Robert Aaron Long’s attorneys are pushing efforts to ensure the man accused of killing eight people during a shooting spree at three Atlanta-area spas in March 2021 does not get the death penalty.
Long, 23, appeared in a Fulton County courtroom on Tuesday, where his defense attorneys filed more than two dozen motions, including considerations to keep him off of death row. The court proceeding also looked into which motions would require evidence and testimony.
The judge gave the state until July 30 to respond to the motions. Both sides are expected to go through details with the judge when trial begins in mid-October.
However, prosecutors continue to work for the death penalty against Long and will push back against his attorneys’ motions, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said. Willis added that her team would also “pursue hate crime charges associated with the women killed in Fulton County” in the case.
Long killed eight people, including six Asian women, when he opened fire in three different spas in Cherokee County and Atlanta in March 2021. The man reportedly began his shooting spree in Cherokee County before moving on to two other spas in Fulton County.
The female Asian victims at Young’s Asian Massage in Cherokee County were identified as Xiaojie “Emily” Tan, 49, and Daoyou Feng, 44.
The victims at two other spas on Piedmont Road in Fulton County were Suncha Kim, 69; Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; and Yong Ae Yue, 63.
Long pleaded guilty to the shooting in Cherokee County in July 2021 However, he did not plead guilty to the charges in Fulton County in September, including murder, aggravated assault and domestic terrorism.
Long was charged with four life sentences without parole for the first shooting incident.
In March, Long’s attorney said they are “committed to moving towards a resolution while meeting our ethical and legal obligations required by the Georgia Supreme Court and the United States Constitution when the State is seeking the death penalty.”