Yates files for bankruptcy from jail

Associated Press

SPOKANE — Robert L. Yates Jr. filed a personal bankruptcy petition on Friday, a day after pleading guilty to 13 murders and one attempted murder, according to a television news report.

Yates made a joint filing with his wife Linda in U.S. Bankruptcy Court here under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, KXLY-TV said.

Chapter 7 lets individuals keep certain belongings while selling off other property to repay creditors.

Robert Yates signed the petition from his Spokane County Jail cell a couple hours before pleading guilty in a string of serial killings Thursday, KXLY said. The filing was made the following morning.

The petition states Yates and his wife have assets of more than $136,000 and liabilities totaling $475,000, with much of the debt from seven credit cards.

One of the creditors listed is Christine L. Smith, a woman who survived a 1998 attack and in July filed a lawsuit against Yates. Yates pleaded guilty Thursday to attempted first-degree murder in that attack as part of a plea agreement to escape the death penalty for the 13 murders to which he pleaded guilty.

In her lawsuit, Smith, 32, is seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering in an amount to be established by a court.

The lawsuit accuses Yates of "assault and battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, negligent infliction of emotional distress and outrage."

Investigators say Smith was assaulted after being picked up by a "date" shortly after 1 a.m. on the streets of Spokane in August 1998.

Robert and Linda Yates’ bankruptcy petition lists their two-story home on Spokane’s South Hill as the family’s biggest asset. The house has been assessed at $113,000, but the bankruptcy filing lists the home’s market value as $133,000.

During the two-year period before Yates’ April arrest in the serial killings, he earned a total of about $40,000 as a replacement worker at a Kaiser Aluminum smelter north of Spokane during a labor dispute, the petition says.

He also earned about $25,000 during those two years as a Washington National Guard helicopter pilot.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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