[Editor’s note: KREM 2 News chose to reveal Robert Yates’ letter from death row because he unquestionably hurt this community like no other person in recent history. His words and actions still have broad interest in the community because of his terrible crimes. Many want to see him suffer. Others want him to repent. From the letter, it appears he’s doing some of both.]
SPOKANE, Wash. – KREM 2 News wrote to Spokane's serial killer Robert Yates several times since his arrest more than ten years ago.
The newsroom never received a substantive reply back until KREM 2 anchor Jane McCarthy received one.
She wrote to him on death row in Walla Walla requesting his first ever interview.
While he declined an on camera interview in his reply, the five pages he wrote revealed a lot about Robert Yates now.
In the 90’s, Yates murdered ten women in Spokane County. He killed at least three more in other parts of the state.
In April of 2000, the Serial Killer Task Force caught him. He tearfully confessed in court and received life in prison.
Another trial in 2002 for two murders in Pierce County handed Yates a death sentence.
Then nothing but silence from Yates, until a letter dated September 28th to Jane McCarthy.
The quote at the top of the page from Victor Hugo sets a theme--"there is a grief that can't be spoken."
In five neatly hand-written pages, Yates is seemingly consumed by grief, but looking for redemption from God.
First Yates explained why he doesn't want to appear on camera. Yates wrote: "What good could possibly come from having me, the object of much scorn, brought before the eyes and ears of the viewing public? Haven't I caused enough pain and suffering already?"
Most of the letter contains 32 quotes he's collected since his arrest.
We learn he's allowed to watch some TV with a quote that he attributed to Christian television.
He also quoted famous authors like C.S. Lewis and John Steinbeck, as well as religious figures. In a quote from Mother Teresa about the Prince of Darkness he commented that darkness once guided his own principles.
Written amidst the long list of quotes Robert Yates quoted Robert Yates: "I needed long moments of personal conviction where an individual becomes obligated to respond to the convicting power of God's truth. It was that crisis encounter with truth… while reading the Bible in jail, that brought me humbly to the foot of the cross, to find hope, grace and cleansing by the blood of Christ, my savior."
After five pages the reader is left with an image of a serial killer stained by horrendous crimes 10 years ago seemingly trying to wash away those stains through a newfound faith in healing.
Yates wrote: "I'm confident that in Christ alone we will find the grace to heal, be reconciled, and be made whole… That is my hope and prayer for each person upon whose life I have brought so much grief, suffering and loss."
Yates is still working his way through the lengthy appeals process that all death row inmates have. No firm date has been set for his execution.