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Yanni Yogi was a bailiff at the District Court, perhaps best known as the prime suspect in the DL-6 Incident. Fifteen years after his trial, he appeared as an apparently senile old witness for the trial of Miles Edgeworth for the murder of his old defense attorney, Robert Hammond.
- Main article: DL-6 Incident
In 2001, Yanni Yogi accompanied defense attorney Gregory Edgeworth and his son Miles into an elevator to leave the courthouse. Suddenly, an earthquake struck, shutting off the power and leaving the three stranded in the elevator for five hours. During this ordeal, Yogi panicked and attacked Gregory. During the struggle, Yogi's pistol fell out of its holster, and Miles tried to stop the fighting by throwing it. There was a single gunshot and a scream, and all three of the passengers fell unconscious. When Yogi woke up, Gregory Edgeworth was dead and he was the top suspect in the murder.
Due to the lack of evidence against Yogi, the police used a spirit medium by the name of Misty Fey to contact Gregory's spirit. Gregory accused Yogi of the murder, so Yogi was arrested and put on trial for the murder. Yogi's lawyer, Robert Hammond, instructed him to plead temporary insanity to avoid conviction. Yogi did so and pretended to have succumbed to brain damage from the lack of oxygen in the elevator. This got Yogi an acquittal.
Because Yogi had gained an acquittal through an insanity plea rather than a not guilty plea, he lost his social standing and his career as a bailiff. In addition to this, his fiancée, Polly Jenkins, committed suicide. Yogi blamed Hammond and Miles Edgeworth for what had happened to him, because he really had not done anything but had been compelled to admit both to wrongdoing and to crippling brain damage. Despite his troubles, he managed to land a job running a boat rental shop at Gourd Lake. He kept up his act from his trial, posing as a senile old man, with only a parrot that he named Polly to keep him company. He also burned his fingerprints off for the sake of hiding his real identity. All the while, his grudge against Hammond and Edgeworth festered for the next 15 years.
- Main article: Turnabout Goodbyes
Sometime in December 2016, Yogi received a letter from Prosecutor Manfred von Karma, which contained detailed instructions for killing Hammond and then framing Edgeworth for the murder. On Christmas Eve, Yogi called Hammond and Edgeworth to his shack. When Hammond arrived first, Yogi fatally shot him through the heart. About 15 minutes after midnight, Yogi put on Hammond's coat to disguise himself, and then he took Edgeworth on a boat ride to the middle of Gourd Lake. There, Yogi made known his intentions for revenge and shot the murder weapon twice, the first to attract the attention of any potential witnesses, and the second to give the witnesses a false crime scene for Hammond's murder. Yogi jumped backwards into the lake, leaving Edgeworth and the pistol on the boat. Yogi then put the coat back on the victim's body, threw it into Gourd Lake, and called the police, telling them that he had seen Edgeworth murder Hammond. Defense attorney Phoenix Wright took on Edgeworth's case against Prosecutor von Karma.
During Wright's investigation of the area around Gourd Lake, he encountered Yogi in his shack. Yogi pretended to be senile as usual, not even giving Wright his name. However, while talking to the parrot Polly, Wright's assistant Maya Fey caused her to yell, "Don't forget DL-6!" This exposed Yogi's involvement in the incident.
During the second day of trial proceedings, Yogi was called to the stand, and he continued his antics. With Wright unable to get much headway with the witness, the judge declared Edgeworth guilty. Just then, however, Larry Butz burst into the courtroom and testified about what he had heard on the night of the murder. Through his testimony, Wright established the real place and time of death, and he unraveled Yogi's entire modus operandi. Cornered, Yogi escaped from the courtroom while Wright was explaining his argument, suspending the proceedings for the next day.
Later that day, Wright returned to Yogi's shack. Fey tried talking to Polly and eventually caused her to reveal the combination for a safe, "1228", which contained von Karma's letter, confirming what Wright had said in court. Wright later found the police files from the DL-6 Incident and suspected that the old man was Yogi. However, when he confronted von Karma about the evidence that he had gathered, von Karma attacked Wright and Fey with a stun gun and stole the letter and most of the DL-6 records.
By the third and last day of the trial, Yogi had been apprehended. As he took the stand, he explained that he had left to take care of Polly. Wright tried to prove his identity, but this proved difficult since Yogi had burned his fingerprints off. In a bold and desperate move, Wright called the parrot to the stand. He told Polly to reveal the combination for the safe again and suggested that it was based on the date in which the DL-6 Incident had occurred: December 28, 15 years earlier. Wright also suggested that Yogi had named his parrot after his deceased fiancée, Polly Jenkins, which Yogi couldn't have done if he didn't remember his earlier years.
The old man's entire demeanor changed as he gave up and dropped his act. He confirmed his real identity as Yanni Yogi, and he admitted to killing Robert Hammond. He explained that he had resented both Hammond and Edgeworth for the DL-6 Incident, and that this drove him to ruin them when the right opportunity arose.
Little is known about Yogi's personality before the murder of Gregory Edgeworth. What is known is that he was the first to panic in the lift and attack Edgeworth as the air thinned to unbearable amounts. His personality changed after the incident, as the loss of his job and his fiancée left him with a great deal of resentment and anger.
While under the guise of "Uncle," Yogi appeared senile and confused. He called Wright "Keith" and Maya Fey "Meg," and acted like he believed they were his children who had come back to him to inherit his "pasta shop." He also had the habit of falling asleep spontaneously. However, as soon as his true identity was revealed, Yogi lost all traces of his previous personality, immediately becoming lucid and calm. Even his posture changed from hunched-over to upright as he admitted his guilt.
- His Japanese name, "Haine Koutarou" (灰根 高太郎), comes from a combination of the names of two poets: Kōtarō Takamura (a Japanese poet who is famous for his book of poems about his deceased wife Chieko) and Heinrich Heine (a German poet). These meanings are likely a leftover from Yogi's original character, where he was intended to be a poet who would speak in prose.
- "Yanni" is a variant of "Yannis" (Γιάννης), a common Greek name which itself is a variant of "John" meaning "God is generous". Considering Yogi's life, this could be taken ironically. However, the opportunity given to him by von Karma for revenge could have be seen by Yogi as almost divine providence by comparison.
- A "Yogi" is a practitioner of Yoga, a discipline commonly associated with meditation and an abstinence from worldly pleasures. Yanni Yogi's life of isolation after the DL-6 Incident is similar in a way to the self-isolation practiced by a stereotypical "wise man", although for completely different reasons and with a very different outcome (murder rather than an attempted spiritual awakening).
- The full name "Yanni Yogi" could be a reference to the character of Yami Yugi from the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, who also has two different personalities.
- Before his true identity is revealed, Yogi is identified as "Uncle"; in Japan, the equivalent title ("oji-san") is commonly used to address elders. However, in the remake for iOS he is instead referred to as "old man" in a similar way to Victor Kudo. In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy for Nintendo 3DS, he is identified as the "Caretaker".
- During development, Yogi was initially intended to be a poet who would speak in prose, but difficulties in formatting his dialogue resulted in the idea being discarded.
- In the prison visited by Miles Edgeworth in The Imprisoned Turnabout, a parrot similar in appearance to Polly can be seen in one of the cells, although it is unclear whether it is intended to be the same bird.