Dr. Gregory "Greg" Williams Yates (born Gregory Williams) was a prime suspect in a series of rapes, kidnappings, and murders in New York, Illinois, North Carolina, New Orleans, and New Jersey.
Yates was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Michael and Susan Williams. At a young age, he already exhibited disturbing and violent behavior, having killed numerous animals and set the basement of his home on fire. When Susan became pregnant with his sister Nellie, his parents agreed to give Yates away for adoption to protect the baby. Michael personally drove him to North Carolina, where he was adopted by another family and raised under the surname of Yates.
Yates believed his mother had abandoned him, and so grew up to hate her and all other women. He went to medical school at Duke University. There, he met Susie Frain when she was a freshman and they started dating. The couple also got acquainted with fellow med student Carl Rudnick and his then-girlfriend Lena Grunwald. They all eventually graduated together and Yates became a surgeon. Yates and Susie later made plans to move to New York after Yates accepted a job as a professor at Columbia University.
Before he left, he kidnapped, raped, and murdered a pregnant woman named Gillian Hale. He then took advantage of the move to discreetly transport her body and bury her in a forest near a beach in New York City. While in New York, he also acquired a residency at Presbyterian Hospital and Rudnick became an attending surgeon. Yates also continued to rape and murder women while disposing them in his burial ground. He eventually raped and murdered two nurses, crimes that were investigated by Detectives Stabler and Benson. What connected both of them was that Yates painted their nails green during the crimes and, after killing them, burned their bodies instead of burying them, to eliminate any forensic evidence left behind. He later kidnapped, raped, and murdered another nurse named Debra McCulloch, but unlike the other two, he buried her along with his other victims on the beach. Afterwards, he moved around, raping and killing women wherever he went, bringing the bodies to New York to bury them.
Yates eventually got a job in Chicago with MedCare and restarted his rape/murder spree by targeting a nurse named Victoria Lewyn. He rapes and beats her, paints her nails green, and sets her home on fire to kill her. (Fire: "We Called Her Jellybean")
Officers Kim Burgess and Sean Roman later catch Yates driving a car fleeing the scene of the fire and take him in, saying the car he is driving struck someone. Yates is cooperative with Detectives Lindsay and Amaro, giving them all of his information as they talk about his work records. All the while, he eyes Lindsay. When they start showing photos of the victims, he becomes suspicious and denies knowing them. Yates then leaves after he asks if he is under arrest and they say no. He greets Nadia Decotis on the way out. Yates then calls Lindsay and asks to meet her at a park, which she agrees to do. Before the meeting, he rapes and kills another woman. Afterwards, he sets up a remote incendiary device to be triggered while they are talking, in order to set up an alibi for himself, and goes to meet Lindsay. He approaches her and insists they walk and talk, which Lindsay reluctantly agrees to. Yates starts talking about the revolution in Egypt and brings up the law of unintended consequences. He then leaves Lindsay as they get the call about the newest victim. After leading them on a wild goose chase, he approaches Nadia as she is getting a cake for Lindsay's birthday. He greets her again, then knocks her out with a tire iron and forces her into the back of Lindsay's car, which Nadia had been using. (P.D.: "The Number of Rats")
First Spree and Trial
Yates proceeds to take Nadia on a road trip all the way back to New York City, wrapping her in green plastic and swapping the car's license plates at a rest stop in Elkhart, Indiana. As he drives, he taunts Nadia by singing along to music on the road at full volume. Then, Yates stops at a gas station in Reynoldsville, Pennsylvania, and buys supplies and more green nail polish. While paying for them, he spots a mother and her baby, and helps her with her items. He then watches both of them as they leave. Upon leaving the store, he is approached by a trucker who tells him about something moving around in the backseat, unaware that it is Nadia. Yates jokes that he kidnapped a girl who is resisting violently, then claims that it is his dog. Once the man walks away, he gets into the car, unwraps Nadia, and threatens to knock her out again if she continues resisting. When Nadia begs to be released and promises not to tell anyone that he was responsible, Yates replies that she missed her chance at doing that and tells her about the trucker, claiming he is still nearby. Nadia promptly screams, but Yates cranks the radio volume up again and tauntingly tells her that she should tell him something about herself, as they have a long drive ahead of them.
