Trial continues for suspect in slaying of chess promoter, publisher

Local News

Robert Long

Friends and family of a publisher and chess aficionado turned their heads away from autopsy photos Monday during the jury trial of a 20-year-old Davenport man accused of killing Robert Long, 74.  

Charlie Gary III faces charges of murder in the first degree, a class A felony; first-degree burglary, a Class B felony; first-degree robbery, a Class B felony, and abuse of corpse – sex act, a Class D felony.

Charlie Gary III

Gary appeared with his attorney Monday in a jury trial that began last week in Scott County Court, where Local 4 News was the only station in the courtroom Monday morning.

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 incident

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.

Monday testimony

Amy DeVine, with the Scott County Attorney’s Office, said Gary “pushed Mr. Long back and entered his house when Mr. Long said no to (snow) shoveling.”

“The cause of death was ligature strangulation,” Dr. Jonathan Thompson, forensic pathologist, testified Monday. He also pointed out physical evidence of abuse.

Gary’s mother, Patricia Kalu, of Davenport, said she and her son did odd jobs for many people. They had worked for Long for two years, she said.

Gary, who has pleaded not guilty, has been held in Scott County Jail on $100,000 cash-only bond since his arrest. The trial continued Monday afternoon.

Class A felonies are the most serious offenses in Iowa and are punishable by a mandatory life sentence, without possibility for parole or probation.

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