Homeless couple charged with murder of man found shot to death off remote Ocala roadside

MARION COUNTY, Fla. — Investigators with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office say they’ve tracked down the people responsible for the death of a man found murdered on the side of a road back in June.


Deputies responded to the 7600 block of NW 77th Terrace just after 6:30 p.m. on June 27, 2023 for reports of a person found dead on the side of the road.

They arrived to find 40-year-old Wayne Barlow approximately six feet off the roadway with obvious trauma to his head.

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The man who called the sheriff’s office reported that he’d passed by the area approximately two hours earlier and was certain there was not a body there at the time. He said when he returned at approximately 6:30 p.m., he thought he saw a hog on the side of the road, so he backed up and realized it was a human body and immediately called 911,

A subsequent examination by the Medical Examiner’s Office revealed that Barlow had died from a gunshot wound to the head, but there was also evidence of strangulation and blunt-force trauma.

The day after the murder, deputies learned that a gray 2018 Hyundai Sonata belonging to Barlow had been seen traveling in the area.

Deputies attempted to pull the car over, but the driver refused to stop and a pursuit ensued. Deputies eventually lost track of the car, but found it abandoned nearby a short time later.

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Approximately 30 minutes into a foot search near the car, deputies say they found 47-year-old Michael Montgomery Jr. hiding in water. Shortly after that, deputies say they found 37-year-old Jessica Lynn Long hiding in a tree in the same area.

After interviewing Montgomery, Long, and other witnesses, investigators determined that the couple had formed a plan to steal Barlow’s car from him and ended up killing him in the process.

According to the sheriff’s office, Long was driving Barlow’s car on the day of the murder with Montgomery in the back seat and Barlow in the front passenger seat.

Once they reached the location where Montgomery and Long planned to rob Barlow, deputies say Montgomery used a black wire and a bike lock to choke Barlow from behind, leading to a struggle.

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At one point, deputies say Montgomery pulled Barlow from the car and beat him with a pipe, then reentered the car and tried to run Barlow over with it, but failed because it was too low to the ground.

That’s when deputies say Montgomery got out of the car, walked up to Barlow and shot him with a small caliber handgun.

Both Montgomery and Long, who are listed as homeless Ocala residents, have been charged with murder while engaged in a robbery. They’re being held in the Marion County jail on no bond.

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