ATLANTA — The man accused of killing four people in shootings earlier this year at a pair of spas in Atlanta pleaded not guilty to charges including murder, aggravated assault and domestic terrorism, according to WSB-TV.
Robert Aaron Long, 22, appeared in Fulton County court Tuesday for an arraignment on the charges. He is expected to next appear in court in November, WSB reported.
Long is accused of killing Suncha Kim, 69; Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; and Yong Ae Yue, 63; on March 16 during shootings at Gold Spa and Aromatherapy Spa in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. The shootings happened after Long opened fire at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor in Acworth, killing Xiaojie “Emily” Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; Delaina Yaun, 33; and Paul Michels, 54.
In July, a judge handed down four life sentences to Long after he pleaded guilty to the Acworth shootings as part of a deal with prosecutors in Cherokee County.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis last month said Long’s attorneys had reached out in hopes of making a deal in relation to the Atlanta killings, however, she said she planned to pursue the death penalty in the case, WSB reported. She is also seeking a sentencing enhancement under Georgia’s hate crimes law based on the race and gender of the victims, according to the news station.
“I don’t want our victims to get lost,” Willis said, according to WSB. “These were all women who worked and lived in our community. They were mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, friends.”
Many of the people killed in the March shootings were of Asian descent, although investigators previously said that race did not play a factor in the attack. Instead, Long said in court that he wanted to “punish” people for his sexual addition, WSB-TV reported.
Authorities in Cherokee County previously determined they did not have sufficient evidence to pursue a hate crime penalty enhancement in the case, according to the news station.
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