Atlanta spa shooter appears for hearing in county seeking death penalty

Atlanta spa shooter appears for hearing in county seeking death penalty
via Atlanta News First
Carl Samson
September 29, 2023
The man who pleaded guilty to four of the eight murders in the infamous Atlanta-area spa shootings is attending a pre-trial motions hearing in Fulton County.
Background: Robert Aaron Long is already serving a life sentence in Cherokee County after pleading guilty to the four murders that occurred there on March 16, 2021. However, he pleaded not guilty to the other four killings that took place in Fulton, where he faces the death penalty for charges with hate crime enhancements.
The Fulton victims were all Asian. They were identified as Soon Chung Park, 74, Suncha Kim, 69, Yong Ae Yue, 63 and Hyun Jung Grant, 51.
Court appearance: Long’s death penalty trial has been delayed multiple times for various reasons. On Thursday, he appeared at Fulton County Superior Court for the continuation of a pre-trial motions hearing.
Robert Aaron Long. Image via Crisp County Sheriff’s Office
What he is saying: Long previously blamed his actions on a “sex addiction.” He allegedly planned to kill himself on the day of the shooting, telling the court (via FOX 5): “My hope is that I would hate myself enough at that point and possess enough self-loathing to end my life. I was scared of killing myself. I wanted to try to overcome that so I could. So, I went up to the liquor store.”
What the defense is saying: Long was 21 years old at the time of the shootings. In court, his lawyers argued that his brain was not fully developed at the time, which made him more prone to impulsive behaviors.
A clinical neuropsychologist also testified for him. “If it’s a negative emotional state then there is more attention that is paid to that versus the ability to show good judgment, respond consistently, respond effectively,” said Dr. Joette James, as per WSB-TV.
What prosecutors are saying: Prosecutors argued that Long’s age should not be a consideration because he was already an adult at the time of the shootings. They cited the cases of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man behind the Boston Marathon bombing, and Dylan Roof, the man behind the Charleston church shooting, who committed their crimes at ages 19 and 21, respectively, and subsequently received the death sentence.
The pre-trial hearing continues today.
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