Update: Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity

12:03 pm Wednesday July 26, 2006


Jury Reaches Verdict on Yates Trial

Her ex-husband calls it "a miracle'' that Andrea Yates has been found not guilty by reason of insanity in the drownings of their children.

Rusty Yates and his mother were both in tears as the verdict came in. Even the defense lawyers cried.

Andrea Yates showed little emotion as she stood to hear the jury's decision. But when the judge in the Houston courtroom announced the proceedings were over, Yates and her ex-husband hugged her lawyers.


Justice for Andrea Yates

It took over four years but the criminal justice system in Texas finally got it right. Andrea Yates, described at the time of the killing of her children as one of the most severely mentally ill patients ever encountered, finally was recognized as such by a jury which took the time to consider what must have happened (or not happened) inside Yates' mind that morning in June 2001 to cause her to seek out and destroy those she loved most in life.

There is no victory here. Yates will be sent to heavily-guarded mental health facility, where she will probably spend the rest of her life. From time to time she will be evaluated. And, if past is prologue, every time her medicine allows her to regain a little bit of sanity she will realize what she did to her beloved children and then descend again back into some sort of madness. So this story started as a tragedy and continues as a tragedy even with though the defense finally won the day. (Reporter name unknown)





A Woman's Life in the Balance

The Yates Family during happier times (the newborn child does not appear above.)


For those of you that don't know, Andrea Yates is the Houston Texas USA area mother who several years ago was sent to prison for drowning all of her children to death in a bathtub in their home.  If I am correct, she believed God wanted her to do this and she felt she was protecting the children by doing this. 

My entire being screamed when I heard she was convicted of murder.  I am still haunted by this case.  I believe in my heart she was not in her right mind and she does not deserve to be in a prison.   Something in my soul says she is not guilty.  She may need to be in a mental hospital for the rest of her life, at least until they ascertain she won't ever do this again, but I don't believe she should have been placed in prison.  This was a woman who experienced a complete psychosis at the very best.  A prosecution witness mistakenly told the court that what she did to her children was actually portrayed in an episode from the Law & Order TV Series when in fact no such episode existed, even stating he was hired to work on the episode in question when in fact no such episode existed, strongly prejudicing the jury.   If I had been a juror on that trial and someone told me that a TV Episode depicting exactly what Andrea Yates did was on TV a few weeks/months prior to her actions, I too would have much more inclined to convict her most likely.  Think about it, if you were a juror and you were told that and 5 young lives were taken, most rational people would have been left with no other choice but guilty.  But it was a lie or a mistake, which I am not sure.  It came from a prosecution witness being paid 500.oo per hour.  

The new trial is scheduled for March 20th, 2006.  She is facing life in prison and possibly worse.   Don't get me wrong, I am not asking you to pray for her to be released or not convicted but instead that the entire truth comes out at her trial;  if that is done I believe the rest will fall into place as it should.  You can mail a link to this page or site with the Send Link option at the foot of each page.  It will open your e-mail program so you can privately send easily to anyone in your address book. 


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 I am creating and posting this page January 1st, 2006, 11:00 pm, the same day I learned she was returning to court after the Appeals Court threw the case out because of prosecutorial witnesses lie about her.

Update: January 27, 2006 - several crucial court document from the case are presented here and a link to Court TV's Complete Coverage of the Andrea Yates Case now posted.  She had been evaluated and found to be seriously mentally ill with psychotic features, they just didn't get her into the institution in time.  Links to court documents available via the buttons here, and the blue text link after the buttons can be shift-clicked to open the Court TV Site's Andrea Yates Complete Coverage page.

Court TV - Andrea Yates Case     Andrea Yates Court Documents  

Comments Received about this page:

Date: Thursday, January 05, 2006

Concerning Andrea Yates.......All I have to say about the matter is, what if those were your children, your flesh and blood that she drowned in a tub. Would you still say she shouldn't have to go to prison?  Anonymous


That is the thing, these were her kids, not another family's.  She did not bring physical harm to any one other than the children she brought into this world and nurtured up until that fateful day.  It is imperative that we understand mental illness better as a country and a world, so that we can identify and prevent these things from happening in the first place by understanding the warning signs and having a network in place.  Was this preventable in the first place?  Had her husband received training about warning signs at the first sign of problems, maybe, but mental illness can be difficult to detect also.  We have to get past the social stigmas associated with mental illness to this day, in 2006.  The individuals hit with this illness can be handled as ill people and not as premeditated, cold blooded, calculating murderers and rapists which is where they are being placed frequently.  Imagine going to bed one night and waking up the next day in a maximum security prison with your states most violent offenders.  This is how it can be for someone who has had a psychotic episode and committed some horrible offense, yet they have never had so much as a traffic ticket until that day.   For them it as if they are waking up once the psychosis subsides either naturally or with medication.  People who become psychotic are no different than the craziest person at a mental hospital, but, their disorder can appear and disappear and never return again, by no fault of their own.  The person you know and love for years, a parent or spouse, could have this happen, like Alzheimer's.  I cannot imagine losing a child.   The bottom line though, I am not an expert and that is why I just ask that the entire truth comes out.   Her first trial had serious errors that inflamed the jury and left them almost without any choice but the verdict they made.  If she deserves prison then she should be there but if she honestly lost her mind and was truly insane, then no, I donít want her in prison.  And I think the acid test is the fact she actually took all of her childrenís lives.  If she was faking or not insane, I think she would have snapped back into reality after the first or second child, but to follow through on all 5 tells me that she was not in her right mind, in my opinion.  Thanks for writing in.   I welcome everyone's thoughts and comments on this, good or bad, anonymous if you prefer. 

