(ATLANTA) — The 22-year-old man who killed eight people during a shooting rampage in March targeting Atlanta-area spas pleaded guilty Tuesday to four of the murders and accepted a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Robert Aaron Long entered his plea in Cherokee County Superior Court after answering a series of questions from Judge Ellen McElyea. He loathed his sexual addiction, he said, and it drove him to transfer blame from himself to sex workers at the spas he frequented for sex.
Long pleaded guilty to the killings he committed on March 16 at Young’s Asian Massage near the Atlanta suburb of Woodstock in Cherokee County.
Killed in the Cherokee County massacre were Xiaojie “Emily” Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; Delaina Yaun, 33; and Paul Michels, 54.
Long still faces multiple murder charges in Fulton County, where he allegedly continued his shooting rampage at two different spas in Atlanta.
He 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.
Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace told McElyea that while most of the victims were Asian, a thorough investigation involving the FBI found no evidence to warrant bringing hate crimes against Long. Wallace said investigators interviewed more than 40 people, including Asian friends of Long, and found “this was not any kind of hate crime.”
McElyea responded, “Once hatred is given a gun, it doesn’t matter who gets in the way. We are all subject to being the victim of a hate crime, whether we belong to that group or not.”
In May, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis filed court documents saying her office intends to seek the death penalty and hate crime charges against Long.
Willis filed a motion last week requesting Long be transferred to the Fulton County jail following his court hearing in Cherokee County, and requested to schedule an arraignment for Long in Fulton County “on or before Aug. 6, 2021, or as soon as practical,” according to court documents.
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.