The man accused of killing eight people during a string of shootings at spas throughout the Atlanta Metro area in March pleaded guilty to four counts of murder. Robert Aaron Long agreed to plead guilty as part of a deal with Cherokee County prosecutors to avoid the death penalty.
Long killed four people, Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33, Paul Andre Michels, 54, Xiaojie Tan, 49, and Daoyou Feng, 44, at the Young's Asians Massage Parlor. He then drove to Atlanta, where he killed four others at two different spas.
He is facing four consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole plus an additional 35 years in prison, but his lawyers are expected to ask for a lesser sentence.
While Long may have avoided the death penalty in Cherokee County, he could still be sentenced to death in Fulton County, where he shot and killed the other four victims, Soon Chung Park, 74, Suncha Kim, 69, Yong Ae Yue, 63, and Hyun Jung Grant, 51. He is facing 19 charges in Fulton County, including domestic terrorism. That trial may not get underway until 2024 due to a backlog of cases stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
Fani Willis, the district attorney in Fulton County, told the New York Times that she will keep an "open mind" about a plea bargain to spare Long the death penalty but currently has every intention of taking the case to trial where he can be sentenced to death.