Washington State Supreme Court Outlawed Death Penalty; Serial Killer Robert Yates’ Death Sentence Converted To Life in Prison (October 11, 2018)

Robert Lee Yates Ranker

Robert Lee Yates, Army National Guard Retired (photo: Ranker)

The Victims:
July 13, 1975: Patrick Oliver
July 13, 1975: Susan Savage
December 28, 1988: Stacy E. Hawn 
August 25, 1996: Patricia Barnes
June 14, 1996: Shannon Zielinski
August 26, 1997: Heather Hernandez
August 26, 1997: Jennifer Joseph
November 5, 1997: Darla Scott
December 7, 1997: Melinda Mercer
December 18, 1997: Shawn Johnson
December 26, 1997: Laurie Wason
February 8, 1998: Sunny Oster
April 1, 1998: Linda Maybin
May 12, 1998: Melody Murfin
July 7, 1998: Michelyn Derning
October 13, 1998: Connie LaFontaine Ellis

Source: Robert Lee Yates | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers

Click here for another list of Victims of Robert Lee Yates from Serial Killers Podcast.

“According to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, the German federal police are looking into the deaths of 26 prostitutes with assistance from U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command. Yates, a former Navy helicopter pilot, was stationed in Goeppingen, Germany, from 1988 to 1991. The FBI has found the black van he allegedly owned in Germany and has searched it for evidence.” –Whidbey News-Times (October 18, 2000)

UPDATE:
Gov. Jay Inslee announces capital punishment moratorium
Washington pauses to reflect on death penalty
Supreme Court outlaws death penalty in Washington
State declares death penalty unconstitutional
Social worker who served Yates’ victims supports end of death penalty

In the News:

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. -4 News Now (September 28, 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. -4 News Now (September 28, 2007)

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. -4 News Now (September 5, 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. -4 News Now (September 5, 2008)

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. -4 News Now (September 9, 2008)

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. -4 News Now (May 22, 2013)

Related Links:
Serial Murder — FBI
Robert Lee Yates | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers
Police Looking for Worldwide Trail of Death
Robert Lee Yates, Jr.: The missing years: Big time lapses between killing sprees
Serial killer’s wife suspected Yates was having affairs
Yates sentenced to life in prison
Jury finds Yates guilty of aggravated murder
Retired Army National Guard Pilot & Serial Killer Robert Lee Yates, Jr. Convicted of 2 More Murders in Washington; Sentenced to Death (September 19, 2002)
Jury Decides on Death for Serial Killer
Serial killer Yates sentenced to death (October 3, 2002)
Victims’ relatives take stand
Family letters to prosecutor in death penalty plea ruled ‘private’
Serial killer Yates calls death penalty unfair
Supreme Court to rule on Serial Killer’s appeal
Supreme Court upholds Yates death sentence
Judge to sign serial killer’s death warrant.
Spokane serial killer to be executed
Judge sets Sept. 19 execution date for serial killer Robert Lee Yates Jr.
Yates’ death still won’t bring closure to sister of victim
Spokane Serial Killer files for stay of execution
Serial killer Robert Yates Jr. seeks federal appeal of death sentence
Serial Killer Robert Yates Appealing Death Sentence
Former Oak Harbor resident Robert Yates appealing death sentence
Serial killer Robert Yates Jr. seeks federal appeal of death sentence
Serial killer Robert Yates claims ineffective counsel in latest death penalty appeal
Serial killer Robert Yates claims ineffective counsel in latest death penalty appeal
Spokane serial killer Robert Yates’ petition rejected by Washington Supreme Court
Death Sentence Upheld for Spokane Serial Killer
State Supreme Court denies serial killer’s plea
Gov. Jay Inslee announces capital punishment moratorium
Washington pauses to reflect on death penalty
Death penalty still stands for serial killer Robert Yates
State Supreme Court rejects serial killer Yates’ petition
Serial killer Robert Yates still fighting sentencing error
Case of serial killer Robert Yates heading back to state Supreme Court
Convicted serial killer Robert Yates expected in court Monday
Spokane serial killer back in court
Spokane serial killer’s attorney accuses juror of misconduct
Wife’s shock: My hubby buried a body in the backyard
Spokane Serial Killer Bob Yates Was Sentenced to Death Almost 20 Years Ago, Here’s Why He’s Still Alive
Supreme Court outlaws death penalty in Washington
State declares death penalty unconstitutional
Social worker who served Yates’ victims supports end of death penalty
The Story Of The Serial Killer Who Terrorized This Washington Town Is Truly Frightening
Robert Lee Yates Is The Most Deranged Killer You’ve Never Heard Of
The Spokane Killer: The Life of Serial Killer Robert Lee Yates Jr. (book)
America’s deadliest serial killers
Serial Killers Fast Facts

