Last year, an appeals court overturned the conviction after finding that a prosecution witness provided false testimony during her trial.
Today, her former husband, Rusty Yates, who has sat through most of the retrial, said he was glad the jury accepted the insanity plea instead of sending Ms. Yates to prison. He talked about how the prosecution showed pictures of the couple’s five children before their deaths to the jury, hoping to convince them prison was the best resolution for Ms. Yate’s actions.
“Did they think our children want Andrea to be in prison?” he asked reporters outside the courtroom. “Did they think that we, her family on either side, want Andrea to be in prison? Is it of any public benefit for Andrea to be in prison? Is she a danger to anyone? It’s amazing to me. I’m so proud of the jury for seeing past that.”
The prosecutor, Joe Owmby, said he was “extremely disappointed” by the verdict because the police and some mental health experts were convincedthat Ms. Yates knew that what she did was wrong.
They believed that, he told reporters, “because she knew it was a sin, because she knew it was legally wrong, because she knew society would disapprove of her actions.”
But he said Harris County prosecutors would probably not bring further charges against Ms. Yates, partly because of a growing public sentiment in the past five years that seemed to support her insanity plea. He said it was summed up recently by a writer in an opinion piece in a local newspaper who said, “why don’t we just let her go.”
Mental health experts who testified in the trials told jurors that Ms. Yates had a long history of mental illness, that she had been in and out of mental institutions for years and that she had attempted suicide several times.
One of her psychiatrists, Dr. Eileen Starbranch, who told the court that she ranked Ms. Yates “among the five sickest patients she had ever seen,” warned the Yateses in 1999 that Ms. Yates could suffer another psychotic episode if she had more children. Ms. Yates went on to have a fifth child after that warning.
On the morning of June 20, 2001, Mrs. Yates filled a bathtub with water, police and court records show, and drowned her five children in the family’s bathtub one by one. She told police that Satan was inside her and that she was trying to save them from hell.Continue reading the main story
Show MoreThe Andrea Yates murder trial was one of the most highly publicized cases of 2001. Perplexing and complicated, it appealed to the public audience for various reasons. A mother methodically, drowns her five children in the family bathtub after her husband leaves for work. Was this an act of a cold calculating killer, or was this the act of a woman who lost touch with reality. Is this a case of medical neglect, and psychological dysfunctions, or is this a battle of ethics and deviant behavior exploiting medical and legal loop holes? When viewed from a strictly medical, psychological aspect, Andrea Yates medical history indicates that after the birth of her first child, she began to suffer from various forms of depression and suicide…show more content…
This theory asserts that some individuals are abnormal in either intelligence, social acceptance, or some other manner that causes them to commit crimes (Ellwood, 1911-1912).
In legal definition, the McNaughten rule dictates that a person may be considered not responsible for a crime if his or her state of mind is in a diminished capacity, or he did not know it was wrong (fulero & wrightsman, 2009, p. 112). Because Andrea asserted that she thought about killing her children two years prior (McLellan, 2006)along with several inconsistences and the fact that she knew her actions were legally wrong prior to coming them, I feel the theory best suited for this case is that of the Classical theory. Regardless to the reasons behind the murders, Andrea demonstrated that not only would it be advantageous for her to do so, but admittedly thought about her actions prior to committing them. Andrea claimed her actions were due to her desire to save her children from going to hell and wanted to destroy Satan by way of her punishment. Although sorted indeed, she still felt it would be of an advantage to murder her children.
It is my opinion that Andrea Yate’s actions are clearly reflective of classical crime theory. After quitting her job as a nurse and the birth of her fist child, Andrea began to suffer from depression. She was