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Tucson man accused in killings of wife, cellmate to represent self in upcoming trials

King Yates

King Yates, right, talks with his attorney, Stephanie Bond, in Pima County Superior Court. Yates is accused of killing his wife in 2016 and a Pima County jail cellmate in 2017.

A Tucson man facing murder charges in the deaths of his wife and Pima County jail cellmate will be representing himself in his upcoming trials, after his second attorney withdrew from the case Monday, court officials said.

King Yates was scheduled for trial in the December 2016 shooting death of his wife, Cassandra Yates, on June 25, but the date was vacated last week after Pima County prosecutors said they needed more time for their expert witnesses to prepare reports, according to a minute entry from the June 4 hearing.

Judge Howard Fell scheduled a hearing for next month to set a new trial date and also affirmed Yates’ Oct. 8 trial date, in connection with the April 2017 asphyxiation death of Yates’ cellmate, Branden Roth.

Yates, who previously fired another attorney, discussed difficulties he was having with current lawyer, Stephanie Bond, and asked for new representation.

Fell said that it was obvious to him that Yates was using “whatever mechanism possible to avoid trial and the consequences should he be convicted,” before denying Yates’ request, according to the minute entry.

In April, Yates parted ways with Pima County Assistant Legal Defender Vincent Frey, who was representing Yates in Roth’s death. At the time, Bond — who was representing Yates in his wife’s death — agreed to handle his defense in both cases.

On June 6, Bond filed a motion to withdraw, saying that the relationship with Yates was “irretrievably broken,” the document shows.

In the motion, Bond asked that the court assign Tucson attorney Bobbi Berry to the case, but in Monday’s hearing, Yates indicated he did not want a lawyer to assist him, said Superior Court spokeswoman Krisanne LoGalbo.

Yates’ next hearing is scheduled for July 2.

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

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