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BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty

SharonA 13 Mar 02 - 02:04 PM
Sorcha 13 Mar 02 - 02:23 PM
GUEST,Desdemona at work 13 Mar 02 - 02:47 PM
Stilly River Sage 13 Mar 02 - 02:57 PM
MMario 13 Mar 02 - 03:12 PM
Lepus Rex 13 Mar 02 - 03:13 PM
InOBU 13 Mar 02 - 03:30 PM
CapriUni 13 Mar 02 - 03:37 PM
SharonA 13 Mar 02 - 03:40 PM
SharonA 13 Mar 02 - 03:45 PM
Lonesome EJ 13 Mar 02 - 03:45 PM
MMario 13 Mar 02 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,Desdemona at work 13 Mar 02 - 03:52 PM
InOBU 13 Mar 02 - 03:53 PM
SharonA 13 Mar 02 - 03:54 PM
Clinton Hammond 13 Mar 02 - 03:57 PM
Lonesome EJ 13 Mar 02 - 03:59 PM
SharonA 13 Mar 02 - 04:00 PM
SharonA 13 Mar 02 - 04:08 PM
MMario 13 Mar 02 - 04:08 PM
Lonesome EJ 13 Mar 02 - 04:09 PM
SharonA 13 Mar 02 - 04:15 PM
Lonesome EJ 13 Mar 02 - 04:25 PM
SharonA 13 Mar 02 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,mg 13 Mar 02 - 05:00 PM
Lonesome EJ 13 Mar 02 - 05:12 PM
Kim C 13 Mar 02 - 05:17 PM
Little Hawk 13 Mar 02 - 05:18 PM
harpgirl 13 Mar 02 - 05:18 PM
SharonA 13 Mar 02 - 05:20 PM
Rick Fielding 13 Mar 02 - 06:02 PM
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Subject: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 02:04 PM

from ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/section s/us/DailyNews/yatestrial_verdict.html

I'm really surprised at this verdict. I really thought that Andrea Yates would be found "not guilty by reason of insanity." I wonder if she will ever go on trial for the deaths of the other two children.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Sorcha
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 02:23 PM

Sad, sad situation all around.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: GUEST,Desdemona at work
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 02:47 PM

The whole story is incredibly tragic; I'm shocked at the verdict. The poor thing was obviously completely unhinged, and the fact that she continued having children spaced so closely together AFTER having already suffered from severe post-partum depression, being placed on anti-psychotic medication, and being expected to home-school(!!!) them all adds up to her husband being at least as responsible for what happened as she was, in my opinion. A woman who's already suffering from psychological problems should NOT be enlarging her family, and the additional strain undoubtedly played a part in her eventual breakdown.

Those poor children; I wish they'd stop showing the home movies of them on the news, it's just too horrific to contemplate, no matter how you look at it. I'm going to risk saying something offensive here and say that all I can think about that jury is that they're an incredibly ignorant group of arrow-minded people who imagine that because an obviously deranged woman says that "Satan" told her to do something that she later acknowledged was a "bad choice", she had any conception of the difference between right & wrong, or reality & fantasy, for that matter. I can't help wondering what the outcome would have been if she'd been tried in a place like Boston, for instance. I don't think "the voice of Satan" would be considered admissible evidence.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 02:57 PM

The husband does not come out of this smelling like a rose--for all of his dedication we see on the evening news--it's because of his desire that she fulfill that role as mother of many children that she did it. He's a very fundamentalist fellow. But I've only ever heard one instance when the interviewer made the connection between his rigid personality and the situation Andrea found herself in. He was the catalyst, along with childbirth, in the events that happened.

Personally, I think that because Yates speaks the language and mouthed the words as far as calling 911 doesn't mean that she comprehended what she was doing. All I can do is chaulk this up to another Texas hand-picked pro death penalty jury. The attorneys for the prosicution did not let any anti-death penalty jurors into that group.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: MMario
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 03:12 PM

Being expected to home school them all? Wasn't only one of them of school age?

I came from a family with MORE children then this; with the children as closely spaced together and know of at least two more families where the same situation applied; in all of which cases the mothers were home with the children - and in at least two cases the father was unavailable during weekdays --

and you know what? None of those mothers murdered her children.

I'm not advocating the death penalty her - but that she is guilty of murdering those children? How could there be any verdict except guilty?


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 03:13 PM

Oh. Local news must be interesting, locally. :)

---Lepus Rex


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: InOBU
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 03:30 PM

Anyone else interested in boycotting a certan blood thirsty state? Even if they give her life in stead of an injection, since when does a civilized nation jail someone for a curable desease... god help them, they are crule. Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: CapriUni
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 03:37 PM

MMario --

Many women (such as your mother, thank Goodness) can have many children and come through just fine. Other women can't. Depression is a medical disease, as well as psychological one. Women with heart problems and diabetes, as well (for example), have to be careful with pregnancy. If Andrea Yates had sufferend from epilepsy rather than depression, would you still consider her guilty of murder if she had a siezure that resulted in the death of one or more of her children (if she had a siezure while giving them a bath or while driving, for example)?

I remember hearing in one news report that after she suffered depression with her first child that her doctor warned her husband that she should not have any more children.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 03:40 PM

MMario asks: "How could there be any verdict except guilty?" I believe that, in some US states, there is an option for indictment called "guilty but mentally ill". I don't know if Texas law allows jurors to reach that verdict. If not, I hope this case will spur Texas legislators to change the law in order to allow it.

As I understand it, the current criteria in Texas for finding someone "not guilty by reason of insanity" is whether the person knew, at the time (s)he committed the crime, that (s)he was doing something wrong. To me, that reflects a very basic lack of understanding of the sort of profound psychosis from which Yates is said to suffer.

Also, I think that jurors get a false impression of a person's mental state at the time of the crime when the person appears in the courtroom AFTER having received psychiatric/medical treatment that (s)he wasn't receiving when the crime was committed. This is not to say that a person should be left to suffer from his/her psychosis until after trial, but it doesn't seem fair to make a determination that a person is competent to stand trial only after his/her competency level is improved from the level experienced on the day of the crime.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 03:45 PM

Larry: Can we boycott the President (s)elected from that state?


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 03:45 PM

Apparently the disease was in remission until she stopped taking her meds, Larry.

Try this...

1) Insanity is a disease and any insane person can't be held responsible
2)Any one who kills their own kids must be insane
thus 4) Anyone who murders their own children cannot be held responsible


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: MMario
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 03:49 PM

Capri -I understand your reasoning - I just cannot - (and I speak from a pretty knowledgeable experience of depression) imagine a depression deep enough to allow a mother to not know killing her children would be wrong. She has admitted to planning the death of her children. this isn't a "crime of passion" or an accident. this was pre-meditated murder.

BTW - I have heard that in at least one case an epeleptic who drove a vehicle was convicted of murder of the cars passengers- because of knowingly driving with a disease that could cause loss of conscious control.

I also don't understand - if this woman was so severely depressed that she was warned not to have children (since the birth of her first child - according to some reports) - how the hell has the family retained custody of the children? Especially in a day and age where people are being sucessfully sued for "endangering the welfare of a minor" for swearing in the presence of a minor?


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: GUEST,Desdemona at work
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 03:52 PM

CapriUni makes an excellent point: this woman was SICK, she's suffering from an (often curable, in the right circumstances) illness, and the fact that her particular disease is an "invisible" one doesn't make it any less real. Clearly, after she suffered so severely after the birth of her 1st child, it should have been apparent that a baby every year was not the best course for this particular woman, and yet 4 more followed in quick succession.

