SPOKANE, Wash. - A man authorities say is a serial killer who preyed on prostitutes was charged Thursday with seven more murder counts.
Robert L. Yates Jr., who already faces a count of first-degree murder in an August 1997 killing, was also charged Thursday with attempted murder in the case of a prostitute who survived an attack in August 1998.
The new murder charges apply to Spokane area women who were killed in the late 1990s. All the women were prostitutes and drug users, investigators say. Prosecutors have not announced whether they will seek the death penalty.
Prosecutor Steve Tucker and Sheriff Mark Sterk said Yates left a ''signature'' on victims: plastic bags over their heads. Most of the bodies were found dumped in secluded areas.
Tucker and Sterk have said DNA and other physical evidence link Yates to the crimes.
Yates, a 47-year-old U.S. Army veteran who was working at a Kaiser Aluminum Corp. smelter near Spokane when he was arrested April 18, is being held at the Spokane County Jail in lieu of $1.5 million bail.
His lawyer, Richard Fasy, would not comment on the charges.