The Associated Press, Mar. 28, 2003
By BRAD CAIN, The Associated Press
NEWPORT – In his second day of testimony, Christian Longo admitted to cheating on his wife and leaving a trail of bad debts, but he shed no light on his claim that someone else killed two of his children.
Longo, 29, who returns to the stand on Monday, has already pleaded guilty to killing his wife, MaryJane, 34, and his youngest daughter, Madison, 2.
But after two days of testimony, Longo’s defense team has yet to have the former Michigan man explain in court his assertion that he is innocent in the death of his older children, Zachery, 4, and Sadie, 3.
On Thursday, Longo described taking his wife on a dinner-and-movie date on Dec. 15, 2001.
“We were happy to be able to go to the movie together,” while a friend baby-sat the couple’s three children, Longo told jurors. Returning to the apartment, Longo said he and MaryJane “walked in the door happy.”
Prosecutors have said Longo strangled MaryJane and the couple’s three children and dumped their bodies in the murky waters of the Oregon Coast.
The exact time of the slayings is in question after a witnesses testified this week to hearing bumping and dragging noises in the early morning hours of Dec. 16, apparently coming from the apartment where the Longos lived.
In his opening statements at the trial, Steven Briggs, assistant state attorney general, had said Longo murdered his family the night of Dec. 16.
Longo also described an affair he had with his business partner’s wife in the spring of 2000. The two discussed divorcing their spouses and getting married until Longo’s wife, MaryJane, found out about the affair after discovering e-mails on his computer, he said.
She confronted Longo and said she was going to tell elders at the Jehovah’s Witness church, as well as Longo’s father, about the affair, Longo testified.
“She wanted everybody to know what a scumbag I had been,” he said, adding that he told MaryJane he didn’t know if he had ever loved her.
Longo said he eventually ended his affair and reconciled with MaryJane.
Longo also described the months leading up to his family’s death as stressful ones full of financial instability and fear of being arrested for stealing money.
Longo, already on probation for passing $30,000 in bad checks in Michigan, owed his father another $100,000 and had been “shunned” – or excommunicated – by the Jehovah’s Witness church.
His wife, MaryJane, was too embarrassed to remain in Michigan because she saw friends who knew of the couple’s financial and legal troubles, Longo said. The couple decided to move to Toledo, Ohio, and then to Oregon in hopes of making a new start in life, he said.
By moving to Toledo, Longo violated his probation and the family had to live in a warehouse because they had no money, he testified. He had also bought a stolen Bobcat – a construction loader – and was questioned by Toledo police when they spotted the vehicle parked at the warehouse, he said.
They quickly decided to leave Ohio for Oregon, but not before Longo passed another $10,000 in bad checks in the Toledo area, he testified.