John William Long gets chance at new appeal in murder case

A Cincinnati man who has spent more than 16 years in prison, despite evidence pointing to another man with the same name, may have a chance at a new trial.

For several months in 2003, Cincinnati police were focusing on a suspect named John E. Long in the fatal stabbing of a woman who was a prostitute.

A witness who told police she saw the killer that night running from the area, a man she recognized, later picked out John E. Long from a photo lineup.

A police “Investigative Log” showed that four months after the August 2003 killing prosecutors had been poised to charge that man with murder. 

But other evidence then led investigators to focus on John William Long, who ultimately was convicted of murder. He has maintained his innocence and filed numerous appeals, which until recently were unsuccessful.

John William Long

In an Aug. 18 opinion, Ohio’s 1st District Court of Appeals said Long should be allowed to file a motion for a new trial based on new evidence. A lower court had denied Long's request to file the motion.

The new evidence includes the investigative log, which Long finally received in 2019 after a court battle over his public records request to obtain his entire case file. He said jurors in his trial were never told that a witness had picked out a different man, John E. Long, from a photo lineup.

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