A New Jersey man charged with killing his wife, disposing of her body in a swimming pool and then going to grab Applebee’s takeout reportedly accepted a plea deal that would have him serve 15 years in prison.
Norman F. Long was arrested on Aug. 1, 2017 in Woolwich Township, NJ, and charged with killing his wife, 47-year-old Michelle Long, six weeks after her body was found floating in the couple’s pool, according to the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office.
He was accused of “purposely or knowingly” causing her death, “specifically by using physical force to cause blunt head and neck trauma,” according to the prosecutor.
Long, 53, earlier this month pleaded guilty to the amended charge of first-degree aggravated manslaughter, according to a plea agreement viewed by NJ.com. Prosecutors in Gloucester County have recommended that Long be imprisoned for 15 years; he would have to complete 85 percent of the sentence (12 years, nine months) before becoming eligible for parole.
Long was alleged to have gone to Applebee’s and pickup takeout for two in order to create an alibi, according to an Aug. 2017 report from NJ.com. He told emergency dispatchers that he found his wife floating in their pool when he returned home.
Officers said there was evidence that Long tried to clean up the crime scene, with paper towels containing the victim's blood found in the kitchen trash can.
Authorities have said they believe Michelle Long was planning to leave her husband. Her last online search revealed she was looking at homes, they said. A small dog was also found dead at the bottom of the pool, though how it got there hasn't been disclosed.
Defense attorney David Bahuriak Jr. said his client has accepted responsibility and regrets his actions. He called it "the result of a sudden provocation, intoxication and a number of mental health issues all converging in a perfect storm."
"He wishes he could take it back," Bahuriak said Friday. "The best that he can do is accept responsibility and ask for forgiveness."
Sentencing is scheduled for May 3, according to NJ.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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