EX JW, Longo murder trial, opening statements.
Today the trial opened for Christian Longo the disfellowshipped Jehovah's Witness that is accused of murdering his wife and three young children in a small coastal city in Oregon. The prosecution went into detail describing how Christian Longo had premeditation in his acts and how he planed his steps after and before the murders. I won't go into the details of how he killed his wife and kids but I would like to bring out a few of the statements he made during an interview with an FBI agent he sat with on the flight back from Mexico.
Christian Longo in a somewhat calm voice told the FBI agent why he did what he did. He simple said "I sent my family to a better place." The prosecution also mentioned that Christian believed that being a disfellowshipped JW that the sins of the parents were passed down to the children. His children were all under the age of 10 and as we know the JW's do teach this warped philosophy and is one of the key methods they use to guilt newly interested people into studying their teachings. The threat of your children dying because of your choices and actions not to join the religion frightens many parents into the world of JW horror. The children's life is used and one is felt to believe that they are horrible parents if they do not become a JW and the blood of their children when they die at Armageddon will be on the parents hands.
It has been obvious to me since I first saw the news story on TV and found out that Longo was a disfellowshipped JW that the thought about the JW teaching concerning dyeing before Armageddon was his motive. It is better to die before, than dyeing during Armageddon, to me this was a key factor in his actions and something the JW leaders are very afraid of. This is the whole issue in my assumption and the main reason this murder happened. Longo believes the warped teaching that his wife and children how have a chance to be resurrected on a paradise earth where if Armageddon came while he was in a disfellowshipped state that his family would die because of him and not have a chance for a resurrection.
As in many cases the disfellowshipped persons family is treated different and there is a strong overtone of sharing the shunning and disapproval that is directed at the one being shunned. This is what Christian Longo saw and this is why he left his home town.
Christian Longo was not a nice guy. He was raised a JW and he was disfellowshipped for unethical business practices, adultery and lying about his actions. He moved his family from Michigan to Oregon to try and escape the shunning and mental abuse from his JW family and one time friends. As he settled in Oregon he became more depressed and tried to fit into a world that he was never allowed as a JW to experience. As with many JW's who leave the religion but still believe in it's teachings it soon becomes a major psychological battle feeling that you are nothing more than a dead man walking. Longo did as some newly disfellowshipped people do and that is to try and fit into a world he knows nothing about. After killing his family and stuffing his wife and baby daughter into a suit case and dropping them into the bay he made sure to attend the Christmas party that the company he was working for was having. One of the biggest events for any JW after leaving the religion is to either celebrate Christmas or go to a Christmas party that they had never been allowed to attend while in the religion. To anyone that has never been in the JW religion it is impossible to understand this. For those of us who were in the religion, even though the circumstances are horrific, we can still have a small amount of understanding why he did this.
This to me is obviously the actions of a tortured mind. No one in their right mind would do this, but it is somewhat understandably to any exJW who has been shunned and has tried to join the world that has been forbidden to them while in the religion. Christmas is a time of much happiness and celebration around the world. As simple act of going to a company Christmas party is a sign that you just may be able to fit into the world. This need to fit in was so strong with Longo he went to the party after killing his family and simply told his fellow employees that his family was on their way back to Michigan. He lied about many things after and before the murders. Perhaps the feeling of already being dead yourself so "what the hell" overcame him just as it has for many of us before we learned the truth about the JW teachings and how false they are.
I am not trying to condone what this man did, I am just trying to understand. As he sits in court all he can do is look down at the floor as his own words describing his crime is given to the jury. Many have described the work the defense team has as one of the toughest they have ever seen. They have almost an impossible task. Christian Longo has already confessed to the murder of his wife and baby daughter, he has not confessed to the murder of his other two children. From what I can gather this is in an effort to work the structure of the law in an attempt to avoid the death penalty.
The prosecution spoke for about 20 minutes and then the jury was lead out of the court room to travel to the area where the first two bodies were found. Later either today or tomorrow the defense will give its opening statement.
