Murder trial begins for Marion woman accused of fatal stabbing

Murder trial begins for Marion woman accused of fatal stabbing

MARION COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – One woman is facing a trial this week after allegedly stabbing her boyfriend fatally in October 2012.

Marion County Sheriff Mark Richardson tells WMBF News that the stabbing happened in Long's home near Elizabeth Loop.

Day One: Jury Selection & Opening Statements

During day one of the trial, the majority of the day was spent sorting through potential jurors.

More than 100 people filed into the courtroom to go through the jury selection process. Around 1 p.m., that number was cut in half as the judge worked through questions with the participants.

In addition to standard questions, the judge asked if any of the possible jurors had ever been a patron at Garden Alley, a restaurant in Mullins. He explained the defendant, Donna Long, has worked at that establishment for nearly 20 years.

Almost half of the jurors stood, signaling to the judge they had been a customer there.

One man explained to the judge that his mother also worked at the restaurant, another man told the judge he had Long as a server multiple times while eating there.

One by one, the jurors were called up to stand in front of the bench. One by one, the prosecution and defense either asked the juror to stay or go.

By 2 p.m., five women and nine men were selected for the trial: 12 jurors and 2 alternates.

They were then excused from the courtroom under strict orders by Judge King to not speak to anyone about the trial.

After a recess, the attorneys, witnesses, and family members for both sides of the case filed back into the courtroom.

The defense asked the judge to keep a 911 call from being part of the trial. The 911 call is between Donna Long and a dispatcher on the night Johnson was killed.

The prosecution said this record is a vital piece for the trial. The defense argued that Long was intoxicated to a point that she was incoherent, and because of that she was not giving voluntary statements to the dispatcher. Since she had not been read her Miranda Rights at the time she placed the 911 call, the defense did not believe it should be allowed in the courtroom.

The prosecution brought multiple witnesses up to the stand to support the decision to keep the 911 call. The first witness was the 911 dispatcher. The tape was then played to the courtroom. As the scene unfolded through the audio of the tape, the room filled with the noise of Long's voice sobbing into the phone. The details were graphic as Long told the dispatcher that Johnson was bleeding to death, yet still breathing.

The dispatcher asked why Long has stabbed him, which the defense argued was pursuing her into what to say.

At one point, Long was heard mumbling on the tape that she stabbed him.

The next witness included a police officer, he was the first to the scene and was able to record it with a small camera.

That film played out for the courtroom, and you could hear the officer asking Long on the video where she put the knife. At one point she said she didn't know, which the defense said showed she was not aware of what was going on.

As the judge decides if this particular piece of evidence will be allowed in the courtroom on Tuesday, Donna Long remains out of jail.

Judge King told her she could remain out on bail, and explained multiple times to her that she could not create a mistrial by not showing up because the trial would go on without her.

The SLED Crime Scene Unit also assisted the Marion County Sheriff's Office in this investigation.

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