Iberia

Mar 23, 2011 7:04 PM by Carolyn Cerda

Long Murder Suspect Sentenced

Melissa Long is finding some closure after the youngest of three suspects in the murder of her father, Sidney Long, is sentenced. Akeem Evans entered a plea deal Tuesday. He plead to manslaughter instead of first degree murder. He was sentenced to 40 years hard labor.

But, Melissa and her family were seeking life in prison. So, why did they agree to the deal?

"The option we chose yesterday was the best for all three to get the fullest extent of justice possible," said Melissa Long. "There's never enough justice. I truly believe that the justice system is broken, with the amount of rights that the accused have."

After the murder back in May of 2008, Long says she wanted all three men to get the death penalty. Along with Evans, Rickey Paul and Easton Francisco are also charged with connection to the murder. But, neither will face the death penalty. Paul is charged with accessory after the fact to first degree murder. And, although Francisco is charged with first degree murder, he was declared mildly mentally retarded.

Long says Evans offered an apology for his part in the crime.

"It still didn't change the fact that he took something so precious," said Long. "I can not forgive. I know I'm suppose to but I can not at this time."

Long says even though she doesn't believe that the punishment quite fits the crime, she does believe that justice has and will be served.

"It's the beginning of closure for us," said Long. "Even if it wasn't the justice we wanted, it's still better than nothing."

After nearly three years of dealing with the justice system, Long says she is grateful for Iberia Parish prosecutors. She says the process to get to this point has been long and hard. After the other trials are over, Long hopes to help families of other victims to get through their process.

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