CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — The families of the spa shooting victims left the courthouse surrounded by deputies, they didn't want to say any more publicly about what happened but their victim impact statements inside the courthouse said it all.
"He could light up a room with his smile, he made his presence known by his joyful spirit. There was something magical about him. I knew it right away," Bonnie Michaels said crying.
Michaels took the stand to tell Robert Aaron Long about her husband of 24 years, about the life he took away.
"We always had each other's back, no matter what. He was my rock. He was affectionate and romantic," she said.
Michaels didn't address Long directly in the courtroom, but talked about the impact his actions had on her life.
"What he did was cold and calculating with no regard to human life, he didn't care," she said.
Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace told the court she was unable to locate the family of some victims to give a statement, but the sole survivor of the attack gave his victim impact statement through an interpreter.
Elicias Ortiz was shot in the face.
"I think all the families that went through this, we are all still suffering," he said.
Wallace told the court the families wanted a plea deal because they did not want the trauma of a trial.
But they did want their loved ones remembered.
"Our loved ones will never be forgotten. Their memories will live in our hearts and minds," she said.