The Washington State Supreme Court has rejected serial killer Robert Yates’ 25-point post-appeal petition asking for relief from alleged trial errors. I knew that this was going to be filed but didn’t know when it would reach the Supreme Court.
Yates, also known as the Spokane Serial Killer, challenged a number of procedural issues and alleged that he didn’t get a fair trial, a fair jury, or in general, a fair shake. He’s been on death row at the Walla Walla State Penitentiary for years and that is unlikely to change.
Being freakishly familiar with this type of personality, I’m not surprised that he tried to pull out all the stops to revisit his conviction and punishment. Ongoing appeals are to be expected when a convict is sentenced to death anyway. I do find Yates’ petition curious in the sense that he still withholds information from law enforcement according to authorities who investigated him. He doesn’t seem willing to play those cards (but his fate is secured regardless).
Abusers and killers like this are often narcissistic and feel morally superior to others. They gloat over their “special knowledge,” like to keep others off balance, and love to manipulate others’ minds. They also like to feel like the “real” victim, a martyr for a self-important cause or as on some sort of special mission. They can also feel wronged when convicted of crimes because of perceived sacrifices they’ve made for their family, job, or country.
As a refresher, I’m copying the introduction to a paper I wrote on Yates several years ago. It should be noted that Yates won’t discuss why he murdered his victims and denies that he had a sexual intent (although there related issues in his life that can be traced back decades). He’s made deals to keep some of his conversations with authorities secret.
Yates is not a victim. He is quite the opposite. He is reasonably intelligent, socially adequate, and had a wife and family that functioned as a smokescreen for his deviant behavior. Because of his military career he was geographically and occupationally mobile. The murders he committed display many traits of an organized serial killer and his high was power and control. He is an evil person who is not a victim of the death penalty, but earned it through years and years of punishing others, primarily women, for his own impotence and incompetence.
Robert Yates: Son, husband, athlete, father, pilot, teacher, murder suspect. This is the headline that greeted a quarter million Seattle Times subscribers on Sunday, May 7th, 2000. After Yates’ arrest for the murder of a 16 year-old prostitute on April 18th, details about the man believed to be the “Spokane Serial Killer” began to emerge. It soon became apparent that the bloodthirsty monster lurking in the city’s shadows had two lives—Joe Average and Jack the Ripper.
Until the arrest, media coverage of a nearly decade-long string of homicides was sparse outside of eastern Washington’s largest city. It was prostitutes who were disappearing, some turning up later partially buried with fatal gunshot wounds to their heads. Some residents, tired of the sex acts and drug scene that literally spilled over into their front yards, considered this “purging” of Spokane’s working women a twisted blessing.
For years, the authorities were hesitant to call the series of killings serial murders. It wasn’t until the bodies of 11 women were found over the course of seven years that a small task force was formed to more thoroughly investigate the “prostitute murders”. That was December 23rd, 1997. Four bodies had turned up that year alone, two on the same day. While the three earliest murders eventually could not be connected to Robert Yates, he was found guilty of 13 murders and one attempted murder—not all in Spokane.
Jurisdictional issues, tight-lipped police administrations, and faulty information sharing complicated the apprehension of Robert Yates. Had a couple of basic clues noted by police officers during traffic stops and a prostitute witness been heeded by the time the task force was formed, nearly a dozen more murders might have been prevented. But prostitutes continued to disappear in the city of Spokane and be dumped in Spokane County. The resources or ability to connect the dots were hampered by the policies and procedures of the two main agencies involved, the city police and the county sheriff.
Regardless of what could or could not have been done differently by law enforcement, a subject guaranteed to provoke the wrath of the Spokane powers that be, it was the two-faced, night and day nature of the man arrested that captured the public’s attention. Yates was the quiet neighbor next door. Yates was the guy who played ball with his son out in the street. Yates was a decorated Army helicopter pilot. But Yates was also the guy who came home with a van full of blood, telling his wife that he hit a dog and drove it to the vet…
©2013 H. Hiatt/wildninja.wordpress.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninja.wordpress.com.