Prosecutor plans to seek death penalty in spa shootings

ATLANTA  — A man accused of killing eight people, six of them women of Asian descent, in shootings at three Atlanta-area massage businesses was indicted May 11 on murder charges, and a prosecutor filed notice that she’ll also seek hate crime charges and the death penalty.

A Fulton County grand jury indicted Robert Aaron Long, 22, in the March 16 slayings of Suncha Kim, 69; Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; and Yong Ae Yue, 63.

The indictment only covers those four killings that happened at two spas in Atlanta, and not the attack in Cherokee County in which Xiaojie “Emily” Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; Delaina Yaun, 33; and Paul Michels, 54, were killed.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis also filed notice that she intends to seek hate crime charges and the death penalty against Long, who is white. The hate crime charges are based on the actual or perceived race, national origin, sex and gender of the four women killed, the notice says.

Georgia’s new hate crimes law does not provide for a stand-alone hate crime. After a person is convicted of an underlying crime, a jury must determine whether it’s a hate crime, which carries an additional penalty.

The indictment charges Long with four counts of murder, four counts of felony murder, five counts of assault with a deadly weapon, four counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and one count of domestic terrorism, according to online records.

The domestic terrorism charge says Long committed a series of illegal acts “which were interrelated by distinguishing characteristics, with the intent to cause serious bodily harm and to kill individuals and groups of individuals, and with the intent to intimidate the civilian population of this state and of its political subdivisions.”

Four of the aggravated assault charges have to do with the shootings of the four victims who died. For the fifth, the indictment says Long pointed a gun at another woman, causing her “reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury.”

The notice of intent to seek hate crimes charges says she was targeted based on her actual or perceived sex and gender.

Speak Your Mind

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Kyplex Cloud Security Seal - Click for Verification