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Ex-deputy convicted in fatal bar shooting

A former sheriff's deputy was convicted of murder Thursday for the off-duty shooting of a man in a local bar.
December 12, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A former Riverside County sheriff's deputy was convicted of second-degree murder Thursday for the off-duty killing of a man in a local bar. The victim's family is relieved by the verdict and hopes the ex-deputy gets the maximum sentence.

"It was not self-defense, it was cold-blooded murder," said April Reilly, sister of the deceased victim, 36-year-old Sam Vanettes.

For that reason, Reilly says she's relieved that 44-year-old Dayle Long was found guilty of murder after he shot and killed her brother almost two years ago.

"Our lives will never be the same, and although we're happy with the verdict, we're still celebrating another Christmas without Sam," said Reilly.

Reilly was there the night it happened inside Spelly's Pub and Grille in Murrieta. She says her brother, who didn't know the defendant at the time, asked him if he wanted to play darts with the group.

At the time, Long was a deputy with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, but Reilly says he sure wasn't acting like it.

"He was drunk, and the more intoxicated he became, the more belligerent he became," said Reilly.

Then an argument started.

"The fight was over, initially, something as trivial as where a street was located in Orange County," said Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Burke Strunsky.

The defendant then fired six shots, killing Vanettes at the scene. It's been almost two years since that night, and Long is no longer with the sheriff's department.

But the victim's father says the whole time he was worried that because Long was an ex-cop, he would get preferential treatment.

"We all support our cops, and so we want to give them the benefit of the doubt, and I'm sure the jury went in there with that thought. In fact we've talked to four jurors afterwards, and they did indeed want to give them the benefit of the doubt, but the doubt just wasn't there," said Ron Vanettes, the victim's father.

"I'd like to see him do the maximum sentence. I feel terrible for his family, they've lost somebody too and that's so sad, but he deserves the maximum sentence," said Reilly.

Long will be back in court for sentencing next month. He could get 40 years to life in prison.