ATLANTA — A day after pleading guilty to killing four people in Cherokee County, spa shooter Robert Aaron Long has been transferred to Fulton County to face charges there.
Sporting a new buzz cut courtesy of the Georgia Department of Corrections, the 22-year-old gunman was taken from the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison in Jackson to the county jail in downtown Atlanta on Wednesday morning. He was booked about 10:50 a.m., Fulton County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Tracy Flanagan said.
Authorities in Cherokee County said Long was transported to the state prison in Jackson after pleading guilty Tuesday morning in the fatal shootings of four people at Youngs Asian Massage along Ga. 92. Cherokee County prosecutors opted not to pursue the death penalty in the March 16 shooting spree, and Long was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole, plus 35 years.
Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace said she was prepared to seek the death penalty but opted for the “swift justice” that concluded the first of the two cases against Long in a matter of months. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, however, has said she plans to pursue the death penalty in the Atlanta shootings, and that hate crime charges are still on the table.
New details emerged Tuesday morning about the shooting spree that garnered international attention.
After killing four people at the Cherokee County spa and wounding a fifth, Long is accused of driving to northeast Atlanta and fatally shooting four more women at two spas there. Six of the eight people killed that day were women of Asian descent, and Willis said she is confident she has enough evidence to prove the charges against Long were motivated, in part, by bias.
Speaking in front of a packed Cherokee County courtroom Tuesday morning, Long blamed his actions on a sex addiction that he said left him racked with guilt and clouded his judgment. Authorities said Long had frequented all three spas where the shootings occurred, and that he opened fire at Youngs after paying for and receiving sexual services.
Long was raised in a fundamentalist Christian church, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has previously reported, that taught sex outside of marriage is a sin. It’s a belief he repeated to Superior Court Judge Ellen McElyea when she asked him why he thought watching pornography was wrong.
“The defendant’s rationale for this crime is sick and twisted, and hard for a rational mind to comprehend,” Wallace said. “He claimed that he was blame-shifting and committed the crimes because of his own inabilities to control his impulses to watch pornography and then act out the sexual urges. The fact is there is no one to blame for the defendant’s failures and sins but the defendant himself.”
Long faces 19 charges in Fulton, including four counts of murder, four counts of felony murder, five counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, five counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and one count of domestic terrorism.
His arraignment hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Aug. 23, court records show.