Guilty Plea in 4 Atlanta-Area Spa Killings

2 months ago 16
PR Distribution

The suspect, Robert Aaron Long, besides faces 4 execution charges successful a neighboring county, wherever the authoritative is seeking the decease penalty.

Robert Aaron Long pleaded blameworthy  connected  Tuesday to 4  killings astatine  Young’s Asian Massage successful  Cherokee County, an Atlanta suburb.
Credit...Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

July 27, 2021, 10:05 a.m. ET

CANTON, Ga. — The antheral accused of sidesplitting 8 radical astatine a drawstring of Atlanta-area spas pleaded blameworthy connected Tuesday to 4 counts of execution successful suburban Cherokee County and volition look 4 consecutive beingness sentences without the anticipation of parole positive 35 years successful prison. But the man, Robert Aaron Long, inactive faces 4 different execution charges successful adjacent Fulton County, wherever the authoritative is seeking the decease penalty.

Mr. Long arrived successful tribunal done a broadside entranceway conscionable aft 9:15 a.m. successful a achromatic formal shirt. He was cleanable shaven and wore glasses, with his hairsbreadth shaved astatine the sides and agelong astatine the top.

He stood earlier the justice and softly answered, “Yes, ma’am,” erstwhile a authoritative asked him if helium understood the presumption of the plea agreement.

The March 16 shooting spree acceptable disconnected a nationwide question of interest implicit racially motivated attacks connected Asian radical astatine a clip of broader anxiousness and choler implicit racism successful the United States. Six of the 8 victims were women of Asian descent. Fani T. Willis, the Fulton County territory attorney, has indicated successful tribunal filings that she besides intends to seek enhanced penalties against Mr. Long, who is white, for committing crimes due to the fact that of the “actual oregon perceived race, nationalist origin, enactment and gender” of the victims.

Mr. Long, who instrumentality enforcement officials accidental has admitted helium was the gunman, had not made a tribunal quality since helium was arrested a fewer hours aft the shootings astatine 3 spas. He was identified that evening by a authorities trooper portion driving successful an S.U.V. connected Interstate 75, astir 150 miles southbound of Atlanta.

Law enforcement officials aboriginal said that Mr. Long had told them helium was connected his mode to Florida to transportation retired different onslaught connected a concern tied to the pornography industry.

The constabulary person besides said that Mr. Long told them that helium had a intersexual addiction, and that the shootings were an effort to destruct specified temptations from his life. Officials and acquaintances person said that Mr. Long, who was raised successful a strict evangelical Christian environment, frequented massage parlors and had antecedently sought retired Christian counseling successful an effort to rein successful his impulses.

Prosecutors accidental the shooting rampage began astatine Young’s Asian Massage, a strip-mall concern successful Cherokee County, northwest of Atlanta. One idiosyncratic was injured determination and 4 were killed: Xiaojie Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; Paul Andre Michels, 54; and Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33. The gunman past drove to the bosom of Atlanta, successful Fulton County, wherever helium fatally changeable 4 women of South Korean descent astatine 2 different spas: Soon Chung Park, 74; Suncha Kim, 69; Yong Ae Yue, 63; and Hyun Jung Grant, 51.

In May, Mr. Long was indicted by a Cherokee County expansive assemblage connected 23 counts, including aggregate counts of aggravated assault. In Fulton County, helium faces 19 counts for crimes including home terrorism.

Tuesday’s arraignment marked the opening of what could beryllium a protracted ineligible play adjacent though galore of the basal facts of the slayings bash not look to beryllium successful dispute. With the decease punishment looming arsenic a anticipation successful Fulton County, Mr. Long and his lawyers whitethorn take to spell to trial, possibly mounting an insanity defense. With Covid-related backlogs and different delays, a Fulton County proceedings mightiness not commencement until 2024, an authoritative successful Ms. Willis’s bureau said.

Ms. Willis, a Democrat, is simply a seasoned authoritative who became territory lawyer successful January. Like galore big-city American prosecutors, she is being forced to face a caller uptick successful convulsive crime. Her bureau has besides launched an enquiry into erstwhile President Donald J. Trump’s attempts to overturn Georgia’s predetermination results.

As a campaigner for office, Ms. Willis said she could not foresee a lawsuit successful which she would question the decease penalty. But she decided to bash truthful successful this case, she has said, aft reviewing the grounds and gathering with the families of the victims. In a tribunal document, she described the shooting spree arsenic “outrageously oregon wantonly vile, horrible oregon inhuman successful that it progressive depravity of mind.”

In a little telephone interrogation past week, Ms. Willis said that portion she tended to support an “open mind” concerning plea bargains, she was, for now, continuing to grip Mr. Long’s lawsuit arsenic a superior one.

Read Entire Article