Ronnie Long Set Free After 44 Years In Prison
CHARLOTTE, NC – Freedom after 44 years for Ronnie Long. The 63 year old concord man had his conviction overturned this week. Dozens of people were there to greet him as we walked through the Albemarle prison gates.
“They will never ever. Never ever ever lock me up again,” said Long, wearing a black suit with a red vest and tie.
Long gave a wave to a crowd of dozens of supporters. He was treated like a celebrity by friends and family as he left the Albemarle Correctional Institute in Stanley County just after 5:00 Thursday evening.
“You know Ronnie has missed out on his whole entire life so we’ve got to get him back to living life,” said Ashleigh Long, Ronnie’s wife.
An all white jury convicted Long of a brutal burglary and rape of a wealthy Concord woman in April of 1976 based mostly on the victim’s eyewitness account.
Earlier this week, A federal appeals court ruled that Long’s due process rights were violated during his trial. And ordered his release.
“Don’t give up. Always believe that you can overcome,” said Long.
Long says his faith and support from family helped him through the decades behind bars.
He says while he has no hard feelings. He says he is disappointed in the judicial system and he encourages others to call out injustice.
“Hopefully. Hopefully incidents like this can be avoided,” said Long.
With a new lease on life, Ronnie Long says he is ready for time with family, friends, and of course, good food.
“Macaroni and cheese, beef ribs, a salad, and some lemonade,” said Long when asked what his first meal would be.
Long did get emotional at one point saying that he wished his mother could have been there today to see him walk free. She passed away in late July.