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Execution date set for Wash. serial killer

TACOMA, Wash., Sept. 5 (UPI) -- A judge Friday set a Sept. 19 execution date for Robert Yates, the convicted serial killer of 15 women in Washington state.

The death warrant was signed in connection with two killings in Pierce County, although a request for a stay is expected to be filed with the Washington State Supreme Court.

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The Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, Wash., said Friday's action by Superior Court Judge John McCarthy came after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review Yates' case.

Yates was found guilty in Tacoma in 2002 of killing Melinda Mercer and Connie Ellis in Pierce County in the late 1990s. Yates was convicted of 13 similar slayings on the other side of the state in Spokane County and sentenced to more than 400 years in prison.

Yates was arrested in 2000 in connection with the shooting deaths of several women who had been involved in prostitution or drugs. A regional task force reportedly worked through some 6,000 leads and computer databases before zeroing in on Yates, who eventually led detectives to the body of one of his victims buried in his yard, The Spokesman-Review said.

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