Man pleads guilty to 4 Asian spa killings, sentenced to life
July 28, 2021
CANTON, Ga. - A man accused of killing eight people, mostly women of Asian descent, at Atlanta-area massage businesses pleaded guilty to murder Tuesday in four of the killings and was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Robert Aaron Long, 22, still faces the death penalty in the other deaths, which are being prosecuted in another county. The string of shootings at three businesses in March ignited outrage and fueled fear among Asian Americans, who already faced increased hostility linked to the coronavirus pandemic. Many were particularly upset when authorities suggested Long's crimes weren't racially motivated but born of a sex addiction, which isn't recognized as an official disorder.
Cherokee County prosecutors had planned to seek the death penalty but decided a plea deal would bring swift justice and avoid any lengthy appeals. That's what the victims and their families who they were able to contact wanted, District Attorney Shannon Wallace said.