Obviously, there are people who can withstand the stress & pressure of a very large family; that's not at issue here. The issue in this particular case is that THIS woman couldn't. Not because she's evil or inadequate or weak or "possessed by SATAN", for crying out loud, but because she is ill, and if they take her life for that (although I'm sure at this point that wouldn't seem a hardship or even a punishment to her; she's having her hell right now), it reflects very poorly indeed on the justoice system of a nation that has been so VERY vocal on the subject of the inhumane and uncivilised behaviour other countries.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: InOBU
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 03:53 PM

For someone to be guitly of a CRIME there must be intent to commit the crime. Texas' law is from an archaic time before much was understood about mental illness and has not been updated. If she killed because she believed she was saving them from damnation, and that belief was a result of an illness for which, with proper medication, whe would not be possesed of that idea, well, if you wish to kill her for that, in my opinion, your philosphy lacks an important eliment in civil society, humanity.
All the best, Larry
PS I don't think that anyone who kills there kids are psycotic... perhaps sociopathic, for example the father who killed his kid for insurance... that is different than being phsycotic for want of proper medication.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 03:54 PM

Here's Pennsylvania's definition of "Guilty but Mentally Ill": http://members.aol.com/StatutesP4/18PA314.html

LLEJ: Where did #3 go? :^) Anyway, I'm afraid your Point #2 is flawed. Some sane people do kill their kids, but Andrea Yates's psychological problems are quite well documented over a period of years.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 03:57 PM

We can't save everyone...

We can't expected to plan for every situation...

There will always be people who do things that are unfathomable...


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 03:59 PM

Alright, dammit! Who stole my #3??

OK Sharon. Under what circumstances, other than self defense, would killing one's own children be deemed "not insane"?


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 04:00 PM

P.S. to LEJ: As I understand it, severe mental illnesses do not go into "remission" with medication, they are controlled with medication. Take away the meds, you take away the only means the body has of controlling the disease. "Remission" of a disease would mean that that disease was dormant even without medication. Am I correct, cancer survivors?


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 04:08 PM

LEJ again: Sorry; we cross-posted and I missed your question. The circumstances that immediately come to mind are (a) greed, such as killing for the insurance money; (b) revenge, such as a man killing his child to get back at the child's mother after she cheated on him or divorced him; (c) alcohol or drug use, which can be considered "temporary insanity" but is quite a different thing from a medical or psychological condition.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: MMario
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 04:08 PM

FWIW - no - I don't think she should be killed because she killed her kids - but I do think that any verdict but guilty would be nonsensical. That doesn't mean I agree the sentencing should be death. I also think her husband should be charged with at least manslaughter.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 04:09 PM

No argument, Sharon. I would revise my statement to Apparently the disease was under control until she stopped taking her meds, Larry

Let's for a moment compare this case to that of the woman who drowned her children in her car. Were her actions less insane because she had a motive (she saw her kids as an impediment to her relationship w/her boyfriend), and because she had exhibited no previous sign of mental illness?


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 04:15 PM

LEJ: I would say "yes" because I'm thinking of the word "insane" in medical terms as it pertains to mental illness. However, her actions were no less outrageous than Yates's.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 04:25 PM

Agreed. But I think that both actions would qualify as behavior that is insane, whether or not the persons perpetrating had been declared insane. The fact that Susan Atkins had a comprehensible motive is what steers us toward her actions being criminal rather than insane. Both women were guilty of murder. The degree of cold reasoning that lay behind their insane acts will probably dictate their respective sentencing. I certainly hope that Yates is not given the death penalty in this instance.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 04:57 PM

LEJ: "Cold reasoning"? Yes, in the case of Atkins, who reasoned that by killing her children and making it look like an accident, she would not only have fewer impediments to her relationship with her boyfriend but she could also expect a lot of sympathy and attention from him. Her "comprehensible motive" was greed, and her actions were self-serving and, yes, cold.

But Yates's "reasoning" was that she was saving her children's souls from eternal damnation by sending them to heaven before they had a chance to sin... so in some strange way she thought she was doing the best for her children as any loving mother would do, and I wouldn't call that "cold". She was methodical about doing the drowning, but it seems that that was a result of her determination to do something that, in the throes of her illness, she thought was righteous. That thought process has nothing at all to do with "reason", and the motive isn't "comprehensible" to any reasoning human being.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 05:00 PM

I hope the pope is listening to all this, as well as leaders of any other religious groups (and I am Catholic) that in the past, and to some extent in the present, force such women (and men) to have more children than they can care for... mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 05:12 PM

I wouldn't imply any reasoning on Yates' part. Therefore there is no "motive" as such.

It would be interesting to have explained the legal definitions of "Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity", "Guilty But Insane", and "Guilty". Are these terms used universally in US Courts, or subject to state legislation? Was the "Guilty but Insane" verdict available in Texas?


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Kim C
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 05:17 PM

"Insanity" is a legal term, not a medical one. Mental illness does not necessarily make a person incapable of making decisions, or knowing the difference between what is right and what is wrong.

What I find ironic is, I work for a mental health organization, and one of our primary objectives is to educate the public about the stigma of mental illness. We do all kinds of programs that tell people "just because a person has depression/schizophrenia/anxiety/OCD/PTSD/insert name of mental illness here, that doesn't make them crazy or dangerous."

The National Mental Health Association, the National Alliance for the MEntally Ill, and the National Institute of Mental Health, invariably all speak up when they believe people with mental illness are unfairly treated, or unfairly portrayed in the media.

Then when someone who has a mental illness commits a crime, "insanity" is their first defense. I don't get it.

She did commit the crime; about that there is no question. In legal terms, she is guilty. The quandary is, we can't just let her off, because that could set a dangerous precedent. However, she obviously has a problem and needs help. So what do you do?

It seems to me that there are more contributing factors than just her illness.

Do they not, in some states, make sure that incarcerated people in her situation get the proper medical care? Obviously she cannot go to a regular prison. But I don't know enough about it to say.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 05:18 PM

Ah, well, people will continue trying to find ethical solutions to insoluble problems as long as the world keeps turning...

And hopefully most of them will manage better than the state of Texas does.

I don't know why people take the law so damn seriously. The law is an ass. It's a very imperfect and flawed attempt by partially informed and culturally prejudiced people to deal with infinitely complex human situations, and its pronouncemens of "guilty" and "not guilty" are mere fallible opinions, not a voice of authority from the throne of God.

Yet the day after a court pronounces someone guilty, the newspapers scream "X Guilty!", as if it's all been settled by divine Word. It hasn't. X has merely been found guilty in the opinion of a certain court, while X may in truth not be guilty at all, regardless of what the court says...or vice versa. There have been plenty of examples of either case.

The goverment and the law live in daily fear that people will STOP taking them seriously. I stopped a long time ago.

You've got to live with them, all right, (and I do) but you don't have to take them seriously as any more than they are...a bunch of ordinary human beings like yourself, muddling along as best they know how.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: harpgirl
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 05:18 PM

...you can forget about the Pope, mg. The catholic church has degenrated into a training ground for pedophiles. We can only hope that the "religion" is bankrupted by lawsuits...hg


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 05:20 PM

The link I posted at the beginning of this thread no longer works. Therefore, I am reprinting the ABC News article below:


YATES FOUND GUILTY Jury Convicts Houston Mother; Will Consider Death Penalty

H O U S T O N, T X, March 13 — Andrea Yates, the Houston mother on trial for drowning her five children last year, was convicted on two counts of capital murder on Tuesday.

