Man receives life sentences in spa killings
Robert Aaron Long pleaded guilty to four of the eight murders he is accused of committing in March. The shooting spree at Asian massage businesses in the Atlanta area stoked fear of race-based violence among Asian Americans. On Tuesday, a judge gave Long four sentences of life in prison without parole in the killings at Young Asian Massage Parlor in Cherokee County, Ga.
Is Long charged with a hate crime? Cherokee County prosecutors said they believe shame over having engaged in inappropriate behavior at the businesses motivated Long, 22, to commit the killings—not racial hatred. Long said he planned to kill himself the day of the shootings but decided to kill the people inside the spas instead. Across the county line in Atlanta, prosecutors plan to request a “hate crime sentence enhancement” and the death penalty if a jury convicts Long of murder. He shot and killed four women of Asian descent at two spas in the city.
Dig deeper: Read Charissa Koh’s report in Compassion about problems with sex trafficking in U.S. massage parlors.
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