A Facebook photo of Gedeon Long shared in January.
A Facebook photo of Gedeon Long shared in January.

Gedeon Long, Teen Who Killed Parents at 12, Takes First Step Toward Freedom

At a hearing yesterday, September 7, the public learned for the first time the name of the young man who pleaded guilty in 2011 to killing parents Charles and Marilyn Long and wounding two siblings when he was just twelve years old. He's Gedeon Long, now nineteen, and a judge in Burlington, where the crimes took place, has approved his transfer to what's referred to as a "less secure facility" in advance of his scheduled release from juvenile detention this time next year.

Credit for the scoop goes to 9News, which revealed that the aforementioned hearing was the first involving Gedeon to be open to the public. It's also the first time the station (or any media outlet, to our knowledge) has named Gedeon, who is now legally an adult.

During recent years, however, Gedeon has been hiding in plain sight. He maintains an active Facebook page under the name "Gideon Long," and has posted numerous photos of himself, three of which appear in this post.

As we've reported, the Long family seemed to be a large, loving and deeply religious clan, but with an adventurous spirit. For example, father Charles was a member of a Seventh-Day Adventist prayer group, but also a unicyclist and guitarist whose Facebook page saluted both the Bible and Ted Nugent. His match with his wife, Marilyn, seemed rock solid — and outsiders saw their relationship with their children as ideal.

A Long family photo released to the media, with the children's faces obscured.
A Long family photo released to the media, with the children's faces obscured.
File photo

No wonder authorities were so shocked when they responded to a call from the boy about a shooting. They found Charles and Marilyn dead and his younger sister and brother grievously wounded. Gedeon, who stood five feet tall and weighed 75 pounds at the time of his arrest, allegedly used a knife on his five-year-old sister, Sarah, and a gun and a knife on nine-year-old brother Ethan. The wounds were so serious that it wasn't immediately clear they'd survive them.

Fortunately, they did — and they've reportedly thrived growing up in the custody of their uncle, Wally Long.

Nine charges were leveled against the twelve-year-old, including two counts of first-degree murder, two attempted-first-degree-murder beefs, three first-degree-assault allegations, and two accusations connected to his status as an accused aggravated juvenile offender.

Given the level of gore and the body count, calls to try the boy in adult court quickly surfaced — but while local authorities took their time determining the right course of action, they ultimately chose to follow the juvenile path. A photo of Gedeon's room that subsequently surfaced offers a hint why. In it, his floor was completely covered with Lego blocks on which he'd spent all his money.

A Facebook photo of Gedeon Long shared in June.
A Facebook photo of Gedeon Long shared in June.

Gedeon also worked on building projects in the sand pit near the family house. His last one involved a wooden bridge, toy trucks and a baseball bat used not for violence, but as an imaginary control tower. He was said to have been playing in the pit moments before the slayings.

Such flights of fancy contrasted with the rest of his life, which was depicted as lonely and isolated. His main outside activities revolved around the church to which his folks were so devoted.

Because of Gedeon's emotional immaturity, prosecutors in the case determined that a seven-year sentence, to be followed by a 21-month probationary period, offered the best resolution. But with his release from custody slated for September 2018, some of his family members at the hearing expressed reservations. Wally Long told 9News that he opposed Gedeon's transfer to the less secure facility and said he still had unanswered questions about the day Charles and Marilyn died: "I would like to hear it from him: why he did it, what happened, what caused it. What was his thinking."

As for Jacob Long, Gedeon's older brother, he became emotional during testimony, saying, "I'm not convinced he's not a monster who did it for the thrill."

Another Facebook photo of Gedeon Long from January — this one shared before the one at the top of this post, which shows him with a shaved head.
Another Facebook photo of Gedeon Long from January — this one shared before the one at the top of this post, which shows him with a shaved head.

Listening to these comments, Gedeon started crying — the first time he'd done so in a court setting, according to the prosecutor in the case.

In regard to the reasons for the move, Colorado's Department of Human Services issued the following statement:

We don't comment on the specific cases of any youth associated with the Division of Youth Services.

That said, the focus for each youth in the Division's care is to prepare them to return to the community. Often, this process includes gradually getting youth acclimated to being in less restrictive settings while they still have supports in place.

In some cases, the first step down is to a staff-intensive setting that has security in place, but with minimal or no fencing. In other instances, it might be a group home setting or foster placement. Each level includes guidelines, support systems, additional services and supervision.

The Division decides when a youth is ready for a less restrictive setting using a multi-disciplinary approach that brings together the youth, his or her family, their community supports, the youth's client manager and representatives from various disciplines within their DYS facility.

If — and only if — the multi-disciplinary team is ready to step down to a less restrictive setting, the Division will request a court order.

The DHS did so in Gedeon's case, and as a result, the world has more information than before about him. But there's much that's still under wraps, and judging by a Facebook graphic he shared last year, he likes it that way. Credited to the "Boss Bitch Chronicles," the message reads: "I keep my personal life private, so don't think you know me. You only know what I allow you to know."

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