A man already sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to fatally shooting four people at a spa outside Atlanta pleaded not guilty to shooting four others on the same day at two spas inside the city. Six of the victims were Asian women.
Those killed outside Atlanta in Cherokee County were: Paul Michels, 54; Xiaojie “Emily” Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; and Delaina Yaun, 33. The Atlanta victims were: Suncha Kim, 69; Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; and Yong Ae Yue, 63.
In Fulton County, which includes Atlanta, District Attorney Fani Willis is seeking the death penalty as well as a sentencing enhancement under Georgia’s new hate crimes law.
On Tuesday, Robert Aaron Long, 22, appeared briefly in Fulton County Superior Court, where he waived arraignment and entered a not guilty plea on charges including murder, aggravated assault and domestic terrorism.
In July, the defendant pleaded guilty in Cherokee County to charges including four counts of murder. He received four sentences of life without parole plus an additional 35 years.
Tuesday was the second time the defendant appeared before Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville. The hearing lasted a few minutes. Glanville asked the defense if they wanted to waive indictment and plead not guilty, and defense attorney Jerilyn Bell said yes. The defendant did not address the judge. Glanville set the next hearing in the case for November 23.
During a brief appearance last month, Glanville asked defense attorneys — court-appointed lawyers from the Georgia capital defender’s office — about their qualifications to handle a death penalty case and went through a checklist specific to capital cases.