Robert Aaron Long, the suspect in the shootings that left eight people dead at three Atlanta-area Asian spas, has been indicted on murder charges, with prosecutors seeking the death penalty for hate crimes targeting the sex and race of the victims.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis filed notice with the Fulton Superior Court on Tuesday that she plans to seek the death penalty and enhanced hate crimes charges against Long in the first test of a hate crime law passed by the Georgia Legislature last year.
“I, along with my staff, have made a determination that this office will seek the death penalty,” Willis told reporters. “Last year, I told the voters of Fulton County that I could not imagine a circumstance where I would seek it. And at that time I did not.”
“Unfortunately, a case has arisen in the first few months of my term that I believe warrants the ultimate penalty,” she added. Further, we have filed a notice that we will seek sentence enhancement, pursuant to Georgia’s sentencing enhancement statute, commonly referred to as a hate crime statute, based on the race and gender of the victims.”