Inspiration Technology

  January 12, 2001
 Good Morning America   World News Tonight   20/20   Specials   PrimeTime   Nightline   This Week 
HOMEPAGE
NEWS SUMMARY
U.S.
INTERNATIONAL
MONEYScope
WEATHER.com
LOCAL NEWS
ENTERTAINMENT
SPORTS
SCI / TECH
POLITICS
HEALTH
LIFESTYLES
TRAVEL
NEWS PLUS
  REFERENCE
  TURBO NEWS
  SEND THIS PAGE
TO A FRIEND
  EMAIL
ABCNEWS.com
  HELP & TOOLS
Sponsored by ABCNews.com
Inspiration Technology
GO TO:
HOMEPAGE U.S. FEATURE
Serial Killer May Get Death
Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty for Confessed Serial Killer
The Associated Press

T A C O M A, Wash., Jan. 12 — Prosecutors said today they will seek the death penalty when convicted serial killer Robert L. Yates Jr. goes on trial for the slayings of two women in Pierce County.

    
Yates is charged with killing two women whose deaths were considered part of the Spokane serial killings case.

Last year, Yates pleaded guilty to 13 murders in Spokane in a widely criticized deal that allowed him to avoid the death penalty by agreeing to life in prison without parole. As part of the deal, he provided information on some unsolved murders.

No Leniency
Pierce County Prosecutor Gerald A. Horne decided he had enough evidence to pursue capital punishment.

"There is reason to believe that there are not sufficient mitigating circumstances to merit leniency," Horne wrote in documents filed in Pierce County Superior Court.

Defense attorneys for Yates filed documents saying why their client should not face capital punishment, but the contents of those documents were not immediately available.

Yates has pleaded innocent to two counts of aggravated first-degree murder in the deaths of Melinda L. Mercer in 1997 and Connie Ellis in 1998.

Yates, 48, a married father of five, was sentenced in October to 408 years in prison for his confession to 13 murders and one attempted murder. The killings go back a quarter-century to 1975, when he gunned down a young man and young woman as they picnicked near Walla Walla.

Yates has admitted killing 10 women in Spokane County in 1996-98. He also admitted killing the Walla Walla couple and a woman whose body was found in 1988 in Western Washington's Skagit County.

Gruesome Murders

The women slain in Pierce County, like many of Yates' other victims, had histories of prostitution and drug abuse.

Mercer, 24, was found dead in south Tacoma on Dec. 7, 1997. Prosecutors allege Yates shot her in the head twice in the previous 24 hours with a .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun and then dumped her nude body.

Four plastic bags were tied over her head. No purse, wallet or money were found.

DNA results from Yates' blood reportedly matched semen swabs taken from Mercer, prosecutors said in court papers. Lab tests indicate that bullets in Mercer's head were fired from the same handgun used to shoot four other victims that Yates has admitted killing, prosecutors said.

Army National Guard records place Yates, a U.S. Army veteran and former National Guard helicopter pilot, at Fort Lewis in Tacoma from Dec. 5-7, 1997.

The body of Ellis, 35, was found Oct. 13, 1998, in Parkland, south of Tacoma. Prosecutors contend Yates shot her once in the head with a .25-caliber handgun between Sept. 11-19, 1998.

Three plastic bags were tied over her head. No purse, wallet or money were found.

Copyright 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
 RELATED STORIES
Alleged Spokane Serial Killer Charged with Seven More Murders
Definitive Evidence Links Guardsman to Nine Killings
DNA Nabs Serial Killer?
A Serial Killer in Spokane?
National Guardsman Linked To Serial Killings

 
GO TO:
SECTIONS



ABC.com ESPN.com Disney.com Family.com GO.com Mr.Showbiz Movies.com