Robert Lee Yates

Demographic Info

Spokane Serial Killer14MaleCaucasianUSATerritorialSexual1952/05/27 (Whidbey Island, Washington, USA)n/a


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Robert Lee Yates was born on May 27, 1952, on Whidbey Island, Washington. He was the only child born into his middle-class family.

At a young age Yates was molested by an older neighborhood boy, but this was unnoticed by his parents. Throughout his childhood Yates was thought to be a good student and athletic. He graduated high school and college without any criminal record. Yates enlisted in the United States Army and was certified to fly airplanes and helicopters. He went on to earn many awards throughout the 19 years he served in the Army, however nothing was known about what Yates did in his spare time.

It is believed that Yates began his murder series in 1975, at the the age of 23, and continued until his arrest in 1999. All of his known victims were between the ages of 16 and 60 and female, with the exception of one male victim. The murders which took place before 1996 were thought to be chosen at random, whereas the murders that took place between 1996 and 1998 were prostitutes which Yates would choose himself. The victims were raped before and after their murders. All of the victims were shot to death in the chest or one shot to the head. There was usually no attempt to hide the bodies, instead they were left at the scene of the crime or poorly buried.

On April 18, 2000 Yates was arrested for the murder of Jennifer Joseph. While in custody he was charged with another 12 counts of murder. Yates plead guilty in order to avoid the death penalty. He was found guilty of all charges against him and sentenced to 408 years in prison. In 2002 more evidence was found to connect Yates to 2 other murders. He was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to death by lethal injection on October 4, 2002. He is currently on death row in Washington State Penitentiary and his case is on appeal.

Blog Posts

Victim Studies 016: Robert Lee Yates

on April 10th, 2012 in Serial Killers, Victim Studies, Victimology by | 3 Comments

Robert Lee Yates is a serial killer from Washington whose murder series spanned from 1988, at the age of 36, until 1999, but is also known to have murdered prior to his series in 1975, at the age of 23. He was found guilty in 2000 for the murders of…

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Victims of Robert Lee Yates

on March 15th, 2010 in Serial Killers, Victimology by | 2 Comments

Robert Lee Yates was charged for murdering fifteen people, but is suspected of murdering over eighteen people. We currently have information on all of his known victims and seven of his suspected victims. Patrick Oliver  Patrick, age 21, was murdered on July 13, 1975. He was shot to death while…

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