On Tuesday in Scott County Court, a 20-year-old Davenport man convicted of first-degree murder was sentenced to serve life in prison.
In August, a jury in found Charlie Gary III, accused of killing Robert Long, 74, in 2020, guilty on all four charges of first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery and abuse of a corpse.
Life in prison is mandatory for first-degree murder. Additionally, Gary was sentenced to 25 years for the robbery and burglary charges and five years for abuse of a corpse. He also was ordered to pay $150,000 in victim restitution.
Fowler sentenced Gary to the Iowa Department of Corrections for the rest of his natural life without the possibility of parole.
Under Iowa law, Gary has the right to appeal. A written notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days. His attorney, Scott Kamin, told Local 4 News he does plan to appeal.
At the sentencing, Christine Palmer, Long’s daughter, read a victim’s statement, sometimes addressing Gary.
“I think he should spend the rest of his life in prison, and I hope you’re treated the same way you treated my dad,” she said.
Joan Gilkerson, Long’s sister, also read a victim statement.
“Charlie Gary is a man who showed no mercy to Bob, no remorse in his statement to police, admitting matter-of-factly his horrific actions,” she said.
Robert Long, chess player and publisher
According to an article on the Iowa Chess Association website, Long was “a colorful personality in Iowa chess history.”
Long, the website says, was a “connoisseur of books on magic and math, along with chess.” He also held several chess festivals over the years.
“The chess landscape will be forever changed with Bob’s passing,” the article concludes.
“Over a career that spanned five decades, Long’s various publishing and business ventures – Chessco, Thinkers Press, Gilbert & Lange, and most recently, the Chess Butler – were the launching pad for a number of important titles and prolific authors,” says an article on the U. S. Chess Federation website.
The homicide happened Jan. 7, 2020, when Davenport Police responded to the 1500 block of LeClaire Street for a report of an unresponsive person. Long was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Gary admitted to forcibly entering Long’s home and stealing his car, “at which time he strangled the victim causing his death,” an arrest affidavit says. “Gary then left the residence with the victim’s property and the victim’s car.”
Gary was found driving the car on Jan. 8, 2020, when he was arrested, the affidavit says.
In her closing arguments, prosecutor Amy DeVine said Gary “strangled Mr. Long, raped him, then robbed him.”
During the trial, Kamin, Gary’s attorney, said the incident was a sex game Long and Gary were having, “not intentional strangulation.”
Defendant asked for mistrial
Gary had asked for a mistrial, which was denied. Read his letter in its entirety here.
“The trial was not at all fair,” Gary says in the letter filed in Scott County Court documents. “The jury was made up of all white people and thats (sic) prejudicial.”
“I also told my lawyer and his assistant that I would like to (recant) my testimony which they never did,” he said in the letter.
“I’m only 20 years old with no violent record, only driving without license and insurance,” he wrote. “If me and my public defender can get my charges down to murder 2nd degree and simple theft that I would consider a won case. I will take this to federal supreme court if need be I only got 3 appeals and I will go all the way if that’s what it takes.”