Crime & Courts

Suspect in Davidson woman’s 2014 death charged with assaulting woman

A man who police said is a suspect – but has not been charged – in the 2014 shooting death of Sarah Long in her Davidson townhome was arrested July 28 on unrelated charges of felony assault by strangulation and misdemeanor assault on a female.

The charges against William Drew Becker, 54, of Davidson, stem from a March 5 domestic-violence incident in Lexington, Davidson police Lt. Steve Ingram said Tuesday.

Becker was arrested in Concord and is free on bail pending an Aug. 30 court appearance in Davidson County, court records show. The case involves a victim other than Becker’s wife, Ingram rw said. It was not clear why several months had elapsed between the incident and Becker’s arrest.

Becker did not reply to a request for comment left on his cell phone by the Observer on Tuesday.

Ingram, who is closely involved in the investigation into Long’s death, said he was present when Becker was arrested and was able to interview him about Long’s death. Becker was Long’s boyfriend, and Ingram said Becker remains a suspect in her killing.

“We’re very close to bringing this to a closure,” Ingram said of the 2014 case.

“There is so much evidence to assemble with this investigation,” Ingram said in explaining the time the investigation has taken. “But at the end of the day, we only get one shot at it.”

Police have never before publicly identified a suspect in Long’s death, which was initially ruled a suicide. Within months, police were treating the July 2014 shooting as a homicide.

Long, 41, was found dead in the bedroom of her home, clutching a .357 Taurus revolver in her left hand, records show. Police said Long was right-handed.

Long died of a single gunshot wound to the left side of her head, Dr. Michael Sullivan, Mecklenburg County’s chief medical examiner at the time, wrote in an autopsy report.

Police Chief Jeanne Miller said later that year detectives had narrowed their investigation to one person. In January of this year, Ingram said Long’s estranged husband, Christopher Daarmond Reeves, “has been excluded as a person of interest.”

Long left a will instructing that all of her assets – nearly $1 million – go to Becker. But Becker and Reeves later signed a consent order allowing Reeves to receive an undisclosed share of Long’s estate, court records show.

In an affidavit, Long’s brother, John Long, said he didn’t believe his sister “would have freely and voluntarily left her assets to Mr. Becker.”

John Long said it’s more likely his sister would have left her assets to their father, given her “expressed desire” to buy the family’s farm in Kentucky.

She intended to buy the farm so their father would no longer have to worry about its upkeep, Long said in the affidavit.

John Long said in court records that his sister struggled with drug addiction for years.

“She would start to get better, then relapse again,” John Long said in his affidavit. “At the time of her death, I believe she was still struggling with addiction.”

Sarah Long had a trial pending on a charge of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, records show. Her autopsy report showed no presence of illegal substances.

The mystery surrounding her death drew national attention, including on the true-crime “Nancy Grace” show on the HLN cable network.

Staff Researcher Maria David contributed.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

Related stories from Charlotte Observer