Updated Jul 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Atlanta-area spa shooter sentenced to life without parole

The Gold Spa, one day after a gunman shot and killed eight people at three separate Atlanta spa locations, March 17, 2021.
The Gold Spa, one day after a gunman shot and killed eight people at three separate Atlanta spa locations. Photo: VIRGINIE KIPPELEN/AFP via Getty Images

Robert Aaron Long, 22, of Georgia, was sentenced Tuesday to life without parole after pleading guilty to murder and other charges related to a series of deadly spa shootings in Atlanta, AP reports.

The big picture: Cherokee County Superior Court Chief Judge Ellen McElyea accepted the plea deal, and Long was given four life sentences after a prosecutor said investigators found no evidence of racial bias.

  • Six of the eight victims in the shootings were Asian women. Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace told the judge “the defense's position is that this was not any type of hate crime."
  • Long faces a hate crime enhancement for his trial in Atlanta.

Background: The attacks started at Youngs Asian Massage Parlor in Cherokee County. Two people were killed at the scene, and three were taken to the hospital, where two of them later died.

  • Police said Long then drove south to Atlanta, where he shot and killed three women, all of whom were of Asian descent.

What to watch: Long is set to appear in Fulton County next month, where he faces charges of murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and domestic terrorism.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify the quote from DA Shannon Wallace. In an earlier version, the story included an incomplete quote, saying “This was not any kind of hate crime,” as previously reported by AP. The full quote is, “Your honor, in discussing this case with Mr. Burns, the defense’s position is that this was not any type of hate crime.”

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