Not since the Green River Killer had the Pacific Northwest been terrorized by so savage a serial killer. By day, Robert Lee Yates, Jr., 48 was a respected father of five, a skilled helicopter pilot who served in Desert Storm and the National Guard, and a man no one suspected of a deadly hidden life. By night he prowled the streets where prostitutes gathered, gaining their trust before betraying them with a bullet to the head. On August 26, 1997, the half-naked body of 16-year-old street prostitute Jennifer Joseph was found in an empty lot in Spokane, Washington. The same day, the decomposed corpse of prostitute Heather Hernandez, 20, was discovered in a wheat field. Both women had been shot point blank in the head. By the day after Christmas, four more women were added to the mounting death toll. All were found with plastic grocery bags tied over their heads - the gruesome signature of a killer who had sexually violated each one of them after snuffing out their lives. Spokane's elite Homicide Task Force's intense investigation turned up only one common link: a white Corvette driven by a frequent customer of Spokane's prostitutes. Investigators found a button from Jennifer Joseph's blouse and multiple blood stains in a vehicle recently sold by Yates Jr. On October 18, 2000, Yates pled guilty to 13 murders and was sentenced to 408 years. Sentenced for two similar murders in Washington's Pierce County, Yates is now on death row, awaiting execution. BODY COUNT-RE-RELEASE-Burl Barer
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