No Mercy For Serial Killer Yates By State High Court

Mar 15, 2013

Washington State high court justices have brushed aside a long list of legal objections raised by Spokane multiple murderer Robert Yates in his effort to escape the death penalty. Spokane Public Radio's Tom Bacon reports.

  Yates, who once worked as a prison guard in Walla Walla, is now in prison himself, under the death penalty for two murders in Pierce County. He was already in prison at the time, convicted in Spokane of murdering at least 13 women, most of them, prostitutes who worked on Spokane's Skid Row.

Yates was sentenced to 408 years in prison for those murders.

But he got a nasty surprise in 2002 when prosecutors in Pierce County tried him for two other murders. They sought - and got - the death penalty.

In his challenge of the death sentence, Yates raised 25 legal objections, ranging from juror bias to his right to a public trial. The high court justices, however, brushed aside his entire package of arguments in one sentence, saying - quote - None of Yates' claims of error clearly merit either oral review by this court or a reference hearing.

Yates, the married father of five children, was first arrested in 1999 for the murder of a 16-year old girl, and then a Spokane Police task force which had been focused on unsolved murders in the area began to build the serial killer case against him.

This was Yates' second attempt to escape the death penalty by appealing to the state's high court. More such appeals can be expected.

Copyright 2013 Northwest Public Radio