Investigation Discovery:
Unusual Suspects Premiered ‘Monster in Spokane’ on ID: Serial Killer in Washington is Retired National Guard Pilot Robert Lee Yates, Jr. (July 19, 2010)
Monster in Spokane | Unusual Suspects | Investigation Discovery (S1,E6)
Monster in Spokane | Unusual Suspects | Investigation Discovery (website)
Monster in Spokane | Unusual Suspects | Investigation Discovery (Prime Video)
Cable show to feature Yates serial killer case
American Monster Premiered ‘Family Snapshot’ on ID: Bob Yates’ Family Shocked Military Hero Father & Spouse is a Serial Killer (July 16, 2017)
Family Snapshot | American Monster | Investigation Discovery (S2,E2)
Family Snapshot | American Monster | Investigation Discovery (website)
Family Snapshot | American Monster | Investigation Discovery (Prime Video)
American Monster takes a look at Spokane serial killer Robert Lee Yates
Scene of the Crime with Tony Harris Premiered ‘Down by the River’ on Investigation Discovery: Serial Killer Robert Lee Yates, Jr. (June 4, 2018)
Down by the River | Scene of the Crime w/ Tony Harris | Investigation Discovery (S2,E1)
Down by the River | Scene of the Crime w/ Tony Harris | Investigation Discovery (website)
Down by the River | Scene of the Crime w/ Tony Harris | Investigation Discovery (Prime Video)
Spokane serial killer Robert Lee Yates murdered at least 13 people – Tony Harris recounts the investigation

American Monster Premiered ‘Family Snapshot’ on ID: Bob Yates’ Family Shocked Military Hero Father & Spouse is a Serial Killer (July 16, 2017)

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)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch 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. 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 $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
The Spokane Murders | TIME
Death Sentence Upheld for Spokane Serial Killer
Social worker who served Yates’ victims supports end of death penalty
Robert Lee Yates | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers
Retired Army National Guard Pilot & Serial Killer Robert Lee Yates, Jr. Convicted of 2 More Murders of Women in Washington (September 19, 2002)
Unusual Suspects Premiered ‘Monster in Spokane’ on ID: Serial Killer in Washington is Retired National Guard Pilot Robert Lee Yates, Jr. (July 19, 2010)
Scene of the Crime w/ Tony Harris Premiered ‘Down by the River’ on ID: Retired Army Pilot Robert Lee Yates is the Monster in Spokane (June 3, 2018)
Washington State Supreme Court Outlawed Death Penalty; Serial Killer Robert Yates’ Death Sentence Converted To Life in Prison (October 11, 2018)
Family Snapshot | American Monster | Investigation Discovery (S2,E2)
Family Snapshot | American Monster | Investigation Discovery (website)
Family Snapshot | American Monster | Investigation Discovery (Prime Video)
American Monster takes a look at Spokane serial killer Robert Lee Yates

University of Penn. Student Shannon Schieber Found Raped & Murdered in Home; Air Force SrA Troy Graves Sentenced to Life in Prison (May 7, 1998)

