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Investigator: Hartselle woman used kitchen knives to kill son, stab father

By Eric Fleischauer  

A Hartselle woman pushed a kitchen knife all the way through her 8-year-old son’s chest, killing him, and attacked her father with multiple kitchen knives, according to testimony Monday by a Morgan County sheriff’s investigator. 

Jennifer Nicole Long, 41, is charged with capital murder in the March 16 stabbing death of her son and is also accused of stabbing her 69-year-old father Charles Ronald Long. After Monday’s preliminary hearing, District Judge Brent Craig found probable cause and bound the case over to the grand jury. 

The only witness called at the hearing was sheriff’s Investigator Caleb Brooks. Direct examination was by District Attorney Scott Anderson and cross-examination by defense lawyer John Brinkley. 

Brooks said three people — Jennifer Long, her son and her father — were in Charles Long’s house at 94 Colony Lane in Hartselle at the time of the stabbings. Tyler had lived at the Colony Lane house for most of his life and had his own bedroom there, but had been sleeping with his grandparents in the upstairs master bedroom while Jennifer Long was temporarily staying in the child’s bedroom. 

Brooks read a statement taken the day of the stabbings from Charles Long. 

According to the statement, Charles Long was watching TV in the downstairs of the house at about 5:30 a.m., after his wife had already left for work. His daughter came into the kitchen and he asked how she was doing. 

“She asked me, ‘Why?’ And I told her because you weren’t feeling well yesterday. And she said, ‘Why wasn’t I feeling well?’ I said because you were crying a lot and acting different. And she just said, ‘OK,’” according to the statement. 

Jennifer Long then went back upstairs, according to the statement read by Brooks. 

“Moments later, I heard a scream and then I went upstairs and saw her coming out of her son Tyler’s room and she was holding a kitchen knife in her right hand. It looked like she had cut herself on the left hand. I said, ‘Jennifer, what did you do?’” according to the statement. 

Jennifer Long responded that she had cut herself, although Brooks later testified she had no injuries when arrested. 

“Then she looked at me,” according to Charles Long’s statement, “and started walking toward me and started swinging at me with the knife and said something to the effect of, ‘Now I’m going to get you.’” 

Charles Long was able to fight her off and he then ran downstairs and tried to find his cellphone to call for help but was unable to find it, according to the statement. 

“Then she came from the kitchen and had two or three more knives in her hands and came swinging at me again,” according to the statement. “I was fighting her off in the hallway and ended up in the bathroom. I was able to knock away one knife and kept fighting her off. I felt air coming out of my shoulder.” 

Brooks said the man had multiple stab wounds, including a deep puncture wound at a downward angle into his left shoulder. 

According to Brooks, Charles Long then ran across his yard to a neighbor’s house on Village Drive for help. One resident called 911 and the caller’s wife, a medical doctor, began administering first aid. 

Deputies responded at the Village Drive house, where Brooks said Charles Long “advised the deputies that his daughter Jennifer Long had stabbed him and that she was still in the house at 94 Colony Lane and that his 8-year-old grandson was also in the house.” 

Deputies then entered the Colony Lane house, where they found Jennifer Long carrying a vape pen — a lighter was later found on the steps — and coming down the stairs, Brooks testified. 

“They asked Ms. Long where the little boy was at and Ms. Long replied, ‘The little boy is dead.’ … Deputies then went upstairs and began clearing the bedrooms and ultimately found the juvenile victim. He was deceased. He had two stab wounds in the chest,” Brooks said. 

Brooks said the knife blade was still in the boy’s chest. 

“Was one of the stab wounds all the way through?” Anderson asked Brooks. “Yes sir,” Brooks responded. 

Brooks said there was blood on the sheets, in the mattress and on the wall of the master bedroom, where the boy was found. He said there also was blood on the stairs, in the downstairs hallway and in the first-floor guest bathroom, where some of the altercation between Jennifer Long and Charles Long took place. 

Brooks said deputies found five knives that appeared to be used in the attack. 

During cross-examination, the defense attorney focused on Jennifer Long’s mental condition when deputies arrived. 

“Was she exhibiting signs of mental illness?” Brinkley asked. “Not that I can recall,” Brooks responded, although he said he first spoke with her several hours after the stabbings. 

Wearing striped black and white jail garb when she was escorted into court, Jennifer Long was in tears and her face was contorted. 

The judge rendered his ruling immediately after the testimony was complete. 

“I do find that there is probable cause and the next phase is this will be presented to the grand jury,” he said. 

After the hearing, Anderson said he did not know if the defense would claim Jennifer Long was not guilty by reason of mental defect. 

“That will be up to the defendant and her defense team as to whether they’re going to pursue that defense. Of course if they do we’ll be prepared to rebut it with any evidence we have,” he said. 

Jennifer Long in August 2021 was charged with possession of methamphetamine which Hartselle police officers said they found while responding to a domestic disturbance call. She was released on a $1,000 bond three days after her arrest. She was indicted on the charge in September and had been scheduled to go to trial May 1, but the scheduled trial date was canceled after her arrest for capital murder. 

In March 2022, Jennifer Long was charged by the Sheriff’s Office with public intoxication. According to an affidavit by a sheriff’s deputy, Long was knocking on doors on Bethel Circle, which is within a block of Colony Lane, asking people for help. The deputy in an affidavit wrote that Long “appeared to be under the influence and was very paranoid” and told the deputy “her parents would not let her leave the house.” 

Anderson said any previous problems that Jennifer Long had demonstrated provided no clue as to her behavior on March 16. 

“She wasn’t on the radar for anything of this nature,” he said. 


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