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Atlanta-area spa shootings suspect pleads guilty to Cherokee County charges

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Robert Aaron Long has agreed to plead guilty to fatally shooting four people at a spa in Cherokee County, Georgia.

He is accused of killing Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Xiaojie Tan, 49; and Daoyou Feng, 44, on March 16 when he opened fire inside the Young’s Asians Massage Parlor. That same day he’s accused of killing four others at two spas in Atlanta.

Long was indicted on 23 charges related to the Cherokee County shooting including malicious murder, felony murder, and aggravated assault. Although the state said several of the charges will either merge or be vacated by the law, he pleaded guilty to every charge as part of an agreement.

Prosecutors recommended that he be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Long, who was dressed in a white button-down shirt and gray pants with shackles around his waist and wrists, only spoke during the hearing to accept the plea agreement.

Evidence shows that Long entered the spa and paid for a service, prosecutors said. He had a handgun with 17 bullets in his pocket that he had purchased earlier that day along with a box of 50 bullets, the prosecutor said. His service ended around 4:45 p.m.

Prosecutors said Long then went into a back bathroom after leaving the bathroom, he fatally shot Michels who had been leaning over a counter looking at his cellphone.

“According to the defendant’s statement, he pulled the 9mm handgun out, raised it toward Mr. Michels, and shot one time, executing him,” the prosecutor said.

Long then walked toward the front of the spa, “shooting anyone and everyone he saw,” according to the prosecutor.

Feng, who had been employed with the spa for only a few months, was in a room with a customer when gunfire erupted. Prosecutors said Feng was shot when she poked her head out of the room to see what was going on. The customer in the room survived.

As gunshots continued to ring out, employees and customers ran into rooms to hide.

Tan was hiding in a room when she was shot once in the head, according to prosecutors. After killing her, Long went into another room where a customer was crouching down behind a massage table.

Long shot the customer once in the face but the man survived. Prosecutors told the courtroom that the bullet was “still lodged in his body” and the man was present in the courtroom for the hearing.

Yaun was at the spa with her husband, Mario Gonzalez, for a couple’s massage. The two were in separate rooms when the shooting began. Prosecutors said Yaun was killed as she crouched in the corner of a room. The bullet went through her body and into a neighboring business.

According to the state, six employees and customers survived the attack, including Gonzalez. Prosecutors said they were either hiding in rooms where someone else was shot or were in rooms Long did not enter.

The entire shooting spree at the spa lasted less than 10 minutes. Prosecutors said evidence shows Long left the business at around 4:50 p.m. and drove to Atlanta, where he is accused of carrying out two other shootings.

The hearing is ongoing.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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