I wonder what her 5 children would want for their Mom.

I hope none of us experience the unbearable depth of pain Andrea Yates will experience and live with for the rest of her life in the absence of the five lives she brought into this world and then took out.  Her whole world disappeared in one afternoon, the process completed by her husbands divorcing her some time later.  Instead of a team of doctors able to help her sort through what happened and the overwhelming grief, she instead deals with hardened felons for the most part and probably has significant fear or anxiety around the clock as a result. 

Again, learn the facts, I have only gotten bits and pieces and I may be wrong, which is why I just ask that all of the truth come out and that justice prevails.   I think my soul threw up the day I heard what she did and again when she was convicted.  We will all rest better knowing the right thing has been done in this case, whatever that may be.


UPDATE: The judge in Andrea Yates case today January 9, 2006, has accepted her plea of not guilty by reason of insanity and has set her trial date for March 20th of this year.  Thanks for taking the time to become more familiar with her case.


SICKENED AND DISGUSTED: Wow.  CNN was intense on at 7:15 pm tonight (February 2nd).  I think the woman (Nancy Grace) on TV hated Andrea Yates.

I found Time Magazines Coverage much more balanced, reporting the facts and not beating their viewers over the head with their opinions.  I've condensed an article appearing in Time with some of the important information pertaining to Andrea Yates mental faculties in the days, months and even years prior to her unimaginable act.  Plus they focus on the Prosecution witness who lied (worse than I previously thought-he said not only was their a TV Show that depicted what she did, he stated he even worked with and helped the TV Show Law & Order when they produced it.)   And the people of Houston, Texas paid $ 500.00 per hour for his services.  At 500.00 per hour you think you could get just the honest facts.   I've added bolding to key terms in the article that follows:

Here is the Time Magazine info regarding Ms. Yates mental state prior to her taking her children's lives.

After the birth of their fourth child, Luke, in 1999, Andrea tried to commit suicide twice. She was hospitalized both times and was diagnosed with postpartum depression and psychosis.

She recovered while using Haldol, but eventually stopped taking the medication. Against the advice of her psychiatrist, Andrea soon became pregnant again with their fifth child, Mary.  Within months, following the death of her ailing father, her psychosis returned. Instead of taking her back to the same doctor who'd treated her before, Rusty told jurors that he and Andrea went to the Devereux-Texas Treatment Network, where Mohammed Saeed became Andrea's psychiatrist. Rusty testified that he never knew that Andrea had visions and voices; he said he never knew she had considered killing the children. Neither did Dr. Saeed, even though the delusions could have been found in medical records from 1999. Andrea would not talk or eat.

After only slight improvement, Andrea was released from Devereux.  A month later, she had another episode. Rusty took her back to Devereux. Again, she was released. Dr. Saeed reluctantly prescribed Haldol, the same drug that worked in a drug cocktail for her in 1999. But after a few weeks, he took her off the drug, citing his concerns about side effects.  Though Andrea's condition seemed to be worsening two days before the drownings, when her husband drove her to Saeed's office, Rusty testified, the doctor refused to try Haldol longer or return her to the hospital. Rusty was frustrated, he told the jury, and he didn't know what else to do.

'Satan destroys and leaves'

As the trial continued, the parade of experts included the celebrated psychiatrist Park Dietz, whom the District Attorney's Office paid $500 an hour to analyze Andrea and explain to the jury why she should be convicted despite the insanity law because, by her own admission, she knew her actions were wrong.

Known for his testimony as a prosecution witness in high-profile crimes, Dietz had worked on the cases of John Hinckley, who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan; Susan Smith, who killed her children by driving her car into a pond; and the Unabomber. He also helped proclaim legally sane Jeffrey Dahmler, who kept the heads of his murder victims in his freezer. He had credentials that the Texas prosecutors thought qualified him to review Andrea Yates, though he had limited knowledge of postpartum psychosis.

Dietz's two days of testimony would be riveting and revealing. His polished demeanor captivated the jury; he used a Powerpoint presentation to illustrate how he reached his conclusions and a video to show his interviews with Andrea in the Harris County Jail.

"Before you did it," Dietz asked Andrea during one videotaped session, "did you think it was wrong?"


Dietz asked, "Why did you not think it wrong?"

Andrea answered without hesitation. "If I didn't do it, they would be tormented by Satan.

