HAPPENING TODAY: Metro Atlanta spa shooter appears court in front of victims’ families

ATLANTA — For the first time since the metro Atlanta spa shootings, family members are in the same room with the man accused of killing their loved ones.

Robert Aaron Long is accused of killing eight people at three spas. Long’s arraignment hearing started at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Channel 2 Action News will be at the courthouse for Tuesday’s hearing. Stay with WSBTV.com for updates.

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Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said that she has been informed that the Cherokee County case is expected to be resolved.

“In my world that means they’ve reached a deal,” Willis said.

Long’s 23-count indictment in Cherokee County includes murder and aggravated assault. He allegedly shot five people at Youngs Asian Massage. Four died and one survived.

“The Asian community was attacked, but I was attacked. My sister was attacked. Our family was attacked,” said Dana Toole.

Toole is Delaina Yaun’s sister. Yaun is one of the four people killed in Cherokee County.

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“A lot of people would say, ‘An eye for an eye,’” said Toole. “If she were here, she would forgive him for doing that to her. She was that kind of person. To hold that anger against him isn’t going to do me any good.”

Toole told Channel 2′s Chris Jose she’ll be at Long’s court appearance.

The Cherokee County District Attorney has not said if she will seek the death penalty or a hate crime enhancement, but Willis said it appears Cherokee County prosecutors have reached a plea deal with the accused killer.

“It looks as if there will be a guilty plea based upon the comments being made by the Fulton County DA,” said attorney Bret Williams.

Williams, a former federal prosecutor, is not tied to the case but he’s watching it closely.

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“The agreement might include the enhancement for a hate crime,” said Williams.

On Monday afternoon, Jose learned the site of the first shooting is back open for business. Jose said the signage is different and there’s an open sign at the front door. Employees told Jose they had recently re-opened with a new staff.

Jose spoke to Xiaojie “Emily” Tan’s ex-husband outside her former business.

Michael Webb told Jose he and Tan’s daughter will be at the hearing.