The verdict came just under four hours after deliberations began, surprising courtroom observers. Yates could face the death penalty or life in prison when she is sentenced.

The penalty phase is scheduled to begin Thursday.

Yates showed little emotion as she heard the verdict, but her defense attorney later described her as "very upset" by it. Her husband, Russell Yates, muttered, "Oh God," as he buried his head in his hands. Andrea Yates looked back at Russell as she was led out of the courtroom, and some of their relatives left in tears.

"I'm not critiquing or criticizing the verdict. But it seems to me we are still back in the days of the Salem witch trials," said defense attorney George Parnham.

Yates' other attorney, Wendell Odum Jr., said he felt "somewhat disheartened" by the jury's decision.

Recognizing a gag order still in effect on the case, prosecutors had no comment.

There was no doubt that Yates, 37, killed her five children last June. Both prosecutors and Yates' defense attorneys agreed that she was mentally ill. But her attorneys argued that she was not guilty by reason of insanity of the two counts of capital murder she faced.

The key issue at trial — and the pivotal issue for the 12-panel jury — was whether Yates could distinguish between right and wrong at the time of the slayings.

Yates' defense argued that she suffered from severe postpartum depression that made her incapable of rational thought when she killed her children.

Prosecutors said Yates confessed to police and psychiatrists that she planned in advance to kill the children, which suggested premeditation. The methodical way in which she drowned her children one-by-one, prosecutors argued, suggested that Yates was capable of distinguishing right from wrong.

"That's the key," prosecutor Kaylynn Williford said in closing arguments. "Andrea Yates knew right from wrong, and she made a choice on June 20 to kill her children deliberately and with deception."

Defense experts disagreed, arguing that Yates knew killing children was legally wrong, but was so delusional that she thought she was saving them from Satan.

"We can't permit objective logic to be imposed on the actions of Andrea Yates," Parnham said in his closing arguments. "She was so psychotic on June 20 that she absolutely believed what she was doing was the right thing to do."

According to police, shortly after her husband, Russell Yates, left for work at the Space Shuttle Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center on June 20, Andrea Yates methodically drowned her five children in the bathtub of their home. Police found the bodies of John, 5; Paul, 3; Luke, 2; and 6-month-old Mary in the master bedroom, covered with a sheet. The body of 7-year-old Noah was still in the tub, police said.

Police said Yates told them that she held Luke under water in the bathtub, then Paul, John, and Mary. Noah walked in while she was holding Mary under the water and tried to run away, but Yates said she caught him, and drowned him too.

When she finished, she called 911 and told police to come to her home, where they found her and the children's bodies.

Friends and relatives of Andrea Yates portrayed her as a mother who seemed overwhelmed by the responsibilities of raising five children and who feared that she was a bad mother. The Yates' lifestyle came under scrutiny as it was revealed that Russell Yates wanted to have a traditional family where he was the breadwinner and Andrea stayed home and raised and home-schooled the children. A minister, Russell said, encouraged him to teach the children at home to protect them from moral corruption.

Russell Yates, who has stayed supportive of his wife since the killings, recalled how she tried to commit suicide multiple times two years before the drownings. Still, Russell Yates said, he didn't see her as a danger to herself or others, even after the birth of their fourth child. A psychiatrist also testified that she discouraged the Yateses in 1999 from having a fifth child because there was a 50 percent chance she would suffer from future psychosis. Still, they proceeded to have another child because Russell said the psychiatrist was not "adamant."

Defense expert Phillip Resnick was among the witnesses who said Yates had a preoccupation with Satan. Yates knew drowning her children was illegal, he said, but in her psychotic and delusional state, she thought it was the only way to save her children from eternal damnation. Resnick said Yates thought Satan lived within her and the state would execute her for her children's killings, thus eliminating evil from the world.

But prosecutors said Yates must be held accountable for her children's deaths. Yates didn't start claiming Satan lived within her or referring to a prophecy until the day after her arrest when she realized she had killed her five children and found herself naked in a jail cell, Williford argued.

She said Yates, a former nurse, had thought about harming her children for years and ignored a doctor's orders in 1999 to refrain from having any more by getting pregnant with her youngest child, Mary.

"Andrea Yates knew right from wrong and she made a choice on June 20 to kill her children," Williford said. "She made that choice to have Mary. She made that choice to fill the tub."

Yates could have been indicted in all the children's deaths, but prosecutors have said it is not necessary to seek indictments for all of them. One of the capital murder charges covers the deaths of Noah and John, qualifying for capital punishment because two victims were killed during the commission of the same crime. The second charge lists the death of 6-month-old Mary as a child under the age of 6, which also is a capital offense.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 06:02 PM

I watched enough sickening minutes of the prosecution and defence sum-ups to hear on several occasions the words "Satan" and "possessed" used alongside contemporary multi-sylabic psychological terms. Sometimes I'm not sure what century we're even in.

This is one situation I'm trying not even to think about. It simply makes me too angry.....I can't even imagine an answer that would not infuriate half the country.

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 09:09 PM

people just respond to this with their pre-conceived prejudices...and the legal teams get to practice their routines....

It simply makes no difference what is done! No one 'wins' on this. The only difference I can even comprehend is Texas saving $$$$ if the woman were executed...I can't imagine her caring one way or another.

It is all just sad...


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Troll
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 12:05 AM

If I stop taking my meds, I know what I will become and just how much of a danger to myself and others I will be. If I, knowing all this, stop taking my meds, then I- and no one else- am responsible for whatever harm I do.
Andrea Yates stopped taking her meds. SHE is responsible for whatever followed that action.

troll


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: DougR
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 12:07 AM

Yes, it is sad, but:

1. She murdered her kids. 2. She knew what she did was wrong. 3. She telephoned the police to tell them what she had done.

The Jury heard the evidence and returned a guilty verdict. Those of you who disagree with the verdict of the jury (which I'm sure you would rush to defend would they have returned a verdict to your liking) does not make it correct.

Larry, as a lawyer, you know that is the system. The system does not always return verdicts that are what we would wish them to be.

She should be sentenced, IMO, to life in prison, without hope of parole, but she should also be treated for her mental illness.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Big Mick
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 12:40 AM

Harpgirl............the old saw about better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt applies here. If I made that type of broad generalized statement about the area of mental health that you practice, you would be all hurt and pissed and hauling out your flamethrowers. You probably will anyway. You offend me with that statements like this.

My apologies to the rest of you, back to the Yates discussion. I just couldn't let such an ignorant statement pass.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 01:36 AM

Andrea Yates was seeing a fool of a psychiatrist, who, on her last visit to him, told her she needed to work more to "Think good thoughts." That was his prescription to her.

It has been pointed out recently (the Glen Mitchell Show on KERA, Dallas, TX) that some of these anti-psychotic medications actually work in such a way that while they reduce the voices in the short term, in the long term they prolong or provoke the psychosis. In countries other than the US they are having better results when there is a mix of treatments (not just drugs) and the patient is weaned from the drugs. But therapy is part of the cure.

MMario--what you're seeing here is in some ways an abheration from a "typical" pattern--often mothers (and sometimes fathers) who are this depressed are involved in murder/suicide. Yates has been suicidal, and could just as easily have killed herself after killing the children. People ask why the mother doesn't just let someone else care for her children rather than kill them--but mothers who are this depressed simply can't make that distinction, that their children will be safe with someone else. I think Yates couldn't see that her children would be better with someone else (someone not depressed, not suicidal).

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 03:12 AM

So she made the decision to have the next child. I suppose the husband had nothing to do with it? From the moment this story originally broke, I fel the husband was just as culpable and should have stood trial, also.