Shannon Schiebercredit: Courtesy Schieber Family

Shannon Schieber, Pennsylvania (Photo: People Magazine Investigates)

Offender: Troy Graves, 29, US Air Force service member
Victims: Shannon Schieber, 23, University of Pennsylvania student (rape/homicide), multiple rape victims in Pennsylvania & Colorado

Circumstances: Shannon Schieber was enrolled as a Phd. student at the Wharton School of Business, on May 7, 1998, Shannon was studying for exams when a neighbor heard what sounded like cries for help, he called 911 to report that his neighbor was asking for help, the police arrived but no one answered the door and the neighbor backed off his statement, they searched the property and the neighbor said it could have been outside so they left, Shannon’s brother showed up the next day and Shannon didn’t answer the door, the neighbor told her brother what he heard the night before, they broke into the apartment and found Shannon naked on her bed, Shannon was strangled to death and it appeared she tried to fight off her attacker, police found DNA at the scene, DNA ruled out those close to Shannon, Shannon’s parents were outraged that the man who killed their daughter was in the apartment when the police knocked on her door, but the police did their job right and by the book, a few days before the murder, Shannon reported being followed home one night, she was scared, so police started investigating the stranger angle, perhaps this is a serial rapist, they look into sex crimes in the area, they want to match the DNA to other sex crimes in the area.

In February 1999, they got a DNA match, 2 other sexual assaults had occurred but they were coded as misdemeanors, the assaults occurred just a few blocks from Shannon’s apartment, in June and July 1997, two more sexual assaults were connected to the offender bringing the total to 5, the PPD coded these sexual assaults as misdemeanors as well, they downgraded the offenses because it lessoned the load for the police, and made the arrest rate look better than it was, Shannon’s case helped enact change in Philadelphia, if they had investigated these cases, everyone would have known there was a serial rapist, Shannon would not be dead if she knew what was going on, the DNA still didn’t have a match to the offender, in 1997, a sketch was drawn from the recollections of the first victim, they got a new composite, this offender would enter the home, hold the victim down on the bed, rape them or make them perform oral sex, it was about control and domination for this guy and he was also somewhat of a romantic, once they acquiesced, he would treat them like a date, he would get comfortable with the victims, they determined he was a light skinned black male based on information he shared with one victim about his life growing up with bi-racial parents.

He was dubbed the Center City rapist, in August 1999, no other cases were reported since Shannon’s murder, the case went cold, the police got a bulletin in 2001 from Fort Collins, Colorado, the offenders modus operandi sounded familiar to the Philadelphia PD, on June 13, 2001, one victim was home when she was attacked from behind and raped, after she acquiesced, the rapist became gentle as if he was a boyfriend, after he left, she called 911, she was his third victim in Fort Collins, they were all blitz attacked, FC police were investigating a serial rapist, a fourth & fifth rapes were reported, he made a mistake and left behind a ball cap at the fifth victims home, Fort Collins DNA was matched to the rapes in Philadelphia, PPD gave FCPD the composite drawing, police received a letter in the mail from the suspect, he was taunting them, in the fall of 2001, the attacks in Fort Collins stopped, meanwhile the PPD started focusing on cross referencing names of suspects with the two geographic locations, they got a match for Air Force service member Troy Graves, he was in Philadelphia, Fort Collins, and now at Warren AFB in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in 2002, the police had the new suspect in their sites.

The police learned that Troy was also investigated by the Office of Special Investigations, it was over charges of harassing a female colleague, the charges were dropped but there was still something suspicious there, Graves has a clean criminal record and no finger prints on file, the case was circumstantial, they reached out to Graves to come to the police department and do an interview, Troy Graves and his wife showed up to the Fort Collins PD, the police immediately separated the couple, his wife admitted that he had insomnia and went for walks and drives at night and that honestly she thought he was having an affair, meanwhile Troy denied knowing anything about the crimes, the police confronted him about the rapes in Fort Collins, he denied being arrested for any sex crimes, he denied being investigated by the Air Force, he did not want to provide his fingerprints but a warrant was issued to compel him, the fingerprints were a match, Troy Graves was arrested and booked into custody on April 23, 2002, this case changed the PPD policies on sexual assault to include how evidence is handled and how the victims are treated and interviewed.

