BREAKING: Fulton DA to seek death penalty, hate crimes charges in spa shootings
Fulton DA Fani Willis will seek the death penalty against 22-year-old Robert Aaron Long
Atlanta’s top prosecutor announced on Tuesday afternoon that she will seek the death penalty against the accused gunman in the Atlanta area spa shootings.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis announced that her office will be seeking the death penalty against 22-year-old Robert Aaron Long. In her announcement, Willis reminded everyone of what she said during her campaign: that she could never imagine a circumstance where she would seek the death penalty. “Unfortunately, a case has arisen in the first few months of my term that I believe warrants the ultimate penalty. And we shall seek it.”
Court documents revealed that Willis also plans to charge Long with a hate crime and domestic terrorism, highlighting the fact that most of the victims in the shootings are of Asian decent. Georgia’s new hate crimes law, which was passed last year following the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, is not a stand-alone crime. “After a person is convicted of an underlying crime, a jury must determine whether it’s a hate crime, which carries an additional penalty,” according to WSB-TV.
The New York Times @nytimesBreaking News: A Georgia prosecutor said that the Atlanta-area spa shootings were hate crimes, and that she would pursue the death penalty against the suspect, saying he targeted some victims because they were of Asian descent. https://t.co/bNwIo1mRmp
Reactions to Willis’ decision began pouring in as she was making her announcement. State Sen. Michelle Au (D-Johns Creek), the first and only Chinese-American woman in the Georgia Senate, said on Twitter that the murders were horrific but that the death penalty is fundamentally wrong. “Both of these things can be true at the same time,” Au said.
Chenue Her @ChenueHerBREAKING: A Fulton County prosecutor says she’ll seek hate crime charges and the death penalty for the Atlanta spa shootings after a grand jury indicted Robert Aaron Long on murder charges Tuesday. https://t.co/JAhzgAP3lF
State Rep. Bee Nguyen (D-Atlanta), a candidate for Georgia Secretary of State, was also critical of Willis’ decision. Nguyen, who is Vietnamese-American, praised the decision to charge Long with hate crimes but said that she diverges at the death penalty. “I do not believe that brings justice for anyone,” she tweeted.