CANTON, Ga. – A Georgia antheral accused of sidesplitting 8 radical astatine 3 Atlanta-area massage businesses was pleading blameworthy successful Cherokee County connected Tuesday, hoping for a condemnation of beingness without parole to the archetypal 4 of the shooting deaths.
Robert Aaron Long faces inactive faces the decease punishment if convicted successful 4 much shooting deaths successful Atlanta, wherever helium faces charges of home coercion with a hatred transgression enhancement successful summation to murder. Long is achromatic and six of the victims were women of Asian descent.
A justice was proceeding a authoritative picture details of his crimes. The authoritative said the 22-year-old suspect has signed a plea woody admitting to each of the charges successful Cherokee County, wherever helium was accused of malice murder, felony murder, effort to perpetrate execution and aggravated assault.
Police person said the attacks began erstwhile Long changeable and killed 4 people, 3 of them women and 2 of Asian descent, astatine Youngs Asian Massage adjacent Woodstock conscionable earlier 5 p.m. connected March 16, 2020. He besides changeable and wounded a 5th person, they say.
Long past drove southbound to Atlanta, wherever helium changeable and killed 3 women astatine Gold Spa earlier going crossed the the thoroughfare to Aromatherapy Spa and fatally shooting different woman, constabulary person said. All of the Atlanta victims were women of Asian descent.
Those killed astatine the Cherokee County spa were: Xiaojie “Emily” Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; Delaina Yaun, 33; and Paul Michels, 54. The Atlanta victims were: Suncha Kim, 69; Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; and Yong Ae Yue, 63.
Long is scheduled to look again adjacent period successful Fulton County, wherever District Attorney Fani Willis filed announcement that she intends to question a hatred transgression condemnation enhancement on with the decease penalty, based connected the existent oregon perceived race, nationalist origin, enactment and sex of the 4 women killed successful Atlanta.
Georgia’s caller hatred crimes instrumentality does not supply for a stand-alone hatred crime. After a idiosyncratic is convicted of an underlying crime, a assemblage indispensable find whether it’s motivated by bias, which carries an further penalty.
The 19-count Fulton County indictment includes charges of murder, felony murder, aggravated battle and home terrorism.
Police said that aft the shootings astatine the 2 Atlanta spas, Long got backmost into his car and headed south.
By then, Long’s parents had called authorities to assistance aft recognizing their lad successful inactive images from information video that the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office posted connected societal media. His parents were already tracking his movements done his “find my iPhone” app, the authoritative said, and that enabled authorities to way their lad down Interstate 75.
State troopers and sheriff’s deputies spotted his SUV, and 1 of them forced Long to rotation to a halt by bumping his vehicle. Long past surrendered to authorities successful agrarian Crisp County, astir 140 miles (225 kilometers) southbound of Atlanta.
Long told constabulary his onslaught was not racially motivated, and a Cherokee sheriff’s spokesperson said it did not look to beryllium a hatred crime, prompting wide skepticism and outrage.
“He seemingly has an issue, what helium considers a enactment addiction, and sees these locations arsenic thing that allows him to spell to these places, and it’s a temptation for him that helium wanted to eliminate,” Cherokee sheriff’s Capt. Jay Baker initially told reporters.
Baker besides drew disapproval for saying Long had “a truly atrocious day,” and was removed from the case.
State Rep. Bee Nguyen, the archetypal Vietnamese American to service successful the Georgia House and a predominant advocator for women and communities of color, said the shootings appeared to beryllium astatine the “intersection of gender-based violence, misogyny and xenophobia.” And Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said that careless of the shooter’s motivation, “it is unacceptable, it is hateful and it has to stop.”
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