An Iowa man strangled and violated the corpse of the man who helped him with odd jobs. A judge recently ordered that he spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Judge Mark Fowler handed Charlie Gary, 20, a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the strangulation death of Robert Long. Gary was found guilty and convicted by a jury for first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery and abuse of a corpse.
On Jan. 3, 2020, Gary approached Long at his home and requested if he wanted his driveway shoveled. When Long declined, the defendant pushed his way into the victim’s home and strangled him. Next, Gary violated Long’s corpse, stole his car, television, laptop and cellphone.
The victim’s son, Nathan Long, found Long’s body at the residence four days later. The family had been worried after his father had not returned phone calls, which was not in his character.Deputies arrested Gary while driving Long’s car the day after the remains were found. Investigators discovered the stolen items from the victim’s home had already been pawned by the defendant.
"(Gary) took away from our family a person that cannot be replaced. I miss my dad. The loss I feel is only intensified by how he died," Christine Palmer, Long's daughter said during a victim impact statement, according to Quad City Times.
During the one-week trial, Gary’s defense lawyer Scott Kamin argued his client was a prostitute who had engaged in a sex act with the 74-year-old Long when he died. As a result, Gary took the items from the house as a form of payment.In addition, Kamin argued prosecutorial misconduct, asserting the state had used some pieces of evidence during the trial that was irrelevant to the case. Hence, he filed a motion for a new trial. The request was denied.
In a rebuttal, Assistant County Attorney Amy Devine claimed all the evidence submitted to the court was utilized to establish the timeline of events on the day of the homicide.
Fowler emphasized how important it was for the court to acknowledge the horrific nature of the crime committed.
Gary was sentenced to 25 years each for the burglary and robbery charges, and he received five years for the abuse of a corpse. In addition, the defendant was ordered to pay $150,000 restitution to the victim’s estate.