Canton attorney appointed to represent suspect in spa killings

031721 Acworth: U.S. Army veteran Latrelle Rolling (left) and Jessica Lang (right) both pause to pray after dropping off flowers at Young’s Asian Massage where four people were killed on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, in Acworth. At least eight people were found dead at three different spas in the Atlanta area Tuesday by suspected killer Robert Aaron Long.  “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”
Caption
031721 Acworth: U.S. Army veteran Latrelle Rolling (left) and Jessica Lang (right) both pause to pray after dropping off flowers at Young’s Asian Massage where four people were killed on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, in Acworth. At least eight people were found dead at three different spas in the Atlanta area Tuesday by suspected killer Robert Aaron Long. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

A Canton attorney has been appointed to represent the 21-year-old man accused of killing eight people in a shooting spree that began in Cherokee County.

The county’s office of indigent defense appointed J. Daran Burns to represent Robert Aaron Long, who has been charged with eight counts of murder and one aggravated assault charge. Long is accused in three March 16 shootings in Cherokee and Fulton counties.

“Our firm has been in Cherokee County for twenty-five years, and when tragedy happens in our community, we feel it,” Burns said in an emailed statement. “Our condolences are with the victims and their families. We are working on behalf of our client, Robert Aaron Long, to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident.”

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Investigators believe Long killed four people inside an Acworth-area business, then drove to Atlanta, where he’s accused of killing four others in two spas. He was captured that night about 150 miles south of Atlanta and returned to Cherokee, where he was being held without bond Tuesday.

Long waived his first court appearance last week. No other court hearings have been scheduled.

“Everybody is doing their jobs, both law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office,” Burns said. “Now, our firm will conduct a thorough investigation on our client’s behalf.”

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Attorney Daran Burns has been appointed to represent Robert Long, accused of killing eight people in three metro Atlanta spas.

Credit: Burns Law Group

Attorney Daran Burns has been appointed to represent Robert Long, accused of killing eight people in three metro Atlanta spas.
Caption
Attorney Daran Burns has been appointed to represent Robert Long, accused of killing eight people in three metro Atlanta spas.

Credit: Burns Law Group

Credit: Burns Law Group

Burns declined to make any additional comments on the case.

A graduate of the University of Georgia law school, Burns has run The Burns Law Group for nearly three decades. He has been involved with several high-profile cases in Cherokee.

In 2012, he was one of two attorneys who represented Ryan Brunn, who pleaded guilty to the December 2011 murder of 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera. Brunn, a groundskeeper at an apartment complex, lured the girl to a vacant apartment, where he molested her and killed her before putting her body in a dumpster. Brunn later killed himself in prison.

And in 2011, Burns represented a Cherokee County teacher who in 2008 confined an autistic boy to a chair with duct tape and kept a blind girl under a desk. That teacher, Laurie Peavy, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and was sentenced to six years of probation and $2,000 in fines.

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