The evidence is outstanding against Longo. He is looked at by the community of the small coastal town as a monster. They do not know what we know. They have never felt that no matter what they do in their life they are dead. They have never gone off the deep end because of this feeling of being the walking dead and feeling that "the end" is so close there is no chance for redemption and making it through the earth wide destruction of all those who are not a JW. They do not understand the JW teaching about dyeing before Armageddon and having a chance for a resurrection as opposed to dying during the mythical dooms day war. As crazy as it sounds, Christen Longo thought he was doing his wife and kids a favor. He thought he was giving them a chance for everlasting life buy killing them now.
As I have said, Christian Longo was not a good person to begin with. The teachings of the JW religion was his motivation in his acts of murder. The religion should be on trial along with Christian Longo as an accessory to murder. Unfortunately this country lets religion do and say what they want with very little to no consequences at all. The religion took a person who was not a good citizen to begin with and gave him a motive to kill his family.
The religion should be on trial just as those who write books about white supremacy that stimulates some to enact hate crimes based on it's writings. As with the other multiple murder suicide case here in Oregon involving Robert Bryant and his family the authorities still have not figured it out. It tore my heart out seeing the photos of the Bryant children at their memorial. Not one single Jehovah's Witness attended the service and the kids did nothing at all against them. It's the religion that loads the gun, it is a mentally rapped person who sees no way out that pulls the trigger. This will not stop until the religion pays for its trumped up teachings and threatening tactics.
This makes me sick.
I will try to keep you all informed as the trial continues.
Thanks, Dave, for the update. This is a sad and complicated story....the "world" would never understand.
Dave, thank you for your diligence & help in this & the bryant matter. It's ironic that the very cong. in Newport OR where this took place, at one time had a body of elders that engaged in wife swapping, attempted murder, & sex abuse of minors. So even if he decided to "go back" for support, it's highly likely this still would have happened.
I have often wondered about this particular concept. Of course, nothing can condone his actions, and he obviously was a disturbed person.
But, when an organization teaches hurtful twisted ideas, does it bear some responsibility when a person acts on them?
JWs try to use emotional blackmail to get people to join them or to come back to the organization. I once had an elder tell me that I am killing my children. Basically, God has taken them hostage, and he will murder them if the end comes while I am inactive.
In a sick mind, this can mean: kill them all now, so that they will get resurrected.
This is the case of what happens when a sick mind is influenced by sick doctrines.
Thanks guys, I'll pass on what I hear.
In the Nuremberg trials there were several Nazi officers who were in charge of the death camps where millions of Jews were murdered. Their defense was they were soldiers just following orders. Their defense didn't wash and they were convicted and punished. Would they have done what they did if they did not have orders? I don't know, but the orders and the sprit of Nazi philosophy certainly encouraged their actions. Religion is a bit different and much more of a powerful force in one's mind. Following orders as a solder is only effective while one is a solder. Acting out something that is based on a religious belief is a lot more powerful because a person believes in their whole mind and heart that their actions are based on a factual understanding of what life is, and what the after life will bring.
It seems that through most of history things done in the name of religion go unpunished in the world courts. Only lately has the catholic church been chastised for some of their actions as well as the Hari Krishna and JW's to a small extent. The JW's are masters of saying "we didn't say that, we only discouraged or encouraged such actions." It is obvious that much of the JW doctrine presented as "new light" is now run by their legal department to adjust their message from god so as to keep from getting sued.
To me, they are as responsible for the death's in the Longo and Bryant cases as the individuals who carried out the murders. It is the JW teachings that directly influenced the thinking of both Christian and Robert. In a very twisted way of thinking they thought they were saving their children as opposed to killing them. It is not this life in the wicked old world they look forward to, it is the myth of the living forever in a new system that they focus on. It is very similar to the teachings of Islam in that if you die in an act of being a martyr for Allah you will be with him forever in a very favorable position. That is why there are so many suicide bombings. It is the teaching of a special pace In the after life that causes religions fanatics to not only take their own life but the lives of others.
Without the strong belief in those religious philosophies the killings would not have happened.
An excellent, although disturbing report. I'm quite sure most of us understand the forces that motivated this man, but he did go off the deep end. Understanding the WTBTS little cult twists does not excuse killing his own family, but they have a lot to answer for in this incident. Thank you for your very fine reporting. Bug