Spin Control

WA Supreme Court decision on Yates

OLYMPIA -- The Washington Supreme Court handed serial killer Robert Yates what could be a pyrrhic victory in his appeal of his 408-year sentence for 13 murders and one attempted murder.

Yes, the court said in a 7-2 ruling, the two 20-year-sentences for a pair of 1975 murders were incorrectly calculated. But given that you aren't getting out of prison in this lifetime, anyway, it's essentially no harm, no foul, case dismissed.

As part of his agreement that allowed him to escape the death penalty, Yates agreed that if he challenged his sentence, Spokane County could file the one murder charge it was holding back, and seek the death penalty if it got a conviction on that murder. That didn't keep him from appealing his sentence, the Supreme Court said, but it also means Spokane County could now file that case and seek the death penalty.

But Yates already has been sentenced to death for two murders in Pierce County, and Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker said he's not sure Spokane would file that charge and give him another 10 to 15 years of appeals.

Full story can be found here. To read the court's decision on Yates's appeal, technically known as a personal restraint petition, click here.

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden is the Olympia bureau chief, covering the Legislature and state government. He also is a political columnist and blogger for Spin Control.

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