Two grand juries on May 11 have indicted Robert Aaron Long, the suspect in the Atlanta-area spa shootings that killed eight people last March, on murder and domestic terror charges.
The separate indictments from two grand juries in the counties of Fulton and Cherokee include four counts of murder, four counts of felony murder, five counts of assault with a deadly weapon, four counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and one count of domestic terrorism.
Following the indictment, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis filed a notice that she is seeking hate crime charges and the death penalty against Long, a white man who killed six Asian women among the eight victims.
According to online records, the hate crime charges are based on actual or perceived race, national origin, sex and gender.
Willis’ move on the death penalty goes against her stance during her campaign for office last year.
“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 it,” Willis said at a press conference.
Meanwhile, Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace said there was still no decision on whether she will also seek the death penalty.
According to the police, Long opened fire at three separate spas in the Atlanta area, killing eight people and injuring one man last March 16.
The killings came amid a recent wave of attacks against Asian Americans in the United States.
Long denied being racially motivated and Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Captain Jay Baker said that Long perceived the spas as “a temptation that he wanted to eliminate.”
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