Ga. plans to seek death penalty, hate crime charges for Atlanta spa suspect

FILE-In this Wednesday, March 17, 2021 file photo, A make-shift memorial is seen outside a business where a multiple fatal shooting occurred on Tuesday, in Acworth, Ga. Robert Aaron Long, 22, accused of killing eight people, six of them women of Asian descent, in shootings at three Atlanta-area massage businesses was indicted Tuesday, May 11, 2021, on murder charges, and a prosecutor filed notice that she'll also seek hate crime charges and the death penalty. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)

FILE-In this Wednesday, March 17, 2021 file photo, A make-shift memorial is seen outside a business where a multiple fatal shooting occurred, in Acworth, Ga. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)

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UPDATED 12:40 AM PT – Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The man who allegedly shot and killed eight people, with the majority of those victims being women of Asian descent, could be facing hate crime charges and the possibility of a death penalty. Robert Aaron Long, 22, is the suspect of three separate Atlanta spa shootings that occurred on March 16.

On June 23, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation allowing additional penalties to be imposed for crimes motivated by a victim’s race, religion, sexual orientation or other factors. County District Attorney Fani Willis announced on Tuesday she intends to move forward with hate crime charges and the death penalty. Willis said that the alleged crime requires the toughest consequence that she can legally pursue.

FILE - This March 16, 2021 booking photo provided by the Crisp County, Ga., Sheriff's Office shows Robert Aaron Long, 22, accused of killing eight people, six of them women of Asian descent, in shootings at three Atlanta-area massage businesses. Long was indicted Tuesday, May 11, 2021, on murder charges, and a prosecutor filed notice that she'll also seek hate crime charges and the death penalty. (Crisp County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

FILE – Robert Aaron Long, 22, accused of killing eight people in shootings at three Atlanta-area massage businesses. (Crisp County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File)

Earlier that day, a Fulton County grand jury indicted Long with multiple charges, which included murder, assault with a deadly weapon and domestic terrorism. Due to the variety of offences in various counties, Long was tried by a separate jury in nearby Cherokee County, where he was also indicted on multiple charges ranging from felony murder to aggravated assault.

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