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Yates Family Photo
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
HOUSTON - Andrea Yates was found not guilty by reason of insanity Wednesday in the bathtub drownings of her young children.
The 42-year-old will be committed to a state mental hospital, with periodic hearings before a judge to determine whether she should be released. If convicted of murder, she would have faced life in prison.
Yates’ attorneys never disputed that she drowned 6-month-old Mary, 2-year-old Luke, 3-year-old Paul, 5-year-old John and 7-year-old Noah in their Houston-area home in June 2001. But they said she suffered from severe postpartum psychosis and, in a delusional state, believed Satan was inside her and was trying to save them from hell.
Yates stared wide-eyed as the verdict was read. She then bowed her head and wept quietly.
The jury, split evenly men to women, had deliberated for about 12 hours over three days before finding Yates not guilty by reason of insanity. The jurors had not been told that she would be committed to a mental institution for treatment if found not guilty.
Prosecutors had maintained that Yates failed to meet the state’s definition of insanity: that a severe mental illness prevents someone who is committing a crime from knowing that it is wrong.
An earlier jury had found Yates guilty of murder in her children’s deaths, but that verdict was overturned on appeal because erroneous testimony. Prosecutors retried her on the same three counts of murder.
Tell Us What You Think: Do you agree with the jury?
WELL IT’S A SAD STATE THAT THIS COUNTRY IS IN WHEN IT ALLOWES A WOMAN TO MURDER HER CHILDREN AND LIVE BECOUSE THEY THINK SHE IS CRAZY. I FEEL IF SOMEONE OR SOMETHING GOSE CRAZY TO THE POINT THAT THEY KILL LIKE SHE HAS THEN THE ONLY CURE IS DEATH. JUST BECOUSE SHE GAVE BIRTH TO THESE CHILDREN DOES NOT GIVE HER THE RIGHT TO HARM THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Did she know right from wrong? Yes-she chose to kill her kids regardless of the reason. Murder is murder-no matter how it happens or why.
I’m sure that I will be condemmed for saying that I feel that she was indeed mentally ill to have done what she did. Either I am the only one feeling this way or the others do not have the courage to voice their opiniion. Please do not trash me in further emails, you have the right to your opinion and I feel that we all should be able to voice them without people becoming vicious simply because they don’t agree. I am not a Bible thumper and I definitely believe in the death penalty but I do not feel that this woman was in her right mind.
This whole thing would almost be funny… if five children hadn’t lost their lives. Of course she claims that she was insane, and some people want to believe that no sane person would be capable of what she did. I, for one, believe that the whole “devil inside of them” thing is fabricated and that this woman manipulated the legal system and got away with murder.
I think it is a load of crap! She knew that what she did was wrong, or why didn’t she do it while her husband was home? People get away with all kinds of crimes anymore. I hope they sterilize her so she never has this opportunity again.
Makes me sick….I don’t care how “insane” someone is….even people with postpartum issues know murder is murder and she murdered her kids. I am glad her children are at least in Heaven being taken care of properly.
As a single mother, I am appalled that a jury of our supposed peers could believe that this woman is insane. She may have had depression and felt “overwhelmed” but only a person with no conscience is capable of what she did. This woman murdered her OWN CHILDREN! It is so so sad that not only did these children die a gruesome death at the hands of the mother they trusted but that our justice system has failed us yet again with letting this person get away with murder.
BURN IN HELL ANDREA YATES! My hope is that the spirits of her murdered children plague her the rest of the days of her pathetic life. The most appropriate punishment would be for her to truly go insane and drown herself as she did her children.
For a woman who had the support of her husband, church, and community, before she began to put her kids in the tub, you would think she would ask for help in dealing with thoughts that might be a danger to her children. I also can’t understand a how a mother would not come to her senses after even the attempt of drowning the first child. Sounds more like a serial killer.
I think that is crazy… she is 100% responsible for her actions. Isnt that what you were taught since you were a child, to take responsibility for your actions…. I think she is guilty, (POINT BLANK) she did it, and she admit’s it!!! Isnt that guilty!!!????
But if she is “insane” then why are we going to keep her around? Why isnt she going to be punished by death or something? Heck, we’ll just pay for another one that does something wrong. That seem’s to be all that we do these days!
I do believe there can be some mood swings and depression that occur after a woman delivers a baby, as I developed problems it has to do with chnages from the Thyroid, but never would I ever harm my children and never had thoughts of hurting anyone not even myself.
I believe she knew what she was doing.
Although I am not a Dr. I just don’t believe in any of this stuff, first of all we never heard of this stuff when our parents had kids and I am now in my 50’s. This is just too sad!
I’m sure she’s nuttier than a fruitcake but there should be some sort of punishment. Sentence her to life in the asylum but don’t give her the opportunity to be released and definitely end her opportunity to reproduce again.
As a licensed psychologist I am appalled at this verdict. I intend to lobby all my elected state officials to abolish the insanity defense in capital murder cases.
Only the jury is insane if they could come up with this decision. I guess if you are not a pedophile, only a mother who is tired of being a mother….it’s ok to kill a kid or two or three or four or five….