Prosecutor to seek death penalty in Atlanta-area spa shootings

Prosecutor to seek death penalty in Atlanta-area spa shootings
© Getty Images

The man accused of killing eight people, including six Asian American women, at Atlanta-are spas in March could be facing execution if he's convicted. 

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Tuesday filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Robert Aaron Long, according to court records

Willis also filed a notice of intent to seek hate crime charges against Long, who is white, for allegedly targeting Asian women. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Long is facing multiple charges of murder and aggravated assault in connection with the shootings, which fueled a national conversation about anti-Asian bias and hate. 

Long allegedly killed four people at Young’s Asian Massage in Cherokee County before driving to Gold Spa in Atlanta, where he is accused of killing three others. An eighth person was killed at Aromatherapy Spa across the street. 

The suspect has claimed his motivation for the attack was frustration over his sexual temptation from the employees at the parlor. 

A grand jury returned an indictment on Tuesday charging Long with 19 crimes in connection with the shooting, including charges of murder, aggravated assault and one count of domestic terrorism.

The domestic terrorism charge says that he committed murder and assault “as parts of a series of unlawful acts which were interrelated by distinguishing characteristics” intended to cause harm and kill people, and to intimidate “the civilian population of this state and of its political subdivisions.” 

The indictments cover the deaths of Hyun Jung Grant, Soon Chung Park, Suncha Kim, and Yong Ae Yue. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Also killed in the attack were Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Yan and Daoyou Feng.

The Associated Press reported that a separate grand jury has to decide on charges in connection with the shooting in Cherokee County. 

The Atlanta-area shootings, in combination with one shooting in Boulder, Colo. that occurred just one week later, led to a renewed push for gun reform in the U.S. 

President BidenJoe BidenHaiti prime minister warns inequality will cause migration to continue Pelosi: House must pass 3 major pieces of spending legislation this week Erdoğan says Turkey plans to buy another Russian defense system MORE has called on Congress to pass gun reform measures, and has unveiled a series of executive actions aimed at the issue. 

—Updated at 3:53 p.m.