Spokane serial killer back in court

Spokane serial killer back in court

Spokane serial killer Robert Yates will try again this week to put a stop to his execution.

Yates filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus, hoping for a stay. He has tried many times, including appealing to the Washington Supreme Court. The Court unanimously rejected his request in 2015.

The hearing in federal court in Seattle this week is an evidentiary hearing to examine some of the 15 claims Yates makes for why he should not be put to death.

Yates killed more than a dozen women in Spokane in the 1990s. After his arrest, he admitted killing two people in Walla Walla in 1975 and another murder in Skagit County. Yates pleaded guilty to those crimes and was sentenced to life in prison. He was convicted of killing two women in Pierce County as well; it is those crimes for which he was sentenced to death.

Among Yates’ contentions is that he alleges a juror was biased and “stated she intended to write a book about her experiences as a juror.” He also claims his Pierce County defense attorneys provided ineffective counsel; he alleges “that defense counsel advised Yates to plead guilty to the murder charges that were then pending in Spokane County.”

The claim also contends that “defense counsel provided ineffective assistance in the penalty phase by failing to competently investigate Yates’s sexual deviancy disorder (necrophilia) and his future dangerousness.”

He has been moved from the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla to Seattle for the duration of his hearing.

Yates is one of eight men sentenced to death, currently awaiting execution in Washington. Governor Jay Inslee has placed a moratorium on all executions in the state.