Atlanta spa shooter Robert Aaron Long pleads guilty

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Atlanta spa shooter Robert Aaron Long pleads guilty

Accused Georgia spa mass shooter Robert Aaron Long pleaded guilty Tuesday to four counts of murder — but could still face the death penalty for the other four who were gunned down.

Wearing a white button-down shirt and slacks and sporting a mohawk haircut, Long, 22, pleaded guilty in court to all four murders in Cherokee County, the first part of a shocking shooting spree in March.

He held his head up but looked somber as he agreed to the state’s recommendation of four life sentences without possibility of parole, to be served consecutively, plus 35 years on other charges.

Prosecutors had said they planned to seek the death penalty if he did not plead guilty.

He still faces a potential death sentence, however, if convicted in four more shooting deaths in Atlanta, where he faces charges of domestic terrorism with a hate crime enhancement in addition to murder. Long is white and six of the victims were women of Asian descent.

In Cherokee County, he admitted to killing Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33, Paul Andre Michels, 54, Xiaojie Yan, 49, and Daoyou Feng, 44.

Flowers laid outside of strip mall spa.
Prosecutors had said they planned to seek the death penalty if Robert Aaron Long did not plead guilty.
EPA

Long walked through the massage business in Woodstock “shooting anyone and everyone he saw,” District Attorney Shannon Wallace said.

But the prosecutor said he was motivated by a “sex addiction” and his desire to eliminate sources of his temptation, not by any hate against Asians or women.

“All of the evidence that was gathered with regard to Cherokee County, your honor, came to the same conclusion, that this crime was not motivated by a bias or hate against Asian Americans,” the prosecutor insisted.

“This was not any kind of hate crime,” she said.

People with the medical examiner's office wheel out a body on a stretcher.
Robert Aaron Long still faces a potential death sentence if convicted in four additional shooting deaths in Fulton County.
AFP via Getty Images

Long is scheduled to appear again next month in Fulton County for the Atlanta shootings.

There, District Attorney Fani Willis filed notice that she intends to seek a hate crime sentence enhancement along with the death penalty, based on the actual or perceived race, national origin, sex and gender of the four women killed in Atlanta.

The 19-count Fulton County indictment includes charges of murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and domestic terrorism.

Police said that after the shootings at the two Atlanta spas, Long got back into his car and headed south.

Memorial for spa shooting victims.
The 19-count Fulton County indictment includes charges of murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and domestic terrorism.
AP

By then, Long’s parents had called authorities to help after recognizing their son in still images from security video that the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office posted on social media.

His parents were already tracking his movements through an application on his phone, the prosecutor said, and that enabled authorities to track their son down Interstate 75.

Long then surrendered to authorities in rural Crisp County, about 140 miles south of Atlanta.

With Post wires

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