Mark Herbert Long was arraigned Wednesday on suspicion of murder in the killing of his wife, South Land Park lawyer and advocate Susan Roberts.
Long, 59, bespectacled and balding, listened to the single charge from inside a courtroom’s holding cell as a row of Roberts’ friends watched anxiously from the gallery, several leaning on the seats in front of them, hands clasped. The afternoon hearing was before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Richard Sueyoshi.
Roberts, 61, was identified Tuesday by the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office. Police were called Monday to her Nevis Court home after she missed a weekend dinner engagement with friends and hadn’t been heard from in the days before her discovery. Her body was found inside the home.
Sacramento police announced Long’s arrest in his wife’s death Monday evening.
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Long was appointed counsel on Wednesday and ordered held in Sacramento County custody without bail. He will return to court Jan. 24, leaving Roberts’ friends to make sense of a killing that snuffed out a bright light.
“My heart’s beating out of my chest,” said friend Jan Williams of Shingle Springs outside Sueyoshi’s courtroom at the Patino Hall of Justice inside Sacramento County Main Jail.
Long and Roberts were married for two years. She was an attorney who recently reactivated her legal license at her home address, according to State Bar records. Roberts purchased the home in 2001, according to property records. She worked for the state Department of Social Services, overseeing foster homes and critical care facilities, her brother, Bill Roberts, said recently.
Williams remembered her as courageous, and unafraid to speak her mind.
“She was so witty. She was a beautiful person. I thought Mark was a beautiful person,” said Williams. “I can’t wrap my mind around it. It’s tough when your heart’s breaking.”
Williams spoke of the flood of messages left on Roberts’ Facebook page by her many friends.
“Every single person says they lost a close friend,” she said.
The South Land Park neighborhood also is reeling from the killings last March of a mother, her two children and a niece inside the family’s home. The suspect in that case, Salvador Vasquez-Oliva, returns to court Jan. 26 on murder charges in those slayings.