ATLANTA (AP) — A man already sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to fatally shooting four people at a massage business outside Atlanta pleaded not guilty to shooting four others on the same day at two spas inside the city.
Robert Aaron Long, 22, appeared briefly Tuesday in Fulton County Superior Court, where he waived arraignment and entered a not guilty plea on charges including murder, aggravated assault and domestic terrorism. District Attorney Fani Willis is seeking the death penalty, as well as a sentencing enhancement under Georgia’s new hate crimes law.
In July, Long pleaded guilty in Cherokee County to charges including four counts of murder. He received four sentences of life without parole plus an additional 35 years.
Those killed in Cherokee County were: Paul Michels, 54; Xiaojie “Emily” Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; and Delaina Yaun, 33. The Atlanta victims were: Suncha Kim, 69; Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; and Yong Ae Yue, 63.
Tuesday was the second time Long appeared before Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville. The hearing lasted a few minutes. Glanville asked the defense if they wanted to waive indictment and plead not guilty, and defense attorney Jerilyn Bell said yes. Long did not address the judge. Glanville set the next hearing in the case for Nov. 23.
During a brief appearance last month, Glanville asked Long's defense attorneys — court-appointed lawyers from the Georgia capital defender's office — about their qualifications to handle a death penalty case and went through a checklist specific to capital cases.
When the killings happened in March, Asian Americans were already experiencing an uptick in hostility related to the coronavirus pandemic. The fact that a majority of the slain victims were women of Asian descent exacerbated existing feelings of fear and anger. Many have been upset by Long's asserti