Our society is so fucked up in the schizophrenic demands it makes on women. Dumbya's going to try to force people to be married to keep them off of welfare, no matter the circumstances; a man forces his wife to have several children because the psychiatrist wasn't "adamant" AND he demands she take care of them alone, knowing full well her mental illness; conversly, if a single mom wants to stay at home with her children before school-age, instead of leaving them with stranger, and is on welfare because of it, she is vilified for not supporting them on her own.

Our country is going to continue to be fucked up this way, with these kind of horrible instances until women are valued equally, in all roles they choose in life. ALL mothers, and fathers, should have liberal work schedules in order to be with their young children, before they start school, and for after school when they reach school age.

ANY religion which still advocates a partriarchal role in marriage and promotes large families has to take some responsibility for these types of events, also. And, I don't mean just the RC, either, Mick.

I hope she gets life and the help she needs. I hope the husband, who must've filled her mind with some of the satan crap, and who obviously had a hand in causing so many births in such a short time, is charged. Since that is probably unlikely, I hope he gets some instant karma, soon!

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: GUEST,T-boy
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 08:06 AM

We see in this thread many examples of the type of mindset which is ready to excuse almost any behaviour by the wrongdoer while paying little or no attention to the victims. Just because they were children doesn't mean they don't count.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: InOBU
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 08:18 AM

Lawyers all over the planit will tell you that "law" in Texas is a blood thirsty beast which is living in a barbaric past. Don't forget there was a system in Nazi Germany with some sort of legal process creating paper for every barbaric act. Killing the sick is not law it is euthinasia. It does not protect or honor the memory of victems, it is mindless revenge visited upon the innocent, the illness is the guilty party here, and the illness is erradicated with medicine, not by killing the patient. - Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Bobert
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 09:05 AM

Texas: Capital punishment center of the US, followed by Virginia and Florida. They got some blood thirtsy folks living in those states. If Mrs. Yates is spared its only because of the national attention. But if no one was watching it would be a forgone conclusion that they would kill her. And if Junior was still Governor, his so called Christain ass wouldn't do a danged thing to stop it. And go can take that to the Texas bank.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 10:09 AM

DougR says: "Yes, it is sad, but 1. She murdered her kids. 2. She knew what she did was wrong. 3. She telephoned the police to tell them what she had done."

I have a lot of trouble accepting the argument that "she knew what she did was wrong." Can a mind so severely disturbed really "know"? Doesn't one have to have a clear mind to make that distinction? What I discern from the media coverage is that Andrea Yates thought it was "right" to save her children from an eternity in hell and that, for the sake of that "greater good", she was willing to do something "wrong" that would condemn her to hell forever. It sounds as if, in her diseased mind, she thought that she was sacrificing herself for her children (not sacrificing their lives). Of course she told the police – and her husband – what she had done; defense expert Phillip Resnick said "Yates thought Satan lived within her and the state would execute her for her children's killings, thus eliminating evil from the world" (quoting from the article I posted above) and how would this Satanic evil be eliminated if she didn't confess to the murders?? She was on a suicide mission for the "soldiers" of Christ – not surprisingly, after the several attempts at suicide that she'd made in the past – and was doing what she thought was right in God's eyes even though it was wrong according to man's law.

In a way, it's all quite logical, though her logic had twisted the religious premises of the argument until the resultant action was just the opposite of the overall message of the religion (obviously, she wasn't taking into account that "Thou Shalt Not Kill" commandment). It may be logical thought, but it's not reasoned thought (which, as I understand it, is typical of mental illness).

Apparently the jury acted responsibly, in consideration of Texas law, by returning a "guilty" verdict, and I don't fault them for that. They did what they had to do since there was clear evidence that Yates knew she had done "wrong" in the eyes of the law. If there can be any good thing about this verdict, it is that Andrea Yates will now receive medical and psychological treatment from the state that she very well might not have received had she been released back into the home environment where she was not being cared for properly. Even if she is condemned to death, she'll have a better quality of life in the meantime than she had when she was cast adrift within her own disturbed mind by Russell Yates and his apathetic attitude toward her condition.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 10:26 AM

P.S. – By the way, I totally agree with those who say that Russell Yates should be held accountable for his part in this tragedy. I'm not knowledgable about the law so I don't know what he should be charged with: manslaughter? criminal negligence? 5 counts of endangering the welfare of a minor? spousal abuse? child abuse (for leaving the kids with a person who was demonstrably disturbed and suicidally depressed)? accessory to murder?


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Midchuck
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 10:59 AM

If I killed five innocent people, do you think all the Mudcatters would feel sorry for me, too? I suspect not.

There was a joke about a guy who murdered both his parents and begged the court for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan...but that was a joke.

I don't get it.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 12:09 PM

Peter: Are you acquainted with anyone who's been diagnosed with a mental illness? Anyone who's been medicated or hospitalized for treatment of a mental illness? Anyone who's attempted suicide? Anyone who's been indoctrinated into a religious cult? Anyone who's been made subservient to his or her spouse? If not, I can understand that you would not "get it."

I, for one, certainly do not feel sorry for every murderer. Even the case of death-row inmate Tracy Housel, who claims to be mentally ill, doesn't evoke the same emotions in me as this case does. In Housel's case, the defense consulted two mental-health experts who could not come up with strong enough evidence of a brain injury or of mental illness for the issue to be brought up at trial as a defense. Also, his motive was quite different from Yates's: he took the cars and credit cards of his victims in order to go on a cross-country killing-and-spending spree, and was apprehended with ample evidence to attest to that (in fact, he was caught when he tried to use his latest victim's credit card to buy a country-and-western outfit in another state). Even so, he tried to portray himself at sentencing as a devoted family man, by displaying his live-in girlfriend and his out-of-wedlock son, but then had another girlfriend plead for his life, so he didn't exactly concern himself with family responsibilities to the point of being overwhelmed by them and aggravating any mental illness he might have had. However, he did abuse alcohol and illegal drugs, so it's questionable whether that abuse aggravated a mental illness or whether he simply got high without being mentally ill.

But in Yates's case, there is no question that she had a serious problem for years, for which she was receiving sporadic and inadequate treatment, and about which her husband had been warned by doctors that it would worsen under certain conditions which her husband then decided to impose on her anyway!!!! So yeah, I feel differently about this case than about some other murder cases.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 09:08 PM

This morning on the news they played remarks from people leaving the courtroom yesterday. One guy was saying that now Yates will get the care and attention she needs. But also made the remark that "it will cost the state $30,000 to $50,000 a year" to incarcerate her. Suggesting not at all subtly that the state could save some money by executing her.

Two or three years ago a woman on death row (Carla Fay something?) here fought a valiant fight to have her death penalty commuted to life. She claimed that she'd found religion and was now a changed person. She certainly seemed rational, attractive, and young. But she had been high as a kite when she axe-murdered some poor guy down near Houston, and Dubya didn't lift a finger on her case and she was executed on schedule. I don't approve of the death penalty, but I don't think finding religion is as adequate a reason to dodge it as the clear documentation of severe mental illness as exists in Yate's case.

For those couple of fellows who just don't understand, maybe you have to have be a woman who has given birth and felt those fluctuactions as your hormones adjust following birth, to at least begin to understand this. If your hormone's are out of whack, it's quite terrifying to find yourself in a room with a tiny child, and realize that they are totally dependent upon you. This usually passes very quickly, but for those who aren't so lucky, it must be sheer torture. It's disingenuous to state bald "facts" about the death of those children without also taking mental illness into account as one of those "facts."

