ATLANTA - The day after pleading guilty to charges of killing four people at a Cherokee County spa during an alleged shooting spree, Robert Long was moved to the Fulton County jail to await his death penalty trial for shootings at two more spas.
Long was booked into the Fulton County jail on four counts of murder, four counts of felony murder, five counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one count of domestic terrorism, and five counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
The Fulton County Sheriff's Office released the mugshot of his new booking on Wednesday.
A makeshift memorial outside the Gold Spa in Atlanta days after a deadly shooting rampage on March 16, 2021. (Austin McAfee / FOX 5)
Those charges, police said, stem from shootings at the Gold Spa and Aromatherapy Spa that killed 69-year-old Suncha Kim, 74-year-old Soon Chung Park, 51-year-old Hyun Jung Grant, and 63-year-old Yong Ae Yue, 63. All of the Atlanta victims were women of Asian descent.
In an initial interview with investigators, Long said he apparently lashed out at businesses he viewed as a temptation over his alleged "sex addiction." But those statements spurred outrage and widespread skepticism given the locations and that six of the eight victims were women of Asian descent. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said the community has no tolerance for an alleged hate crime like this.
Her office will pursue the death penalty in those shootings. She filed paperwork last week to bring the defendant to the county in anticipation of Tuesday's plea hearing.
Willis said she is comfortable with her death penalty decision and believes it does not have to be an uphill battle. The new DA said death penalty cases like this will take 24 to 36 months.
Long pleaded guilty on Tuesday in a Cherokee County courtroom to killing 49-year-old Xiaojie "Emily" Tan, 44-year-old Daoyou Feng, 33-year-old Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez, and 54-year-old Paul Michels at Youngs Asian Massage near Acworth on March 16. He also shot and wounded a fifth person.
Prosecutors said he then drove to the two locations in Atlanta.
While in the courtroom in front of survivors of the shooting on Tuesday, Long pleaded guilty to all 23 charges.
State prosecutors said that they planned to push for the death penalty if the case had gone to trial, but after negotiations, they decided to recommend that the court sentence him to life without parole for the four counts of malice murder along with multiple years in prisons that would be done consecutively to his life sentence. That decision came after speaking with multiple victims and getting their approval in order to have "swift justice."
While the shooting led to calls for stronger laws against hate crimes involving Asian-American victims, prosecutors said they found no evidence that the crime was not motivated by bias or prejudice against Asians and that the state would not be able to prove that the shooting was motivated by hate. However, officials say if the case had gone to trial, the state would have pushed for looking at the case as prejudiced against women.
Long has a plea and arraignment hearing scheduled for August 23.
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