FAYETTEVILLE — For the family of a murdered 10-year-old Alamance County girl, there is justice mixed with grief. A jury Tuesday convicted one of three teenagers charged with the rape and killing of Tiffany Long in 1998.
It took jurors 54 minutes to make their decision in the courtroom. Joseph Jones was sentenced to life in prison plus 25 years for the crime.
Despite the guilty verdict, Long's grandmother says nobody wins.
"I just know we're all going to be grieving, and we're all going to be grieving for our children for the rest of our lives," says Nancy Long, Tiffany's grandmother. "The Joneses are going to be grieving. Dorthia's mother is going to be grieving. I mean we lost our children."
Prosecutors say the quick verdict was important.
"When they came in and announced it was a guilty verdict, that's a loud and clear message that the evidence was overwhelming," says Rob Johnson, Alamance County Prosecutor. "We have no doubt that Joseph Jones was involved along with all of them, and like I told the jury in there, three people killed Tiffany."
Prosecutors say Jones, his uncle, Harold Jones, 17, and Harold's girlfriend, Dorthia Bynum, 18, abducted, raped and killed Tiffany on Oct. 16, 1998. Her body was discovered behind a vacant house in Burlington where all three teens had once lived.
All the defendants' cases were moved to Fayetteville because of extensive pre-trial publicity.
After the verdict, Kevin Morse says Joseph Jones read from a prepared statement.
"He apologized to Miss Long for not doing anything to prevent what happened and he expressed his sorrow," Morse says. "He said he thinks about it every day and he wishes he could take it all back."
Bynum was sentenced to at least 124 years in prison as part of an agreement with prosecutors in which she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, rape, kidnapping and first-degree sex offense.
Harold Jones faces trial on charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and three sex-related counts. A trial date has not been set. From staff and wire reports