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 09:10 PM

P.S.--there are songs that touch on this topic. "Down by the Greenwood Siding" (may not be the title, but it is a line in it) is a case in point. Very unsympathetic mother in that song. But perhaps a few verses are missing. Who can say?

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Bobert
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 10:52 PM

Peter, Peter, Peter.... Now the ol' bobert would care... a lot. Now I guess that some things eventually come out and this is one of those times but the following confession may come as no surprise to some Catfolk, but in my former life I was a social worker in Adult Services and my case load was made up of folks who suffered from various debilitating mental illnesses. "Shake it off" just don't cut it. Yeah, I hurt for each and every one of them. And I cared. A woman can not kill her kids without being messed up way beyond anyone sane can imagine. I had clients who killed people and I had a few that killed themselves. No shakin' that off. Every time I hear of someone taking anothers life, other than in pure self defense, it hurts me. So, yes, Peter, if you were to kill 5 folks or 1 for that matter, I would care for you... a lot.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Susan from California
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 11:22 PM

If Andrea Yates was psychotic, and it seems from news reports that both sides (defense and prosecution) agree that she is. If a psychotic person isn't insane, then I don't know who is. I'm pretty sure that the prosecutors did not have to try this as a capital case. They could have charged her with a lesser crime. But then Texas kills the mentally retarded also. I know that I've mentioned Steve Earle's anti death penalty song "Billy Austin" before, but it's a good one. I guess my main problem with this is this -- it doesn't make sense to hit a child to let them know that hitting isn't right, and to me, killing someone to say that murder is wrong makes about as much sense.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: toadfrog
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 11:52 PM

The way I heard it, she wasn't "depressed," she was schizophrenic, which is a very different matter. I have not studied psychology, but I have known schizophrenics, some of them intimately. Those who don't know what that means really, really are not qualified to judge. Generally, I think it is a bad idea to second-guess juries if you weren't there. This time, especially after hearing about some of the arguments the prosecutor made, I have to make an exception. The jury was as crazy as she was. As far as I am concerned, the very existence of so many bloody-minded people is the clinching argument against the death penalty.

There is just a total failing of compassion here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 15 Mar 02 - 09:37 AM

Re LEJ's post of 13-Mar-02 - 04:25 PM on this thread: Wait... wasn't it Susan Smith who drowned her kids in her car? I can't remember.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 15 Mar 02 - 11:07 AM

I am against the death penalty. Keeping someone incarcerated for life is actually cheaper in many cases that the costs for the mandatory appeals, etc. It has never been proved a deterrent to crime. I can't understand how offing someone helps get the point across that killing is wrong. . . . Still, in this case I'm almost wondering if the death penalty isn't the kindest option. It's obviously what she was hoping for -- remember she had attempted suicide before. And as a fundamentalist she must have believed that would send her to Hell. Also I think the opinion that "now she will get the help and medication she needs" is a bit naive.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: RichM
Date: 15 Mar 02 - 11:10 AM

Letter to the Editor: The Ottawa Citizen
from Barbara Czepyha

Cash-starved system failed Yates
Friday, March 15, 2002
Re: Mother guilty in drowning deaths, March 13.

Andrea Yates has been found guilty of capital murder
instead of being found not guilty by reason of insanity.

This is a step backward for humanity.

Texas ranks 49th among the 50 American states in its
funding for mental-health services. Mental-health

professionals and paraprofessionals in Texas are overworked and underpaid.

I have been employed by various institutions in San
Antonio that provide mental-health services.
The pay was abysmal and employee turnover was tremendous.
Mrs. Yates fell through the cracks of an already
overburdened system.

I commend the humanitarian, efficient and caring system. Patients in Canada dealing with
psychiatric issues are not left to fend for themselves,
as happened to Mrs. Yates. Sadly, the mental-health care
system throughout the United States leaves a lot to be
desired.
(RichM's comment: I'm a Canadian, and I have some serious reservations about our health care system; Is Texas' system that much worse?) The signs of Mrs. Yates's schizophrenia were there for
the family and the psychiatric professionals to see. The
various psychotic episodes were unheeded and ignored.

The jury did not believe Mrs. Yates was insane at the
time of the murders. Persons suffering from various

psychoses or schizophrenia can often exhibit normal
behaviour between psychotic episodes.

The fact that Mrs. Yates was able to alert emergency
personnel after the killings does not rule out that she
has a mental illness with psychotic features. Persons
having psychotic episodes often display episodes of clear
thinking, but still need to be under the constant care
and medical monitoring of psychiatric professionals.

The psychiatrists allowed a clearly psychotic woman to
continue caring for her children despite her prescribed
medications being changed and discontinued at the whim of
the doctors.
Were the doctors experimenting on Mrs. Yates, or were
they simply too overworked to provide her with the proper
care that she required?

The Yates family also clearly did not realize the
seriousness of her mental state.

Had the family recognized the signs of Mrs. Yates's
psychosis, and questioned any psychiatric institution
that was not providing satisfactory services, I
believe
she would have eventually received proper psychiatric
care, and her children would be alive today.

When will the eyes of the American government be opened?

Barbara Czepyha,

San Antonio, Texas

source:

clicky


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 15 Mar 02 - 07:26 PM

Andrea Yates was sentenced today, to life imprisonment. The jury deliberated for only a few minutes before returning a decision. There are reports on TV that Russell Yates might now be investigated and charged in the murders.

I've been looking at the ABC News forum on the subject, and I am absolutely appalled at the number of people who are speaking out against this decision and calling for Yates to be not only executed but hung, drowned, beaten or murdered by her fellow inmates, or otherwise punished. Attempts by some posters to explain the symptoms of the mental illness with which she has been diagnosed fell on deaf ears, to say the least. Those who say "ignorance is bliss" are sadly, sadly mistaken. There's a lot of hate out there.

I just want to say a heartfelt (and shaken) "thank-you" to Max, Joe, Jeff, the Joe-Clones and all Mudcatters for making this a safe place to have a sane, thoughtful and intelligent discussion on subjects like this one. Sure, we disagree about a lot of things – sometimes vehemently – but there's an amazing track record here for respecting one another's opinions and for caring for one another. Long live Mudcat!!!

Sharon


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 15 Mar 02 - 08:06 PM

Re my remarks earlier about how these cases often play out, visit this link for a sadly more typical behavior in severe mental illness (depression seems to be the cause here).

Has anyone given thought to the musical reference points that one might touch on in this instance? Greenwood Siding is not the only song about the death of children; there are some very gorey and sad songs of death and murder, as anyone knows who has been around folk music for a minimal amount of time. French philsopher Michel Foucault said that all stories are about death--an awful lot of songs do, also.

Crime and its punishment historically have been interpreted and dealt with in many different ways, depending on the cultures and faiths involved (around the world). This killing of children or whole families is one of the harder forms to deal with. The name of Susan Smith was brought up in this thread also. Her motives have been represented as much more selfish than Yates', though Smith surely must have been mentally ill also, to use such faulty reasoning as she did to free herself of the burden of a family in the interest of a new romance. Divorce is difficult but not illegal. Perhaps she should have simply made-due with adultery. I'm sure there must be a song that fits her.

Think about the song with the lines

"Hangman, Hangman, slacken the rope,
and slacken it for a while,
I think I see my ______ coming,
coming for many a mile"
in which the lover eventually brings the "fee" to pay to avoid a hanging. Geez. Seems ridiculous to hang someone because they're poor, yet that's exactly what is done (especially in Texas) if they can't afford good representation or if they're in the category where society will discard them due to mental illness.

