Warning: Some of the details from yesterday’s testimony that are contained in this article may be sensitive to some.
MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — A tearful Jennifer Long, dressed in a black and white striped county jail jumpsuit walked into a Morgan County Courtroom Monday afternoon for her preliminary hearing.
Jennifer Long is charged with capital murder in the stabbing death of her 8-year-old son, Tyler Gardiner.
The Morgan County District Attorney’s office called one witness for the hearing, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Caleb Brooks. He testified on the moments leading up to the 9-1-1 call and after deputies arrived at the crime scene on Colony Lane in Hartselle.
Brooks’ testimony as to what took place prior to deputies responding to the call came from conversations and a written statement provided by Jennifer Long’s father, Charles “Ronnie” Long.
The 8-year-old lived with his grandparents in the home, his mother Jennifer had recently been staying there as well.
According to Brooks, Ronnie Long told investigators he was watching tv when he heard a scream from upstairs. Brooks testified Ronnie told deputies he asked his daughter Jennifer what happened and she came downstairs stating she had cut herself.
Brooks said in his testimony Ronnie told authorities shortly after that exchange that Jennifer came towards him with several kitchen knives and told him he was next. Court records show he was stabbed several times.
According to Brooks, Ronnie escaped Jennifer and went to his neighbor’s house where the neighbor called 9-1-1. Brooks said deputies responded to the call within 9 minutes. Ronnie informed deputies that his grandson was in the house asleep and his daughter was still there as well.
Brooks testified he reviewed the body camera footage from all of the initial responding deputies. He says the video shows Jennifer coming down the stairs with a vape in her hand and complying with orders to get on the ground.
The investigator says when deputies asked Jennifer about her son’s whereabouts she told them he was dead. Deputies cleared the home and located the 8-year-old’s body. Brooks testified the boy was stabbed twice and the knife was still in his body.
During the cross-examination of Investigator Brooks, Long’s attorney John Brinkley asked whether Long demonstrated any signs of mental illness. Brooks testified the woman did not show any immediate signs, she was read her Miranda rights and informed deputies she did not wish to speak without an attorney present.
Morgan County District Judge Brent Craig found that there was sufficient probable cause to send the case to a grand jury.