And after their five kids came along, he was a doting dad who enjoyed fishing and camping trips. A lover of the outdoors, Robert would often head out alone to go hunting.
But in April 2000, Linda was woken at 6.30am by police raiding their home and arresting her husband. It turned out his ‘hunting’ trips hadn’t been all they seemed – he was a serial killer.
Stalking the streets, he’d preyed on vulnerable women. Once they were in his car, he’d shoot them in the head or heart before dumping them. His thirst for blood went as far back as 1975.
Out hunting, he came across Susan Savage and Patrick Oliver, who were enjoying a picnic – and shot them dead. Then, in 1988, the body of Stacy Hawn was discovered. In 1997, more bodies were found including Jennifer Joseph a 16-year-old runaway.
Then in 1998 he shot Christine Smith, 32, grazing her. Somehow, she managed to flee and give police a description of her attacker. But by the time investigators woke Linda that morning, five more women were dead.
During interrogation, Yates spilled the details of his heinous crimes in a bid to avoid the death penalty. That’s when detectives called Linda with another bombshell. There was a body in her backyard.
Yates had admitted to putting 43-year-old Melody Murfin in a makeshift grave just metres from the couple’s bedroom window.
He’d wanted to see her ‘every day’, he said.
Planting flowers above the spot, Linda had no idea. Speaking to TV show, Dateline, she admitted she’d wondered how she’d missed the signs her own husband was a murderer.
‘When you’re so close to somebody you don’t see it,’ she explained, adding that in hindsight his habit of splashing on cologne before his ‘hunting trips’ seemed odd.
In October 2000, Robert Lee Yates Jnr pleaded guilty to 13 counts of murder and one attempted murder. He was sentenced to 408 years in jail. Later convicted of two more murders, he was sentenced to death and he remains on Death Row.