These are only loosely formed ideas, because frankly, reading this thread as it stands is pretty depressing and I'd like to see us do more with the subject. I came to take a look at this thread after the sentencing, but we've probably said all that can be said. But what can we learn from it? I'm tossing this out on a Friday evening from my computer work, and may not have web access for a couple of days. But I'd be very interested to come back to see what Mudcatters can make of representations of mental illness, murder, and infanticide in folksongs. Perhaps it merits a new thread, if there is interest.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Bert
Date: 15 Mar 02 - 10:38 PM

I have grave doubts that mentally ill people belong in prison, I guess Texans don't.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 18 Mar 02 - 11:02 AM

*refresh* Good question, Stilly. What can we learn from it? I hope we learn something about the symptoms – and the prevalence – of post-partum depression and post-partum psychosis.

-------------------------

My cynical side says another lesson might be: "If you're going to attempt to use an insanity defense, do not make a statement in your confession or at any other time that jurors might interpret as an admission that you knew what you did was 'wrong'." News reports today quote a juror as saying that the verdict was based on Yates's confession and on the crime-scene photos of the children. I understand the shock value of the photos, but I've read the confession and found no explicit statement there to the effect that Yates knew she was doing something "wrong". However, here are a couple of excerpts that might have influenced the jury:

(Officer) MEHL (taping the confession): Um, how long have you been having thoughts about wanting, or not wanting to, but drowning your children?
YATES: Probably since I realized I have not been a good mother to them.
MEHL: What makes you say that?
YATES: They weren't developing correctly.
MEHL: Behavioral problems?
YATES: Yes.
MEHL: Learning problems?
YATES: Yes.

....MEHL: OK, you had told me earlier that, that you'd been having these thoughts about hurting your children for up to two years. Is that, is that about right?
YATES: Yes.
MEHL: OK, is there anything that happened two years ago that, that made you, that you believe led you to have these thoughts?
YATES: I realized that it was time to be punished.
MEHL: And what do you need to be punished for?
YATES: For not being a good mother.
MEHL: How did you see drowning your five children as a way to be punished? Did you want the criminal justice system to punish you or did you...
YATES: Yes.
MEHL: OK, we were also talking earlier and there was one other time when you filled the tub with water and were going to do this and did not do it. Is that correct?
YATES: Yes.
MEHL: How long ago was that?
YATES: It was two months ago.
MEHL: OK, were all the children at home that time?
YATES: Yes, Rusty was there too.
MEHL: Rusty was there too? Do you think Rusty would have stopped you?
YATES: Yes.
MEHL: So you filled the tub with water that time. What is it within yourself that stopped you from, from doing it that time?
YATES: Just didn't do it that time.



Apparently the jury thought this was evidence of premeditation, rather than of an ongoing mental problem. Also, they may have thought that Yates's desire to be "punished" meant she wanted to be punished for murder, whereas to me it sounds as if she felt she needed to be punished for doing a poor job of mothering before the murders.

It would have been better if Yates had not made a confession, or any statement at all, without the presence and advice of an attorney. But is a mentally ill person able to make that sort of reasoned decision to call an attorney instead of speaking???

-------------------------

Something else that concerns me about this trial is the testimony of Park Dietz, forensic psychiatrist and expert witness for the prosecution. He claimed that Yates got the idea for drowning the kids from an episode of the TV show "Law and Order" (and the prosecutor mentioned this claim in closing arguments). Well, it seems that no such episode exists, and defense tried to have the judge declare a mistrial because the misinformation might have persuaded the jury on the premeditation issue (defense's motion for mistrial was denied).

Park Dietz seems to have an agenda to rid TV of certain programming, and has used cases of serial murderers to prove (or to manufacture proof) that watching sex and violence on TV influences some people to commit the same acts. That may or may not be true but, according to an article in a Johns Hopkins University magazine, studies have not borne out his claims. "He concedes that he has no quantitative research to back his assertions about sex and violence in the media, but he dismisses studies that claim to find no link between portrayed and actual violence. Too much of this research, he claims, is funded by the companies that profit from the media in question. Besides, he says, a typical study of the effects of violent imagery uses psychology students as test subjects, screening out those with psychological abnormalities--but the responses of normal people to such stimuli are not the issue. Psychologically normal people watch enactments of sex and violence, then go about their normal lives. It's the psychologically abnormal who respond adversely. "If you want to do a scientifically meaningful study," Dietz says, 'show Body Double to a group of sexual psychopaths the day before you release them.'" [Again quoting from the article:] "Dietz, however, believes that many serial killers, though genuinely disordered, are in control of themselves when they kill and are thus legally responsible. They are not psychotic: they know what they're doing, they know it's wrong, and they could stop themselves if they wanted. They are like other criminals.... they rationalize their crimes, he says, or feel entitled to trample others for their personal gain."

The article also states that "Dietz almost always appears in court as a witness for the prosecution. Defense attorneys have sniped at him in the press for being a hired gun, who for $300 an hour will walk into a courtroom and convince a jury of whatever the prosecution wants him to say. ....Some forensic psychiatrists question the way he presents information to a jury; they say he portrays mere informed opinion as solid fact, and that his standard of criminal responsibility is harsh and unforgiving of mentally ill defendants."

So what better "expert" for the prosecution in the Yates case to put on the stand to counter the insanity defense? Unfortunately for Yates, the jury bought into Dietz's agenda and believed his lie about this "Law and Order" episode that he dreamed up to "prove" his point.

Here's a link to that Johns Hopkins article: http://www.jhu.edu/~jhumag/1194web/dietz.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 18 Mar 02 - 11:09 AM

Oops! Sorry; I meant to turn off the italics after the phrase "before the murders"! Danged html!


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Desdemona
Date: 18 Mar 02 - 11:44 AM

One of the things that really upsets me is that the jury were apparently not informed that a "not guilty by reason of insanity" verdict wouldn't result in her being simply released back into society (as if!). While it would seem obvious to anyone with a modicum of common sense that an "insanity" finding would result in the person being sent to the appropriate mental health facility, clearly common-sense assumptions are inadequate to the purpose when dealing with judicial matters of life or death!

It seems to me an irresponsible system that doesn't explicitly disclose the exact consequences of all potential findings to a jury before allowing them to decide another person's fate. The end result in this case is that a very sick woman will spend the rest of her life in a prison environment that I seriously doubt will be able to adequately address her particular needs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Bagpuss
Date: 18 Mar 02 - 11:51 AM

I haven't read this thread thoroughly, so I apologise if this has already been answered, but what are the legal options in the US where a person has killed while suffering mental illness.

In the UK, they can be found not guilty by reason of insanity, but this is a very rare occurence. More often, the person will be given a verdict of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Is this the same as in the US or is the choice only between not guilty/insane and guilty of murder?


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 18 Mar 02 - 12:04 PM

Bagpuss: For better or worse, it varies by state. Some states have a "guilty but mentally ill" option; Texas, apparently, doesn't.

Desdemona: I'm afraid that, since the John Hinckley case, people have been adamantly opposed to the idea that a mentally ill person who murders could be treated for his/her illness and then released back into society. The legal system really needs another, better option for dealing with the mentally ill but, then, so does society as a whole.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 18 Mar 02 - 10:01 PM

Heya Mmario...I'm a day late and a dollar short, as per usual. ;D

You mentioned: "I just cannot - (and I speak from a pretty knowledgeable experience of depression) imagine a depression deep enough to allow a mother to not know killing her children would be wrong".

