October 19, 2020: Robert Lee Yates, Jr. Pleads Guilty
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Today recovering the trial of serial killer Robert Lee Gates Junior. Let's travel back to spokane Washington on October nineteenth two thousand. Forty eight year old, Robert, Lee Yates junior shuffled into a spokane county superior court room with a receding hairline comb over and glasses. He looked more like an insurance actuary then a cold blooded killer but the courthouse was packed with friends and families of his victims in all Spokane county detectives and prosecutors linked Yates military veteran and family man to thirteen murders and they suspected yates had committed more yates face remained expressionless as the courtroom erupted into jeers. The families could barely contain their disdain for the confessed murderer. The judge tried to bring the crowd to order. He smashed his gavel onto the wooden days after a few moments the spectators hushed. Then, the judge read a list of charges against Yates Thirteen counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted first degree murder in response to each charge yates wiped his eyes and droned. Guilty your honor. Throughout the courtroom many family members sobbed and comforted each other envisioning the horror that snuffed out their loved ones lives when the judge was complete, he dismissed gates he ordered the killer back to prison where he would await sentencing for his unspeakable acts. At that had been going on four years. A typical night in the life of Yates the serial killer was may twelfth nineteen ninety. Eight After eating dinner his family forty, five year old Robert Lee Yates junior went out to the driveway of his spokane. Washington home. He started the engine of his White Nineteen, seventy, seven Chevrolet Corvette. He was proud of his vintage sports car and he washed nearly every week. He told his wife and five children that he was taking the car out for a spin little. Did they know he had a loaded twenty five caliber handgun stuffed in his pocket and he planned to murder someone? Yates pulled out of the driveway and aimed the old sports car toward downtown spokane. He cruised past quaint churches and white picket fences past diners and dive bars. Then he turned onto sprague avenue sprig wasn't any old street in spokane the portion of it. He was closest to was considered the red light district home to sex workers and drug addicts, and it was Yates's ground he knew every corner and parking lot. Yates slowed the corvette down to a crawl as he scoped the sidewalks for his next victim. Then, he spotted her forty three year old Melody Murphy. Murphy was thin and wiry from years of drug use and hard living. She had dark straight hair not unlike Yates wife. Linda. And most importantly she was alone the perfect target. Yates pulled the corvette over and roll down the car window. He smiled at Murphy and tried to seem charming after negotiating a deal she got in next to him they drove to a dark alley nearby there they had sex in the car. Afterward. While Murphy was straightening her skirt gates game to plastic grocery bag over her head. While the woman struggled to breathe Yates pulled the twenty five caliber pistol from his pocket and shot her in the head twice. Melody Murphy was dead. Coming up Robert Lee Yates junior berries, one of his victims in an unusual place. Listeners who doesn't love a good ghost story rattling chains mysteriously moving objects unfinished business. 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On October nineteenth two. Thousand serial killer Robert Lee Yates junior pled guilty to thirteen murders. His crime stretched back for years amongst the dark alleys of spokane Washington. The Night of May Twelfth Nineteen Ninety eight was just one example when forty five year old Robert Lee Gates junior killed Melody Murphy. Her body was slumped over and bleeding in the passenger seat of Yates's White Nineteen seventy seven Chevrolet corvette it's unknown whether Yates continued to have sex with Murphy's body after she was deceased but police discovered evidence that he had done. So with previous victims after Yates admired his kill, he started the car he knew he had to dispose of the body in the past he drove his victims miles outside of spokane to secluded dumpsites. Recently, however, Yates had become more brazen. He began leaving bodies along the side of the road only blocks from where he picks them up. But this time Melody Murphy's body would be left in peculiar and ritualistic place. Yates. Drove back through spokane to his family's home on East Forty Ninth Avenue. While you gates's wife and five children were inside sleeping, he snuck into a storage shed and grabbed shovel. He crossed the backyard to the flowerbed under his and his wife's bedroom window there he dug a shallow grave. Next, he dragged Melody Murphy's body from the car and arranged her under the window only twelve inches from the foundation of the home. Then he her in eight inches of dirt. Afterwards Yates cleaned up and went to bed knowing that melodies body was just outside. It was an escalation of his serial killer behavior. Now, he was keeping trophies of his kills literally in his own backyard. Fortunately justice caught up with Yates two years. Later he was arrested on April eighteenth two thousand. As part of his plea bargain he drew a map to wear melody Murphy's body was buried at Yates sentencing on October twenty, six, two, thousand families and friends of the victims were allowed to confront the murderer melody Murphy's daughter and Davis addressed gates with an emotional speech. She called him a sick monster and asked why he would bury her mother in his yard. She told him that she hoped he would be tormented in prison for the rest of his life. Throughout and testimonial yates remained cold and expressionless. He only showed emotion when he read a prepared apology. Yates contrition fell on deaf ears though the judge sentenced gates to four hundred, eighty years in prison. Two years later in two, thousand and two Yates was convicted of additional murders in nearby Pierce County, and this time he was sentenced to death. That plan didn't come to fruition though in two thousand, eighteen while awaiting execution Yates death sentence was commuted. The state of Washington ruled that capital punishment was unconstitutional for all prisoners even serial killers like Yates. Robert Lee. Yates remains behind bars at the Washington state penitentiary where he will serve a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Thanks for listening today in true crime I'm Vanessa Richardson for more on Robert Lee Yates checkout serial killers episodes, which delve deeper into his life and crimes. Today and true crime is a spotify original from podcast. You can find more episodes of today and true crime and all other spotify originals from podcast for free on spotify. We'll be back with a brand new episode tomorrow in True Crime. Today in true crime was created by Max Cutler and is a podcast studios original. It is executive produced by Max Cutler sound design by one Boorda with production assistance by Ron, Shapiro Carly Madden and Freddie. Beckley this episode of today in true crime was written by Adam Dasilva with writing assistance by terrel wells I'm Vanessa Richardson. Remember Join Alistair murden every Thursday for the all new series haunted places. Ghost stories don't miss the most chilling spirits imagined by authors from around the world follow haunted places, ghost stories free on spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.