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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.”

Go deeper

Study shows Black offenders more likely to get federal life sentences

Protesters call for criminal justice reform outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Black Americans are more likely to get federal life sentences than whites or Latinos, a new study has found.

Why it matters: The analysis, published recently in Criminology, further illustrates the racial disparities of federal sentencing at a time when advocates are pushing for sentencing reforms for nonviolent offenders.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Laurene Powell Jobs' $3.5 billion climate campaign

Laurene Powell Jobs, president of Emerson Collective, is investing $3.5 billion in her new climate-action group, the Waverley Street Foundation — all to be spent in 10 years, as a way to show urgency on the issue.

  • Then the group will sunset.

The big picture: The foundation "will focus on initiatives and ideas that will aid underserved communities who are most impacted by climate change," an official tells Axios.

R. Kelly found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking

Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Singer R. Kelly on Monday was found guilty of racketeering and eight counts of violating an anti-sex trafficking law, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Sexual misconduct allegations have surrounded R. Kelly's career, including a child sexual abuse image case in 2008 where he was acquitted. Multiple other victims have come forward to speak about the abuse in recent years.