Christopher Long, 30, formerly of Kenberma Street, will serve a minimum of 13 years in prison for his actions last May 14 when he kidnapped his eight-months-pregnant ex-girlfriend at gunpoint from her New Boston home. Long tied her up and drove her around for hours in the back of her vehicle before releasing her in the parking garage at the Elliot Hospital.
Two weeks before he was scheduled to go to trial, Long pleaded guilty in Hillsborough County Superior Court North on Tuesday morning to charges of kidnapping, attempted second-degree assault, criminal threatening (2), burglary and stalking. He will not begin his sentences on these crimes until he completes his current 12-month sentence on unrelated sexual assault convictions.
If Long is paroled after 13 years, he will be on parole for 14 years, with another 12 years of suspended sentences hanging over him. He faces a maximum of 45 years in prison if he fails to maintain good behavior. Upon release, he will have to undergo an evaluation and complete any recommended treatment. He will be barred from any contact with the victim and her immediate family members and he will have to reimburse the Victim Compensation Fund for up to $25,000 in incident-related expenses for the victim, who is still in counseling.
The victim, now 19, told Judge David Garfunkel: "In my mind, a 13-year sentence for him is a 13-year sentence for me." She said the experience changed her from a vibrant, athletic, high academically achieving student on the fast track to medical school into a person who struggles to get out of bed in the morning.
"It's not enough for me to know he's going to be locked up for 13 years," she said. "He is dangerous. He hurts women," she said, and if he gets out after 13 years, she said she will worry about him being near her. "Every single day is beyond difficult," she said. She agreed to the negotiated plea rather than go through a trial, she said, because it was the lesser of two evils.
Long went to the victim's home the morning of May 14, 2012, and accused her of saying bad things about him online. He threatened her with a gun, tied her up and forced her into the back of her own vehicle, tied her hands to her feet and drove through several towns before reaching Manchester, where he stopped several times for cigarette breaks.
Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Michael Valentine said the victim tried for more than four hours to negotiate her release. At one point, Long told her if she didn't stop talking he would put a sock in her mouth and tape it closed. "He was tired of listening to her," said Valentine.
Valentine said she then told him her stomach hurt and she was in pain. Valentine said they were at the Elliot garage when he told her: "He would let her go if she promised not to call police."
While she flagged someone down and was taken into the hospital for treatment, Long fled to an East High Street neighborhood where he had once lived. He went to a neighbor's home, where police located him and began negotiating for his surrender. At one point, Valentine said, he told police: "Don't come in. I'll kill myself." Police were finally successful in getting him to surrender and he was taken into custody.
Valentine said Long's record includes a number of simple assaults, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, drug possession, false swearing and the two sexual assaults for which he is now serving a sentence.
While the victim struggled to maintain her composure when speaking, Valentine said: "She has been one of the strongest victims we have ever seen." He said her concerns about what will happen after Long's release from prison are not unwarranted, but the extra conditions of the sentence hopefully will keep her safe.
Garfunkel said if Long had gone to trial the sentences might have been longer, but he does face significant time if he gets into any trouble.
"The system can never give you back your life," said Garfunkel. "The system can deliver punishment, but it can't deliver peace to you."