Disposition: Troy Graves feared a trial would not go in his favor in Fort Collins, Colorado, he pleaded guilty in exchange for a life sentence without the possibility of parole; Pennsylvania wanted to seek the death penalty but Shannon’s family did not want that because Shannon wouldn’t have wanted that, Graves entered into a plea agreement and got life in prison plus sixty years

Notable Quotes: “We have to change the system but not put people to death.” -Vicki Schieber (Shannon’s mom)

Source: ‘Terror in Philadelphia’ People Magazine Investigates, Investigation Discovery

Investigation Discovery:

In 1998, a gifted Philadelphia graduate student is found murdered in her bed. The hunt for her killer forces police to reevaluate a series of unsolved crimes, turning the city upside down. Will her killer be caught or will he strike again? -Terror in Philadelphia, People Magazine Investigates (S3,E2)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch 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. 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 $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
U. student killed in Center City
Family, friend mourn Schieber’s death
Grief, Questions After Student is Slain
DNA tests clear ex-boyfriend in Schieber murder
Airman arrested in sexual assaults
Center City rapist suspect arrested
Suspected Serial Rapist Arrested
Colo. airman arrested on sex charges suspected as Center City Rapist
Colorado Suspect Is Believed Tied to Other Attacks
Airman trained at VAFB arrested in Colorado sex assaults
Airman’s DNA Linked to Slain Md. Woman
Officials: DNA Evidence Links Colorado Man to Philly Rapes, Murder
Airman Awaits Hearing in Rape Case
Troy Graves: I did it… and ‘I’m sorry’
Serial rapist says he’s sorry
Remorseful airman admits murder, rapes
Admitted serial rapist now will face a charge of murder
USAF content with civilian prosecution of Graves
Serial rapist pleads guilty in Colorado
Graves Pleads Guilty In Philadelphia Rapes, Murder
Victims speak out; Graves gets life
Colorado: Life Sentence For Airman
Airman gets life sentence in string of sexual assaults
A baffling case: The women who loved Troy Graves
The story of Shannon Schieber
Why two mothers back death penalty repeal
A Place of Peace | Bethesda Magazine
Death Penalty Vs. Life: An Issue Of Closure Vs. Peace
Victim’s family moves “from pain to peace”
Investigating rape in Philadelphia: how one city’s crisis stands to help others
Woman advocates repeal of death penalty as part of unconditional pro-life policy
What are Fort Collins’ most infamous moments?
Rape is Rape, Isn’t It? | ProPublica
Rape is Rape, Isn’t It? | The Marshall Project
The Annual Ritual Shaping How the Philadelphia Police Department Handles Rape, Abuse Cases
How one woman changed the way Philly police handle rape
Why is the death penalty discussed in religious terms?
How do you fix a broken system? One U.S. city offers a model for handling sex-assault cases
How a Business Student’s Dying Cries of ‘Help Me’ Eventually Led to a Serial Rapist
Death penalty: Parents of murder victim oppose killer’s execution
Mom of Wharton Student Found Raped, Murdered in 1998 Still Wonders: ‘How Could Somebody Do That?’
Troy Graves | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers
People Magazine Investigates Premiered ‘Terror in Philadelphia’ on ID: University Student Shannon Schieber Found Raped & Murdered (November 12, 2018)
Terror in Philadelphia | People Magazine Investigates | Investigation Discovery (S3, E2)
Terror in Philadelphia | People Magazine Investigates | Investigation Discovery (website)
Terror in Philadelphia | People Magazine Investigates | Investigation Discovery (Prime Video)
All Charged Up | Forensic Files | FilmRise