traumatic stress disorder from abuse that started when he was a child. Artigues also criticized the treatment Long received at Carolinas Medical Center-Randolph as inadequate.
“This is really lousy treatment,” she said. “There’s no psychotherapy. It’s just medicating him at intervals, which is no way to treat the mentally ill.”
But during cross-examination, Jones, the prosecutor, asked Artigues if she included all the facts in her analysis of Long’s mental state.
“You seem to be very selective in these mental health reports about what you believe is reliable or what you believe isn’t reliable,” he said at one point.
Jones said Artigues omitted a previous incident in which Long bought a gun and drove to a home where his estranged wife was staying, planning to kill her, their children, her new boyfriend and himself. No one was at the home when he arrived, so he drove to a truck stop where he drank alcohol and “broke down” in the back of his van, according to a document read in court.
“That wasn’t in your report,” Jones told Artigues. “Is it because you did not think it was important?”
In her testimony, Artigues told jurors that Long had been placed in nearly 20 foster homes as a child. When he was in his biological mother’s custody, she’d physically abuse him, tying him to a bed and beating him with belts and an electrical cord.
At one point, Artigues testified, “Tony’s mother actually pimped him out to some male friends. There’s at least one rape in his past as well.”
He began experimenting with alcohol at age 8, and also abused cocaine, she testified.
Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson
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