Bobby Joe Long is executed in Florida for killing eight women in 1984

"Every time you went home at night, you would think about if we don't catch this guy, someone else is going to be murdered," one investigator said.

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By Alex Johnson

Bobby Joe Long, who pleaded guilty to killing eight women in the Tampa, Florida, area in 1984, was executed by lethal injection Thursday night, authorities said.

Long, 65, was pronounced dead at 6:55 p.m. at Florida State Prison in Raiford. Authorities said he made no final statement. The execution had been scheduled for 6 p.m., but it was delayed as Jones' attorneys sought a last-minute stay from the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied a petition for a writ of certiorari.

Long was sentenced to death for the murder of Michelle Simms, 22, whose body was found on the side of a road in the Tampa suburb of Lake City in May 1984. His was the first death warrant signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis since he took office in January.

Long's attorneys had argued that lethal injection would be "cruel and unusual" because of Long's diagnosed history of epilepsy, saying he could suffer a seizure. The state Supreme Court denied Long's third appeal Friday, saying Long's diagnosis had been known for at least 30 years and that it was too late to argue it now.

Long told investigators that he hit Simms with a club and pushed her from his vehicle before slitting her throat. Authorities said he had also admitted to raping about 40 women.

In a plea deal, Long pleaded guilty in 1985 to killing eight of the 10 women in whose deaths he was a suspect. He was sentenced to 33 life sentences for the eight murders, all of which took place in Hillsborough County.

"No one deserves to die like these women died," retired Col. Gary Terry, one of the lead investigators for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, told NBC affiliate WFLA of Tampa last month.

"Every time you went home at night, you would think about if we don't catch this guy, someone else is going to be murdered," Terry said.

Long was captured after Lisa McVey, 17, persuaded Long to release her rather than kill her in 1984. McVey's story was dramatized last year in the Lifetime TV movie "Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey."