A Georgia man who claimed to be addicted to s.e.x pleaded guilty on Tuesday to murdering four people as part of a shooting spree at Atlanta-area spas that highlighted the fear and intimidation felt by Asian Americans in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
Robert Aaron Long, 22, is now expected to be transferred to Atlanta where he faces four additional counts of murder and where the district attorney has indicated she will pursue hate crimes and the death penalty.
Dressed in a white, button-down shirt with an open collar, and dress slacks and sporting a mohawk haircut, Long pleaded guilty in court to the four murders at a day spa in Cherokee County, about 40 miles (64km) north of Atlanta.
Long, holding his head up but looking sombre, also affirmed agreement with the state’s recommendation of four life sentences without possibility of parole, to be served consecutively, plus 35 years on other charges. The judge confirmed that sentence.
In his first public comments since the March 16 massacre, Long calmly described how he purchased a firearm and a bottle of bourbon and set out to kill himself before deciding to harm the sex industry to which he had a self-proclaimed addiction.
Having been kicked out of his parent’s home and despondent over his “sexual struggles”, Long told the court that he went to the spa on that day to “act out, receive sexual favours and hopefully hate myself enough to…end my own life.”
The shooting spree, carried out in three spas in the metro Atlanta area, galvanised awareness of a wave of anti-Asian bias and violence in the US in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which is believed to have originated in China.
But Cherokee District Attorney Shannon Wallace said her office’s investigation did not turn up any bias based on race or gender in the fatal shootings of Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Xiaojie Yan, 49; and Daoyou Feng, 44.
Wallace said her office “was not able to conclude that it was motivated by bias or race,” because the shootings involved men and women of different races and people close to Long had never heard him say anything racist.
In other news – Video: Zodwa Wabantu goes n#de whilst exercising
Zodwa Wabantu is not ashamed of how she makes money and every time she makes sure she gives her fans a glimpse of her moneymaker.
This time the dancer has gone commando whilst exercising. Zodwa is not moved by the fact that her exercises might show people the most private parts of her body. This has resulted in Zodwa getting many followers on social. Learn more