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Two arrested in Marion County for 2023 robbery turned murder

A Reddick man and Ocala woman have been arrested and charged with murder in connection with the fatal shooting of a 40-year-old man in June of 2023.

At around 6:35 p.m. on June 27, 2023, Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the 7600 block of NW 77th Terrace, near W Highway 326, after receiving reports that a man’s body had been found on the side of the road, according to MCSO.

MCSO investigating body found on road near NW 77th Terrace, W Highway 326 intersection (June 27, 2023)
MCSO units arrived at the 7600 block of NW 77th Terrace on June 27, 2023 after receiving reports that a man’s body had been found along the side of the road. (Photo: Marion County Sheriff’s Office)

Upon arrival, deputies located the deceased male victim, identified as 40-year-old Wayne Barlow. According to MCSO, the victim had a deep laceration on the back of his head, along with multiple lacerations and abrasions on his arms, legs, and torso.

Deputies identify 40 year old deceased man found on side of road in Marion County
Wayne Barlow, 40, was found deceased on the side of the road near the intersection of NW 77th Terrace and W Highway 326 on June 27, 2023.

The Fifth District Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an examination of the victim and concluded that his cause of death was “a gunshot wound to the head, accompanied by evidence of strangulation and blunt force trauma,” according to the sheriff’s office.

While investigating the homicide, MCSO learned that the victim’s 2018 Hyundai Sonata was missing. According to the arrest report, investigators discovered that on June 27, 2023, prior to and after the victim’s body was found, the victim’s vehicle was observed traveling on several local roadways.

On June 28, 2023, the sheriff’s office was informed that the victim’s vehicle was recently spotted traveling in Marion County. MCSO deputies and Ocala Police Department officers canvassed the area and located the victim’s vehicle near the intersection of S Pine Avenue and SE 31st Street, according to the arrest report.

A traffic stop of the victim’s vehicle was attempted, but the driver fled from law enforcement and abandoned the vehicle in a heavily wooded area. Deputies located the vehicle and searched the surrounding area for its occupants, utilizing K-9 partners on the ground and MCSO’s Air-1 unit. Less than 30 minutes later, a man identified as 47-year-old Michael Rene Montgomery, Jr. was found hiding in water nearby.

Michael Rene Montgomery, Jr. (left) and Jessica Lynn Long (right)
Michael Rene Montgomery, Jr. (left) and Jessica Lynn Long (right)

A second individual, identified as 37-year-old Jessica Lynn Long, was also found hiding in a tree in the same area, according to MCSO.

The sheriff’s office stated that an investigation revealed that Long and Montgomery had both conspired to steal the victim’s vehicle. According to MCSO, Montgomery allegedly attacked the victim in the vehicle while Long drove, which led to a struggle.

MCSO stated that Montgomery allegedly pulled the victim from the vehicle and “assaulted him with a pipe-like object.” Witnesses told investigators that Montgomery then attempted to run over the victim with the vehicle before allegedly approaching and shooting him.

Based on witness accounts and evidence, investigators concluded that Long and Montgomery “committed the act of murder during the commission of a robbery,” according to the sheriff’s office.

Long and Montgomery were both arrested, and they are currently being held at Marion County Jail without bond. They are both being charged with murder while engaged in robbery.

Jail records show that Montgomery is scheduled to appear in court at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 19. The following week, Long is set to appear in court at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 26.