A man accused of killing four people at a spa near Atlanta has pleaded not guilty to the deaths.
Robert Aaron Long, the man accused of killing four people at an Atlanta massage parlor earlier this year, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to the killings of four other individuals in the same shooting spree, according to authorities.
Long entered the plea in a Fulton County courthouse on Tuesday.
Long, 22, was sentenced to life in prison in July after pleading guilty to killing four people during a spree at a massage parlor in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta.
Long then traveled to two more parlors in Atlanta and killed four more people, according to prosecutors and police. Long is pleading not guilty in order to avoid execution after Atlanta prosecutors stated they would pursue the capital sentence for the crimes.
The shootings at three massage parlors resulted in the deaths of eight persons. Long, according to prosecutors, was the gunman in all three cases. He is also charged with domestic terrorism in the Atlanta case.
Because the majority of the victims were women of Asian origin, Fulton County prosecutor Fani Willis is also seeking harsher punishment under the state’s hate crime law. The killings, according to Willis, were motivated by race and gender.
Long informed police after his arrest that he targeted the parlors to rid himself of a sexual addiction and to “punish” sex workers.
Long is scheduled to appear in court again on Nov. 23.
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