Body Count By Best Selling Author Burl Barer
On August 26, 1997, the half-naked body of 16-year-old street hooker 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.
After building a data-base of Corvette owners, investigators found a button from Jennifer Joseph’s blouse and multiple blood stains in a vehicle recently sold to Robert Lee Yates, Jr. On October 18, 2000, Yates, a devoted husband, father of five, National Guard helicopter pilot, and Desert Storm veteran pied guilty to 13 murders and was sentenced to 408 years behind bars. Charged with two similar murders in Washington’s Pierce County, Yates now faces a possible death sentence.