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EXCLUSIVE: One year later, widow of spa shooting victim speaks

Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 7:09 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -There is no longer a large memorial in front of the Acworth massage spa where four people were killed exactly one year ago.

Business ownership has changed, and in many way so has the community. But families of victims consider the best way to memorialize them is through justice.

“I was calling hospitals to see if he was in an accident or something like that,” Bonnie Michels recalled.

It was no accident at all when her husband did not make it home March 16, 2021.

“There was a breaking news flash and I heard about Asian women killed. And at the same time,

the police came knocking at my door.” The widow continued, “They told me and my whole world just spun out of control.”

Robert Aaron Long killed eight people across two spas, businesses he blamed for his sex addiction.

Most of the victims, beloved Asian mothers. One of the victims, handyman Paul Michels.

Michels needed extra employment so from plumbing to building, the owner of the Acworth Spa, Emily Tan, graciously gave him work.

“Whenever she called for him to do something there, he would come.”

He built his final shelf before being shot.

“Every single day. I wake up thinking about my husband. I go to bed thinking about my husband.” Bonnie cried, “what the final moments were like for him. Just awful, awful.”

Bonnie came to court in Cherokee County, watching Long receive life sentences for her husband’s murder along with three others.

She feels satisfied with outcome.

As for the remaining four slayings, the Fulton County case is soon to begin, with the death penalty on the table. However, the grieving widow wishes it was not.

“I would rather him just serve jail time.” Adding, “I just want him to re-live it.”

Just days from what would have been a celebration for 25 years of marriage, marks a tragic anniversary. Now annually, the Michels and seven other families, memorialize and mourn an immeasurable grief.

In addition to the death penalty, Long also faces hate crime enhancements. The Fulton County case would be the one of the first tests of Georgia’s hate crime law.