Later on, as Yates makes another stop in Plainfield, New Jersey, he tells Nadia that they will arrive at New York soon. She tells him that she will not cave in to him and that Sergeant Hank Voight will make him regret killing her in the first place before spitting in his face, but Yates is not deterred. When they arrive at New York, he forces her to change cars while she leaves her scarf in the old car. He then rapes, tortures, and murders Nadia and buries her in his burial ground. Afterwards, he charms his way into an apartment, where he rapes a pair of roommates and bludgeons both of them, killing one and putting the other in a coma. Yates is then tracked down to Susie's house, sometime after he proposed to her; as he is arrested, Voight demands to know where Nadia is, but Yates denies knowing what he is talking about. In interrogation, he claims that he visited the Chicago precinct but found only Nadia, who offered to give him a ride to New York. He then frustrates Detective Jay Halstead by claiming Nadia looked up to him and wanted to escape. He then briefly hints at what he did to Nadia, wording his statements as rhetorical guesses and subtly taunting Voight.
With Susie's unknowing help, they eventually find his burial ground and charge Yates for the rape, sodomy, and murder in the first degree (concerning Nadia, their strongest case). With Judge Elana Barth's approval, Yates represents himself with his attorney, Sofia Crane, as his co-counsel during the trial. He puts on a defense to create reasonable doubt through Nadia's past as a drug-addicted prostitute, as well as previous suspicion on another suspect, Halstead's brother Will, and his claims that the Chicago Police Department was abusing her. However, during his testimony, he begins to visibly revel in his manipulation of the court and go off-topic in his responses to questions. Realizing that he is getting off on it, A.D.A. Rafael Barba decides to trick Yates into revealing his true nature to the jury by exposing him to autopsy photos of Nadia during the trial. This prompts Yates to have M.E. Melinda Warner explain the full extent of the injuries Nadia suffered, relishing the descriptions of her pain and suffering rather than making an attempt to create reasonable doubt. He is subsequently convicted of all charges, and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole in Green Haven Correctional Facility. Before sentencing, while Yates is washing up, he is confronted by Voight, who chokes him for a moment. Then, he releases him and tells Yates that if he lowers his guard in prison, someone will do to him what he did to Nadia. (SVU: "Daydream Believer")
When a body washes up where Yates buried his victims, SVU Detective Amanda Rollins drives to the prison where he is held, Green Haven Correctional Facility, to question him. Rollins accuses Yates of killing this new victim; Yates implies someone else is responsible but won't elaborate. He asks Rollins to wait for a while and come back when he is ready to share, and she leaves. Yates then calls Rollins twice to set up a meeting and she agrees, but is forced to bring Fin with her, which Yates isn't happy about. Yates then reveals an incident from 2002 in which he was called to a townhouse by another doctor to treat his wounds, and Yates suspected he killed someone. He gives them the address while withholding the doctor's name.
When the SVU discovers a body in the townhouse, Yates claims to know who she is and who killed her, but will only talk if they grant him conjugal visits with Susie. Barba reluctantly agrees, and after one such visit, Yates reveals that the woman is Lena and the killer is Rudnick, his friend from school. Benson and Rollins don't believe him as they personally knew Rudnick and leave in disgust, thinking Yates was lying to them. When Yates hears that Rudnick is an M.E., he asks if Rudnick autopsied any of his victims. When they confirm it, Yates theorizes that such an act would be a trigger and would cause him to kill again. He then tells them to check the body that washed ashore again, as he is positive the killer cut the victim up while she was still alive.
When SVU starts to seriously consider Rudnick as a suspect, they ask Susie to find a photo of Rudnick posing as Lena to prove their theory. Susie eventually finds the photo, but Yates tells her to use the photo to blackmail Rudnick into setting him free. This backfires when Rudnick kills Susie. When he doesn't get a call from Susie as he expected, Yates starts to get concerned. When Rollins calls Yates, he shares his concerns and asks if Rudnick is still imprisoned. When she informs him he made bail, Yates realizes what happened. The police eventually finds Susie's dismembered body washed ashore and Rollins notifies him of her death. He then asks them to see her body and to test to see if she is pregnant. (SVU: "Devil's Dissections")
When Rudnick is arrested for the three murders he committed, A.D.A. Barba sends Rollins to talk to Yates for more information they can use at the trial. He tells Rollins that Susie went to Rudnick to blackmail him for his freedom in exchange for hiding the photo. Yates speculates that Susie wanted him out so they could raise their baby together, stating that he knew she was pregnant even though she didn't tell him about it. He mentions her scent was different as the reason for his deduction, and then uses that pretext to imply that he knows Rollins is pregnant. Rollins leaves in utter shock as she didn't know herself.
