Man imprisoned for decades for role in murder of four in West Philly basement

Kristen Johanson
July 14, 2020 - 2:06 pm
Robert Long

Philadelphia Police Department

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Philadelphia man was sentenced Tuesday morning for his role in the murders of four people found executed in a West Philadelphia basement in November 2018.

Robert Long will spend 25 to 50 years in prison, months after pleading guilty to third-degree murder charges in the shooting deaths of two sisters and two step-brothers.

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Judge Barbara McDermott called defendant Robert Long’s case “extremely troubling” as she outlined his life as a father and volunteer, with apprenticeships and jobs, questioning why he ruined it all.

Long admitted he was with his cousin Jahlil Porter and Keith Garner when they went to the home at 51st and Malcolm streets and robbed the victims of some cash and drugs — and when Porter shot all four in the back of the head. Long said he was the getaway driver.

Over a video conference call hearing, the father of victims Maurice Williams and Akeem Mattox told the judge his heart has been ripped out, his life destroyed.

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“I didn’t want to live anymore. I had to get help,” he said. He asked the judge to put the three defendants away, so they'd be unable to do this to anyone else.

“You messed up my life. You messed up the kids life," he said.

Mattox had three children. Hall had one.

The mother of 17-year-old Yaleah Hall and 20-year-old Taniyah Hopkins described the futures that each sister was awaiting, saying she now can only see her daughters in her dreams. Hall's and Hopkins' grandmother said she relives the terror the two must have felt in that basement.

The women said Hall was trying to get into Arcadia University and start her life, and Hopkins believed she was recently pregnant.

Friends of Long described the defendant as charitable, intelligent and hard-working.

When Long was given a chance to speak, he apologized to the victims' families, saying he was “very remorseful” for what happened.

But Judge Barbara McDermott called it disingenuous and said all she heard was excuses and justification, instead of acceptance and responsibility.

McDermott sentenced the 32-year-old to a prison term of 25 to 50 years.

Prosecutors had asked for 20 to 40 years.

Porter, considered the mastermind of the incident, will be sentenced in August. Garner has his hearing in September.