Robert Aaron Long appeared Tuesday in Fulton County Superior Court. The judge set an April 19, 2022 motions hearing. Long pleaded not guilty on charges including murder, aggravated assault and domestic terrorism.
District Attorney Fani Willis is seeking the death penalty, as well as a sentencing enhancement under Georgia’s new hate crimes law.
In July, Long pleaded guilty in Cherokee County to charges including four counts of murder. He received four sentences of life without parole plus an additional 35 years.
Robert Aaron Long (Fulton County Sheriff's Office)
After shooting five people at Youngs Asian Massage in Cherokee County, Long drove about 30 miles south to Atlanta, where he shot three women at Gold Spa and one woman across the street at Aromatherapy Spa, police have said.
Those killed in Cherokee County were: Paul Michels, 54; Xiaojie "Emily" Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; and Delaina Yaun, 33. The Atlanta victims were: Suncha Kim, 69; Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; and Yong Ae Yue, 63.
When the killings happened in March, Asian Americans were already experiencing an uptick in hostility related to the coronavirus pandemic. The fact that a majority of the slain victims were women of Asian descent exacerbated existing feelings of fear and anger. Many have been upset by Long’s assertions that he was motivated by the shame he felt from sexual urges, rather than by racial bias.