When Rudnick is convicted of Rachel and Susie's murders, but Lena's murder charge is dismissed, Yates expresses his disappointment. He then subtly confesses that after Rudnick killed Lena and called him over to have wounds inflicted on him treated, he gave Rudnick advice on how to better control his future victims and helped hide the body. Rollins leaves as Yates taunts her with this information and his knowledge of her pregnancy. Later, he heads to the cafeteria, where he and Rudnick sit down to eat lunch as they "catch up". (SVU: "Criminal Pathology")
During his imprisonment, Yates started paying a corrupt guard to slip him burner phones so he could do research on his family. When he discovered the location of his family and learned of an escape plan devised by Rudnick and new prison employee Bronwyn Freed-Wilkins, Yates implicitly confesses that several remains found at his primary disposal site in New York belonged to runaways from Chicago, all the while still pretending to be innocent. Under the arrangements of Benson and Voight, Lindsay and Detective Antonio Dawson are sent from Chicago to New York to interrogate Yates. As they talk, Yates taunts Lindsay about Nadia and has the corrupt guard put spyware on Lindsay's phone. Then, Dawson shows him photos of potential victims, which he stares at in fascination before pretending to correctly guess details of their murders. He then continues to taunt Lindsay, prompting her and Dawson to prepare to leave. He tells them that he is more comfortable talking to Rollins; when Dawson tells him she isn't coming, Yates realizes that she must have had her baby by this time and asks about the gender. Lindsay refuses to tell him, to which Yates says that he will continue talking if Rollins is brought to him by tomorrow.
The next day, he walks in during a prison group therapy session held by Freed and intimidates Jose Silva into allowing him to be partnered with Rudnick, who is also a member. The two talk about trays of lasagna Freed brought in, and Yates implies that he knows Freed has been smuggling tools to Rudnick. Later on, Rollins and Detective Carisi arrive at Green Haven to interrogate him. Yates tries to ask Rollins if she is breastfeeding, but is quickly shot down by Carisi. Rollins then shows him a photo of a victim, and he shares details of her murder under the guise of speaking hypothetically. He then offers to share more details under the condition that he be transferred to the facility's honor block. Believing it to be a ploy so Yates could kill Rudnick in revenge for killing Susie, the SVU tries to turn down the deal, but it is unsuccessful. During his transfer, Yates passes Rudnick's cell, sees his tray of lasagna, and touches upon their previous conversation, calling Freed a miracle worker. He then warns him that he will be there when Rudnick's miracle occurs, unsettling Rudnick.
Later on, Benson, Barba, and Sergeant Mike Dodds arrive at Green Haven to visit Yates, just as drones suddenly appear and orchestrate a small prison riot. At the same time, Rudnick finishes creating a hole in the wall of his cell with the tools he got from Freed, and takes Yates with him. They both crawl through a pipe leading out of the prison, where they kill two electrical workers who assisted Rudnick, then Yates leaves behind a taunting note written in green nail polish for the SVU to find. The two then rendezvous with Freed, who drives them over to her house and provides them with weapons. Afterwards, Yates gags her, stuffs her in the trunk of her car, and tells Rudnick to kill her. Unbeknownst to him, Rudnick doesn't do it and merely fakes her death.
The two make their way to Gloversville, New York, where they hide out in a house abandoned for the winter. They are found by a state trooper, but Yates manages to rape and kill her. He then attacks Rudnick and leaves him to die, but Rudnick is rescued by the SVU. Meanwhile, Yates kills another state trooper and uses his body to lure in Lindsay and Dodds, both of whom he shoots at with the trooper's stolen gun. He then flees to a cabin, where he carjacks a man, kills him, and leaves a taunting note for Lindsay, telling her he will be seeing her back home. (SVU: "Nationwide Manhunt")
Final Stand and Death
Yates traveled state to state, carjacking people along the way, and eventually arrived back to Chicago, where he began to look for his sister, Nellie Carr. During this time, he started using the spyware on Lindsay's phone to keep tabs on the investigation. Yates arrives at an apartment complex, finds the apartment his sister owns, and knocks on the door. He charms his way into the apartment and brutally kills all four of Nellie's roommates who were nurses, searching for her. When he didn't find her, Yates goes to her workplace and asks a couple of students where she was. They inform him she was covering class and was headed to the parking lot. While he waits, he calls Lindsay by spoofing her mother's phone number, but she ignores it. When Yates finds Nellie, he kidnaps her, leaving another note taunting Lindsay and revealing that he knew she was at the station. He starts interrogating Nellie about her past and keeps mentioning how everyone needs a home.
