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Tucson man accused in 2 killings is indicted in jail sexual assault

Tucson man accused in 2 killings is indicted in jail sexual assault

A man accused of killing his cellmate at the Pima County jail is now facing felony charges of sexual assault and kidnapping involving another inmate.

On June 29, a Pima County grand jury indicted King Yates, 23, on the new charges, stemming from an incident that took place at the end of March, according to newly released Pima County Superior Court records.

On April 21, the victim was having a routine check-up with the jail nurse when he asked about having a test for sexually transmitted diseases, according to a sheriff detective’s testimony to the grand jury.

“He told the nurse that he wanted the STD test done because he had been sexually assaulted by Yates,” the detective said.

The victim, who was sharing a cell with Yates from March 31 through April 3, told the detective that during the incident, Yates came up behind him and grabbed his arm around his neck, causing the victim to pass out.

When the victim woke up, his hands were pinned behind his back and Yates was raping him, according to the detective’s testimony.

The victim told detectives that he didn’t come forward earlier because he was afraid of being labeled as a snitch, according to the document.

On July 31, Yates’ attorney, Pima County Assistant Legal Defender Vincent Frey, requested the case be returned to the grand jury to determine if there was probable cause for the charges.

Frey said in a court motion that because the victim delayed reporting the assault, there was no forensic evidence and the state’s case rests entirely on the victim’s testimony.

During the presentation to the grand jury, the state failed to mention the victim is schizophrenic, with a history of auditory and visual hallucinations, including while he was being housed in the jail, the motion said.

The state would not have been successful in bringing an indictment against Yates if the grand jury had been informed of the victim’s mental-health history, according Frey’s motion.

“The bare allegation by the state that King Yates sexually assaulted another inmate has put King Yates’ life in danger,” Frey wrote in the motion.

Yates has a status conference on the motion set for Sept. 18.

Yates is also facing first-degree murder charges in the Nov. 20 shooting death of his wife, Cassandra, and the April 19 death of his cellmate.

Brandon Roth, who was in jail for a nonviolent property crime, was found dead in his cell and a battery-filled sock was found in Yates’ possessions.

The Pima County Medical Examiner ruled that Roth’s death was the result of asphyxiation, but also noted severe blunt-force trauma to Roth’s head and face.

Yates is being held in jail on a $3.1 million bond.

He’s being housed separately from general population inmates, said Lt. Elsa Navarro.

Contact reporter Caitlin Schmidt at or 573-4191. Twitter: @caitlinschmidt

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