For the entire article from Time Magazine, shift-click this link: Time Magazine Coverage


Most Current News about Andrea Yates


UPDATE: JANUARY 31, 2006: HOUSTON (Reuters) - Andrea Yates, the Texas woman awaiting retrial for drowning her five children, was granted $200,000 bail on Wednesday and was expected to go to a mental health facility on Thursday, a spokesman for her lawyer said.  (Last I heard they were raising funds and if they have raised the money then excellent, if not I will get contact information for her fund for anyone interested.) 

She will still face trial in March and cannot leave the mental health facility she is placed in while she is on bond.  For those of you that have been praying for her "Yah!" or "Yeah!" (sp?) and PTL.  Keep her lifted up before the throne of God at very least until March, small but important victory for her now.  Hopefully this new less threatening setting will enable her to deal with what has transpired and her grief. 

UPDATE: February 2, 2006: HOUSTON (AP) - Andrea Yates left jail early Thursday (today) for a state mental hospital where she will await her second capital murder trial for the drowning deaths of her young children.

Yates' lawyer posted her $200,000 US bond, releasing her from incarceration for the first time since the five children were drowned in the family bathtub in June 2001. 

Yates, 41, didn't speak as she left the jail. She carried a brown paper sack and wore jeans and a blue-white striped shirt as she entered a car with her lawyer and a private investigator for the drive to the mental hospital.

Update: March 26, 2006: Houston - Andrea Yates attorney was granted time to prepare for trial and the case is scheduled to move forward in June or July.   I will add date once I have it - check Google News for most current information.  Shift-Click on the following link to view most current news on Andrea Yates case:

Update June 28, 2006 - The trial has begun this week. Prosecution rests after several days of testimony and her defense begins. Use the Google Link below for minute-by-minute changes in her case-

Google News Report on Andrea Yates.

Update July 25, 2006: Jury in 2nd day of deliberations- The jury is deliberating their verdict now.  The link above will provide up to the minute updates as they develop.


Memorial Site for the Children by Rusty Yates: http://www.yateskids.org/memorials.php



The following music was specially selected and remixed for this page about Andrea Yates and is designed to capture the insanity of both the situation and the fact that a severely mentally ill person may be put in prison for the rest of their life, a potential death sentence in and of itself.  


Sarah McLachlan Arms of an Angel

& Washing of the Water - Red Rain (Remix) by Peter Gabriel, Live Secret World Tour (amazing song)

 &  Jars of Clay - Worlds Apart Acoustic Version

In the Arms of an Angel by Sarah McLachlan (Intro)

I come to you, defenses down - with the trust of a child.

So deep, so wide, will you take me on your back for a ride
If I should fall, would you swallow me deep inside

River, show me how to float
I feel like Iím sinking down
Thought that I could get along
But here in this water
My feet wonít touch the ground
I need something to turn myself around

Going away, away towards the sea
River deep, can you lift up and carry me
Oh roll on though the heartland
ítil the sun has left the sky
River, river carry me high
ítil the washing of the water make it all alright
Let your waters reach me like she reached me tonight

Letting go, itís so hard
The way itís hurting now
To get this love untied
So tough to stay with this thing
if I follow through
I face what I denied
I get those hooks out of me
And I take out the hooks that I sunk deep in your side
Kill that fear of emptiness, loneliness I hide

River, oh river, river running deep
Bring me something that will let me get to sleep
In the washing of the water will you take it all away
Bring me something to take this pain away

Red Rain Ending - Peter Gabriel

Take My World Apart Acoustic Version by Jars of Clay

I am the only one to blame for this
Somehow it all adds up the same
Soaring on the wings of selfish pride
I flew too high and like Icarus I collide
With a world I try so hard to leave behind
To rid myself of all but love
to give and die

To turn away and not become
Another nail to pierce the skin of one who loves
more deeply than the oceans,
more abundant than the tears
Of a world embracing every heartache

Can I be the one to sacrifice
Or grip the spear and watch the blood and water flow

To love you - take my world apart
To need you - I am on my knees
To love you - take my world apart
To need you - broken on my knees

All said and done I stand alone
Amongst remains of a life I should not own
It takes all I am to believe
In the mercy that covers me

To love you - take my world apart
To need you - I am on my knees
To love you - take my world apart
To need you - broken on my knees

Did you really have to die for me?
All I am for all you are
Because what I need and what I believe are worlds apart

[Additional lyrics:]

I look beyond the empty cross
forgetting what my life has cost
and wipe away the crimson stains
and dull the nails that still remain
More and more I need you now,
I owe you more each passing hour
the battle between grace and pride
I gave up not so long ago
So steal my heart and take the pain
and wash my feet and cleanse my pride
take the selfish, take the weak,
and all the things I cannot hide
take my beauty, take my tears
the sin-soaked heart and make it yours
take my world all apart
take it now, take it now
and serve the ones that I despise
speak the words I can't deny
watch the world I used to love
fall to dust and thrown away
I look beyond the empty cross
forgetting what my life has cost
so wipe away the crimson stains
and dull the nails that still remain
so steal my heart and take the pain
take the selfish, take the weak
and all the things I cannot hide
take my beauty, take my tears
take my world apart, take my world apart
I pray, I pray, and I pray
take my world apart

its worlds apart

And Hallelujah!


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