Murder suspect in Atlanta-area spa shootings to be arraigned
Credit to ABC News/Marlene Lenthang
The man charged with multiple murder counts after an alleged shooting spree at three Atlanta-area spas in March is scheduled to be arraigned next week.
Robert Aaron Long is accused of killing eight people, including six Asian woman, on March 16.
He’s scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday, the Cherokee County District Attorney’s Office told ABC News. Among 19 total counts, he faces four counts of murder, four counts of felony murder and one count of domestic terrorism.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Wednesday that she believes a plea deal has been reached in the case ahead of the Cherokee County arraignment. But, Cyndi Crossland, a spokesperson for the Cherokee County District Attorney’s Office, told ABC News that county D.A. Shannon Wallace “is ethically prohibited from discussing any type of plea negotiation.”
Willis filed a motion Tuesday requesting Long be transferred to the Fulton County Jail following his arraignment in Cherokee County and requested to schedule an arraignment for Long in Fulton County “on or before August 6, 2021, or as soon as practical,” according to court documents.
In May, Willis said she’d seek the death penalty and hate crime charges.
“Last year, I told the voters of Fulton County that I could not imagine a circumstance where I would seek [the death penalty],” Willis at the time. “Unfortunately, a case has arisen in the first few months of my term that I believe warrants the ultimate penalty, and we shall seek it.”
Long was indicted in Fulton County for the deaths of Suncha Kim, 69; Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; and Yong Ae Yue, 63.
The filing notice of intent states that Long intentionally selected his targets because of their “actual or perceived race, national origin, sex and gender.”
A separate grand jury in Cherokee County also indicted Long on charges for the shooting at a spa near suburban Woodstock that claimed the lives of Xiaojie “Emily” Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; Delaina Yaun, 33; and Paul Michels, 54. He was not charged with hate crimes in this county.
Authorities didn’t officially determine a motive for the attack. Long told investigators he blamed the businesses he targeted for providing an outlet for his addiction to sex and he “told investigators the crimes were not racially motivated,” the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said at the time.
The first shooting was reported at about 5 p.m. at Young’s Asian Massage near Woodstock, Georgia. That shooting resulted in four people dead — two Asian and two white individuals — and one person injured, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said at the time.
About 47 minutes after that incident, Atlanta police responded to a 911 call of a robbery in progress at Gold Spa on Piedmont Road, about 30 miles from the first shooting site. There they found three women dead from gunshot wounds, a spokesman told ABC News in a statement at the time.
While on the scene, the officers were advised of shots fired at Aromatherapy Spa across the street. When they went to investigate, Atlanta police said they found a woman inside dead from a gunshot wound.
Long’s phone was tracked to find his location, authorities said. Police spotted his car in Crisp County around 8 p.m., about three hours south of Atlanta, and he was arrested. A 9 mm gun was recovered at the traffic stop, authorities said.