Well, there's depression and then there's depression. A family member of mine is a bi-polar sufferer. And while it *used* to be called "manic-depression" the crashes this poor soul has had to endure come about as close to the kinds of depression I myself have witnessed or suffered like pterodactyls resemble mosquitoes. He once drove off into another state, banged on the door of a total strangers house, and yelled at the rightful owners to get out of his home. Chemical imbalances like this and severe post partum "depression" should not be termed as they are. It is not depression in it's usual state. Even severe "clinical" depression has little to do with it. It's psychosis.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 05:12 PM

Here's an informative page about post-partum psychosis: http://members.aol.com/Tahlordawn/PostPartumPsychosis.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 05:44 PM

Also, here's an article on webmd.org entitled "The Spectrum of Post-Partum Depression", copyright 1998: http://my.webmd.com/content/article/1680.51777

A couple of excerpts from that article: "The unique aspects of depression in women who have had a baby usually include an extreme fear of some harm coming to the baby and fear or feelings of guilt about being a "bad" mother. These thoughts are the hallmark of postpartum depression and distinguish it from other kinds of depression."

"The most severe form of [post-partum] depression brings suicidal and homicidal thoughts. When a woman feels so bad that she thinks she cannot take it anymore and that there is no hope for change, the future looks very bleak. When the situation seems hopeless, some women begin to think that they and their baby would be better off dead. This reaction seems like an extreme one to those who are not suffering the pain and agony of depression. Unfortunately, for anyone who is very depressed, death may seem like a logical alternative."

"Stressful events in life such as... the death of a loved one... appear to play a significant role in precipitating a depressive episode." (Remember the testimony that Andrea Yates's depression had worsened after her father died?)

"... It may be impossible to detect postpartum psychosis immediately. But a woman who is becoming psychotic will begin to behave in a noticeably bizarre manner. Both the baby and the mother are at risk during this time because the new mother's judgment is quite impaired. This illness should be considered an emergency, and urgent measures must be taken to bring the situation under control. If the psychosis goes unrecognized and untreated, the mother may harm her baby or herself."
"A woman with postpartum psychosis is at risk of future postpartum psychotic episodes, and all of her health care providers should be so informed. Some experts estimate this risk to be as high as 40 to 60 percent. One study shows the risk to be 100 percent if the previous episode occurred within the past twenty-four months."

One hundred percent. Brrr.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 08:29 PM

Impressive resilience again SharonA. With you all the way on this one. And do I find myself tempted to agree with Harpgirl on something at last? Some mistake surely *G*


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: Desdemona
Date: 20 Mar 02 - 04:39 PM

Sharon A: thanks for posting all that really enlightening info. That last statistic sent shivers down my spine. I had a neighbour who had suffered from PPD after her 2nd child and vowed never to have another because she felt it would be irresponsible and a disservice to her other children for her to ever be in such a state again if it culd be prevented.

Clearly, there really should be separate terms for these types of clinical depressions, to distinguish them more clearly in the public mind from the garden variety "I'm feeling depressed" condition we all suffer from sporadically. It would appear our society has a whole lot of work to do in this area (as well as so many others, alas).


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 20 Mar 02 - 05:28 PM

Thanks, Fionn, and you're welcome, Desdemona! I don't know about "mpressive resilience", Fionn, but sometimes I do tend to be like a terrier with a mouthful of pants-leg, refusing to let go even when the person in the pants is walking away... *BG*

For sure, our society does have a whole lotta work to do in this area. Please indulge me while I post yet more info, but I found this letter to the editor of the Dallas News on this page of Yates-related opinions: http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/letters/stories/yates_17edi.ART.8740.html

"Two years ago my schizophrenic brother was found by Dallas police officers in a park making passive suicidal comments. Shortly thereafter, he became a patient in Parkland Hospital in Dallas by court order for 14 days of treatment.

"After his court-ordered treatment was nearly complete, I flew from Denver to Dallas to retrieve him. Once I arrived in Dallas, it was obvious he was not ready for discharge, but Parkland Hospital discharged him anyway. I am certain if I were not there to retrieve him, he would have been homeless within hours or days.

"When I arrived back in Colorado, I brought him to the Jefferson County Center for Mental Health, which immediately placed him back in the hospital, where he remained for a year.

"How could one set of mental health 'professionals' declare my brother ready for discharge while another set of mental health professionals hospitalized him for a year? I claim he was dumped by Parkland Hospital and the Texas mental health system.

"Now comes the Andrea Yates verdict. This woman belongs in a hospital, not a prison. It is apparent to me that Texas provides far too little support for the mentally ill.

"The same system that provided insufficient care to my brother is the same system that produced Andrea Yates. It is the Texas mental health system that should have been tried, not Andrea Yates.

"It's a pathetic day for Texas and a sad day for America."

from Denver, Colo.



...I have a feeling we're looking at just the tip of Texas' iceberg, here. I only hope that some positive changes to Texas' health-care system will come out of this horrible tragedy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: InOBU
Date: 21 Mar 02 - 04:50 AM

As Dough said he has been rethinking his death penalty possition after reading mudcat posts. Well, I have been reading a bit of Jonathan Swift...my tribesman's writing, as well as mudcat and I have rethought my position on this. Yes, jail the insane, feed the homeless to the poor, draft members of peace churches and teach them to kill, and remember, this is the gem of the free world, love it or leave it...
Modestly yours... Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 21 Mar 02 - 08:38 AM

Larry: Yeah, Swift's name comes up a lot in these sorts of discussions. Sometimes Scrooge's does, too (decreasing the surplus population, and all that). Of course, Swift's satire in "A Modest Proposal" specifically targeted those people who were indifferent to the poor in Ireland, so the whole British-Irish animosity issue came into play there. The death penalty issue, on the other hand, calls into question what we do with our own criminals, be they poor or rich, sane or insane.

"A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift (click on the links there for footnotes): http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu/~benjamin/316kfall/316kunit2/studentprojects/group1/modestproposal.html

Jonathan Swift bio: http://www.genealogy.org/~ajmorris/ireland/swift.htm


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Mar 02 - 11:15 PM

Sad, SAD...neither she, her husband, nor the animals should be guilty.....a coach is less than a lawyer and therefore less than a normal procreator in the society at large.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: InOBU
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 07:31 AM

I think our guest is mistaking the Yates trial with that of the depraved heart killing by dogs trial verdict last night... but I still am missing the guests point... I may be thick in the morning, can you draw out your point? Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 11:47 AM

...or, better yet, give your point its own thread?

Please post any comments on the dog-mauling trial verdict to the following thread: Dog owners guilty in mauling death

Thanks! Now back to our regularly scheduled verdict...


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 08:16 PM

Medical MalPratice is what it was!


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: InOBU
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 09:11 PM

This is getting very confusing... medical malpractice in the Yates case... yes, possibly. Cheers Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Mar 02 - 07:08 PM

Looks as though her husband may be squirming a little, or maybe a LOT, soon, I hope! Just saw this. I hope the get him on everything possible! Oh, and whatever happened to NOT letting criminals profit through book and movie deals? In this article, it says Andrea's lawyer and family are mulling over her options?! So, what it is, mentally ill or not, kill your kids and make a fortune at the movies? How fucked up can that be?