Yates starts handing the stuff he stole from his victims off to homeless vagrants to throw the police off his trail and pays another homeless woman to deliver a box to the station, containing one of his victims' hands holding another note. Yates then breaks into Lindsay's apartment, bringing Nellie with him. He checks on Lindsay through the spyware and monitors her when she opens the box. As soon Lindsay reads the note, he calls her again spoofing her mother's number and FaceTimes her. Yates shows Lindsay that Nellie is still alive and continues taunting her. Lindsay tries to elicit a confession from Yates on the four nurses he killed, but he refuses, starts ranting about Cain and Abel, and hangs up on her. Yates then locks Nellie in a closet and warns her that if she tries to escape, he will kill her.
Later on, Yates locates his biological father Michael, attacks him, and kidnaps him. Using Nellie's phone, he calls his mother's cell. When Lindsay and Nellie answer the phone, Lindsay tells Sergeant Platt to take Nellie somewhere safe and listens to Yates talk about Cain and Abel again. Lindsay turns the tables on Yates and starts taunting him with the fact that she reminds him of his mother. He informs her that her team is on their way to the wrong location, which he pointed them to. As Lindsay's colleague, Mouse, triangulates his location, Yates invites Lindsay to come over and promises to talk to her when she gets there, but threatens to kill Michael unless she comes on her own.
When Lindsay arrives, Yates has his father in a chair, perched over an edge, with a noose around his neck. When Lindsay tries to call for help, Yates forces her to hang up her phone and holster her gun. He then instructs her to sit down, gives her a full confession of all his crimes, and starts taunting her over Nadia's murder and their similarities. After Yates is done, he pushes Michael over the edge, hanging him. He then grabs an ice pick and starts moving toward Lindsay, taunting her that she will be the one to kill him. She warns him to stay back, but Yates keeps edging closer and closer, declaring that she will be the one to tell his story and repeatedly daring her to kill him. Finally, Lindsay is forced to shoot him in self-defense, killing him. (P.D.: "The Song of Gregory Williams Yates")
- Unknown dates:
- Durham, North Carolina: Gillian Hale (raped and snapped her neck; buried her body in New York; was pregnant at the time of her death)
- New York:
- Stottville: Jess Crye (raped and bludgeoned; buried her body in New York)
- Syosset: Unnamed student (raped and bludgeoned; buried her body in New York)
- New Jersey: Allison (raped and bludgeoned; buried her body in New York)
- New Orleans, Louisiana: Stella Quinn (raped and bludgeoned; buried her body in New York)
- Chicago, Illinois:
- Siobhan Kennedy (raped and killed by unknown causes; buried her body in New York)
- Lisa and Rebecca (both raped and killed by unknown causes; buried their bodies in New York)
- Unnamed woman (raped and killed by unknown causes; buried her body in New York)
- 2004, New York:
- Alice Whitlock (raped, bludgeoned, and set on fire post-mortem)
- Lisa Hoffman (raped, bludgeoned, and set on fire post-mortem in her car)
- Debra McCulloch (raped, killed by unknown causes, and buried her body)
- Unknown dates:
- Chicago, Illinois:
- Unknown date: Charlotte Reegen (intended)
- April 9: Victoria Lewyn (raped, beaten, fractured her skull, and set on fire; later died in the hospital)
- April 12:
- Unnamed woman (raped, beaten, and set on fire)
- Nadia Decotis (abducted in Chicago and taken to New York; raped, tortured, bludgeoned, and strangled)
- April 13, New York City, New York: The apartment assaults:
- Renee Walden (raped and bludgeoned)
- Nila Green (assaulted; was raped and bludgeoned, subsequently being left in a coma)
- Chicago, Illinois:
- February 6, New York City, New York: Two unnamed electrical workers (killed together with Rudnick; necks snapped)
- February 7, Gloversville, New York:
- Unnamed female state trooper (raped and bludgeoned)
- M.E. Carl Rudnick (assaulted; broke his knees and ankles, stabbed his eardrum, and left him to die)
- The roadside shooting:
- Unnamed man (shot in the head and carjacked)
- February 7-8:
- Pennsylvania: Unnamed motorist (assaulted and carjacked)
- Ohio: Unnamed motorist (assaulted and carjacked)
- Indiana: Unnamed motorist (assaulted and carjacked)
- February 8, Chicago, Illinois:
- The apartment massacre:
- Kindra Komerda (bashed her head on the floor repeatedly)
- Carla Gorniewicz (slammed against the wall repeatedly)
- Adrienne Lewis (bludgeoned and cut off her hand post-mortem)
- Sam Inniss (bludgeoned; died at the hospital)
- Penelope "Nellie" Carr (his sister; kidnapped; was rescued)
- Michael Williams (his father; assaulted, kidnapped, and hanged)
- The apartment massacre: