Prosecutors confirmed that they will seek the death penalty for Robert Aaron Long, the suspect accused of shooting and murdering four people at two Asian-run day spas in Fulton County, Georgia, Reuters reports.
Long is the suspect in three shootings that took place on March 16. The shootings killed a total of eight people, including six Asian women.
He now faces the death penalty for killing 69-year-old Suncha Kim, 74-year-old Soon Chung Park, 51-year-old Hyun Jung Grant, and 63-year-old Yong Ae Yue, 63 at the Gold Spa and Aromatherapy Spa in Fulton County.
Long appeared in Fulton County court for the first time Monday morning, FOX 5 reports.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis told the press she is comfortable with her decision to seek the death penalty, though it may mean a longer trial.
“Seeking justice – sometimes it’s not swift and it takes a long time, but we’re on that road,” Willis said at a press conference after Long’s hearing, according to FOX 5.
Willis also filed court papers stating her intention to seek hate crime charges against Long, Reuters reports.
Long has already pleaded guilty to charges of murder, aggravated assault, and more in Cherokee County for the shooting Youngs Asian Massage near Acworth.
Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace said she might have pursued the death penalty and argued Long was motivated by gender bias, FOX 5 reports. However, the families told her they wanted swift justice and not a trial.
Wallace was prepared to argue Long may have been motivated by gender bias, but unlike Willis does not believe race played a role. She pointed out that the victims at Youngs Asian Massage were diverse. Long was “shooting anyone and everyone he saw.”
All four of the victims in Fulton County were Asian, and Willis intends to argue that Long’s actions were racially motivated.
“I am very comfortable with my decision to request sentencing enhancement based on the fact that race and gender played a role,” Willis stated according to CBS. “Lady Justice is finally blind … every single person in this community has value and we will fight for them as hard as we would fight for any victim.”
AsAmNews has Asian America in its heart. We’re an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. Check out our new Instagram account. Go to our Twitter feed and Facebook page for more content. Please consider interning, joining our staff, or submitting a story or making a contribution.