Army National Guardsman & Serial Killer Robert Lee Yates Convicted of 2 More Aggravated 1st Degree Murders of Women in Pierce County, Washington (September 19, 2002)

Robert Lee Yates

Robert Lee Yates, Jr., Army National Guard


Number of confirmed victims: At least 15
Years and location: 1970s-1990s, Washington state
Characteristics: A married father of five who flew helicopters in the Army and the National Guard, Yates predominantly preyed on prostitutes. One of the victims was buried in Yates’ yard.
Arrest, conviction and sentence: Arrested on April 18, 2000. Yates was arrested after police matched fibers found on the body of a dead prostitute to Yates’ car, which also had blood on the seatbelt and seat. DNA testing and other evidence linked Yates to at least 12 murders. He later pleaded guilty to 13 killings in exchange for a life sentence (408 years) in lieu of the death penalty. In 2002, he was convicted of two additional murders in a different county and sentenced to death. Yates’ attorneys have repeatedly appealed the ruling but he remains on death row awaiting execution at the Washington State Penitentiary.

Source: Serial Killers Fast Facts (CNN)

In the News:

12 Terrifying Facts about Robert Lee Yates – The Most Deranged Killer

Melissa speaks with the daughters of Robert Lee Yates Jr, who murdered at least 13 people in Washington State. (2015)

Robert Lee Yates Jr’s family members share their memories of the serial killer. (2015)

Spokane Serial Killer Robert Yates will be learning Thursday whether or not his death penalty conviction for the murders of two women near Tacoma will be overturned by the Washington State Supreme Court. KXLY4’s Jeff Humphrey reports. (2007)

In a majority opinion the Washington State Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from Spokane Serial Killer Robert Yates and upheld his death sentence for the murders of two women in Pierce County in the late 1990s. (2007)

Attorneys for convicted Spokane Serial Killer Robert Yates have filed their application for a stay of his execution which is scheduled for later this month. (2008)

Spokane Serial Killer Robert Yates has been transferred from death row in Walla Walla to Pierce County where he will be in court Friday as Judge John McCarthy signs his death warrant. KXLY4’s Jeff Humphrey reports. (2008)

Kathy Lloyd feared that Robert Yates would live longer than her. He killed her sister, Shawn McLenahan. Now a Tacoma judge will sign Yates’ death warrant, and Lloyd is hoping Yates will die soon. KXLY4’s Sally Showman reports. (2008)

Back in the mid 1990’s when Robert Yates was stalking Spokane prostitutes another serial killer was making regular visits to the city. A new book reveals the “Happy Face Killer” often traveled to Spokane where the long haul trucker would spend time with his children. KXLY4’s Jeff Humphrey reports. (2010)

Spokane Serial Killer Robert Yates is claiming he had ineffective legal counsel in his latest appeal of his death sentence for the killings of two women in Pierce County in the late 1990s. KXLY4’s Melissa Luck reports. (2013)

On August 26, 1997, the half-naked body of prostitute Heather Hernandez, 20 was found in an empty lot in Spokane Washington. The same day, the decomposed corpse of prostitute Jennifer Joseph, 16, was discovered in an alfalfa field. Both women had been shot in the head. The day after Christmas, four more women were found with plastic bags tied over their heads, the gruesome signature of a killer who had sexually violated each one of them, after they had died. Police had only one good lead, a driver in a white Corvette who picked up prostitutes on the street. When the killer is finally arrested he turns out to be a devoted husband, a father of five, a National Guard helicopter pilot and a Desert Storm veteran. Not since the Green River Killer had the Pacific Northwest been so terrorized by so savage a serial killer. Robert Lee Yates Jr. is charged for 13 murders. Edgar Award-Winning Author Burl Barer discusses BODY COUNT: The Terrifying True Story of the Spokane Serial Killer. (2013)

Investigation Discovery:

ID Go: The Yates family moves to Spokane, WA only to find it besieged by a serial killer who’s targeting young women and confounding the police. Now, the family’s never-before-aired home videos provide a chilling look of one of America’s most notorious killers. -Family Snapshot, American Monster (S2, E2)

ID Go: Tony Harris pieces together the 1990 case of three prostitutes killed in Spokane, Washington, and discovers a pattern of murders connected by twenty-two caliber bullets, a killing spree that shocked a city and a suspect with a stunning new identity. -Down by the River, Scene of the Crime with Tony Harris (S2, E1)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Related Links:
Robert Lee Yates, Jr. | Wikipedia
Robert Yates: Son, husband, athlete, father, pilot, teacher, murder suspect
Robert L. Yates, Jr.: The missing years: Big time lapses between killing sprees
Yates’ wife visits him and asks why
Little known about suspected serial killer’s life while in the Wiregrass
Spokane serial killer: Confession piques interest around world
Serial Killer Sentenced
Decades of Killing Yield 408-Year Sentence
The Spokane Murders | Time
Serial killer’s wife suspected Yates was having affairs
Wash. Serial Killer Pleads Guilty
Jury finds Yates guilty of aggravated murder
Robert Yates sentenced to die
Serial Killer Robert Yates Appealing Death Sentence
Spokane serial killer Robert Yates’ petition rejected by Washington Supreme Court
10 Baffling Wives of Serial Killers
Remote View of a Serial Killer
Death penalty still stands for serial killer Robert Yates
Spokane Serial Killer: Robert Yates (2015) | True Crime Documentary
7 Evil People in Washington Who Left A Dark Stain On History
Case of serial killer Robert Yates heading back to state Supreme Court
Serial killer Robert Yates’ case heads back to state Supreme Court
Serial killer Robert Yates still fighting sentencing error
Convicted serial killer Robert Yates expected in court Monday
Spokane serial killer back in court
Spokane Serial Killer Bob Yates Was Sentenced to Death Almost 20 Years Ago, Here’s Why He’s Still Alive
Prison letter sparks new investigation involving killer
Robert Lee Yates: American Serial Killer | Learning History
Robert Lee Yates Is The Most Deranged Killer You’ve Never Heard Of
Serial Killers Fast Facts
Family Snapshot | American Monster | Investigation Discovery (S2, E2)
Down by the River | Scene of the Crime with Tony Harris | Investigation Discovery (S2, E1)
Scene of the Crime with Tony Harris Premiered ‘Down by the River’ on Investigation Discovery: Serial Killer Robert Lee Yates, Jr. (June 4, 2018)