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American Monster takes a look at Spokane serial killer Robert Lee Yates

Robert Lee Yates pictured at a court hearing, looking sad
Robert Lee Yates was a prolific murdered, killing at least 16. Usually his victims were sex workers he’d hired

This week American Monster takes a look behind the private life of notorious serial killer Robert Lee Yates.

The Yates family moved to Spokane, Washington, in 1996 soon after he left an eighteen year career in the army. He was a family man but he had a side to him that nobody around him had really seen.

Soon after the family moved young sex workers started to turn up dead, all with gun shots to the head. Between 1996 and 1998 a total of 13 women were murdered and the police seemed at a loss.

In September of 1998 he was stopped by police and they requested a DNA sample to rule him out, but he refused feigning outrage at a family man being asked for a sample. It was not until April 2002 that he was arrested for another murder that the story began to unravel.

Yates had been hiring his victims for sex then shooting them dead, before dumping their bodies in remote locations. Later various other murders came to light that dated back to 1975. In total it is thought he killed at least 16 people, though there could have been more.

He confessed to 13 murders and one attempted murder, eventually being sentenced to 408 years in jail. Yates was later given the death penalty and is currently on death row.

American Monster airs Sundays at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

James has worked for Monsters and Critics since it started back in 2003. He oversees the business and technical side of things. You can contact... read more
James Wray

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