From "Periscope"

Spreading the Blame in the Yates Case ,br>
       It was a busy week for Rusty Yates. While his wife, Andrea, was being sentenced to life in prison for drowning their five children, Yates defended her in an interview on the "Today" show in New York. That night he was in Los Angeles, doing the same with Larry King of CNN. Wednesday was Oprah's turn in Chicago.
       But as he crisscrossed the nation, simmering questions about his own accountability have boiled over. Andrea's mother and siblings told reporters that Rusty, a controlling husband who often downplayed his wife's mental illness and shut them out, bears some responsibility for the tragedy. Andrea's best friend, Deborah Holmes, did the same. On radio call-in shows, Internet chat rooms and newspaper editorial pages, the questions continue.
       Rusty calls such claims "outrageous" and says he did all he could to care for his wife. He says he never knew his wife was so sick, and he blames the medical community for not properly diagnosing and treating her. He has threatened to sue Andrea's doctors and insurance providers.
       Soon, however, he could have legal troubles of his own. The judge in the case is still considering whether Rusty violated the gag order and should be held in contempt of court. And Harris County D.A. Chuck Rosenthal told NEWSWEEK that his staff is investigating Rusty for crimes of omission including child endangerment.
       Indeed, it's what Rusty didn't do that Andrea's family and friends question. Andrea's brother, Brian Kennedy, told NEWSWEEK he often tried to convince Rusty that Andrea's illness was severe. "He just never accepted it," says Kennedy, who calls his brother-in-law's media appearances "damage control." Holmes told NEWSWEEK that Andrea talked to Rusty about her mental illness before the drownings. But instead of immediately seeking treatment for her, Rusty bolstered Andrea's belief that she was probably being influenced by demons, Holmes says.
       Even forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz, who was the prosecution's star witness, told NEWSWEEK that Rusty may have prevented the tragedy. He says Rusty's insistence that his wife home-school their children and that they live in a cramped bus for a while, and his limiting her contact with friends and family and ex-posing her to Michael Woroniecki's cult teachings about Satan, were all major contributors to her mental illness.
       Rusty is "innocent of any criminal offense," says his lawyer, Ed Mallet. Some legal experts, however, think that even if Yates escapes criminal charges (including contempt of court) he may have a tough time defending himself in civil court, where a jury could find him partly responsible.
       While her attorneys and others mull over book deals and movie rights, Andrea will remain in an isolated cell 23 hours a day, allowed only one hour a day for recreation, according to a prison spokesman. She will not be allowed to make any phone calls or have any visitors for at least a month.
       Rusty said last week that marriage is for companionship and children—and that he has neither. But while Andrea's brother questions Rusty's commitment to Andrea, he says her own family won't waver. "Mom's already written a letter to her," Kennedy says. "We'll always be there for her."
       — Anne Belli Gesalman
      


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 27 Mar 02 - 04:57 PM

Michael Woroniecki (the evangelist whose teachings the Yateses followed) was featured on the ABC television network's "Good Morning America" program yesterday, and he and his wife were interviewed on the same program today. Here are some things the ABC website has to say about him:

'Going to Hell'
Yates' Spiritual Adviser Vehemently Warned Followers About Satan

H O U S T O N, March 26 — A psychiatrist on Andrea Yates' defense team says the disturbed woman would have never drowned her children if she hadn't found religion from a man named Michael Woroniecki.

A newly uncovered videotape shows traveling evangelist Michael Woroniecki in action. On the tape, Woroniecki is publicly preaching that the that "the whole world is going to hell." This is the same man Andrea Yates depended on for religious guidance. Psychiatrist Lucy Puryear told Cynthia Hunt of ABCNEWS' Houston affiliate KTRK that Yates' fate might have been different if she never met Woroniecki. "It's heartbreaking," Puryear said on Good Morning America. "She has schizophrenia. She still would have been ill, but I don't believe she ever, ever would have drowned her children."

Woroniecki first caught the attention of Yates' husband, Russell, who became devoted to the preacher when he was a student at Auburn University in Alabama. The preacher was on the college campus circuit, recruiting new followers. Russell Yates, or Rusty, as he's known, later introduced Woroniecki to his young, impressionable wife, Andrea.

The Yates family followed Woroniecki's teachings and patterned their lives after his. The preacher had six children with biblical names and lived on a bus. The Yateses had five children with biblical names [NOTE: He's quoted as saying he wanted six], and lived for a while on a bus they bought from Woroniecki.

On the newly released video, Woronieki tells followers that "multitudes are going to hell. God doesn't give a hoot about your little selfish affluent self-oriented world." [NOTE: Actually, Woroniecki said "self-orientated" on the tape!]

At the time Andrea Yates drowned her children, she and Rusty were still devoted followers.

A former follower of Woroniecki says his heart sank when he heard the Yateses were connected to the preacher. "I dropped the receiver and my heart sank because I knew immediately what happened," said David De La Isla, who had followed Woroniecki for 12 years. De La Isla says Woroniecki was a powerful influence on the vulnerable mind of Andrea Yates. "In her thinking she was doomed to hell, her kids were going to go to hell, and that the only way she could save them was by killing them."

De La Isla says Woroniecki has no church and no place of worship, but speaks to his followers through newsletters and videotapes. In one recording he wears the mask of Satan while warning that the devil lurks. "That's all the matters, what you feel in your own heart," Woroniecki says [as Satan] on the videotape.

De La Isla, a successful salesman, says the preachings are more like brainwashing. He says that's why it works on people like himself and the Yateses — Russell, a NASA engineer, and Andrea, who was her high school valedictorian. "It starts off very innocent, your perceptions start altering and pretty soon you are sucked into a system," De La Isla said.

In following Woroniecki, De La Isla says he quit his job, broke up with his fiancée and tried to kill himself. After 12 years he broke away from Woroniecki when he finally realized that no matter what he did, the preacher still told him he was going to hell. "It's a psychological trap of salvation," De La Isla said.

Woroniecki ignored ABCNEWS' repeated request for a response, but he did write a letter to the Dallas Morning News in which he said: "We enjoyed our relationship with Rusty and Andrea for many years as they tried to learn from our ways of following Jesus … they obviously 'fell short' of salvation."

END------------------------------------------------------------------

'I Shared Jesus With Them'
Evangelist Says He Tried to Save the Yates Family

N E W   Y O R K, March 27 — A traveling evangelist, whose fire-and-brimstone teachings were embraced by Andrea and Russell Yates, says he shouldn't be blamed for Andrea Yates' decision to drown her five children. Michael Woroniecki and his wife Rachel knew Andrea and Russell Yates for 15 years. They say they used their faith to help Andrea.

Michael Woroniecki, the Yates' spiritual mentor, told ABCNEWS' Good Morning America that he told the Yateses that they were going to hell during the couple's visit in 1998. "Of course, because everybody is going to hell," said Woroniecki, adding that he doesn't think his preaching against Satan and hell sent Andrea over the edge.

"I shared Jesus with them," Woroniecki said, adding that he warned Russell Yates over and over again that Andrea and the children were in great need of his love. "I hold him responsible [for the drownings] but I also hold Andrea responsible. God knows what we shared with those people," he said....

The day after Andrea Yates drowned her five children, she told doctors that she did it to save them from going to hell. Her defense attorney and psychiatrist said Yates got the idea from the Woroniecki. Woroniecki called the defense's claims "ridiculous."

Yates' attorney, George Parnham, put into evidence a copy of Woroniecki's newsletter The Perilous Times, that was sent to the Yates family. It contains a poem which laments the disobedient kids of the "Modern Mother Worldly" and ends with the question, "What becomes of the children of such a Jezebel?" Jezebel is a biblical figure most commonly associated with spiritual deception.

Even the prosecution used the preacher in its case against Yates. Park Dietz, the forensic psychiatrist for the prosecution in the Yates case, said the pressure to follow Woroniecki's lifestyle, by living on a bus with five children, was a factor in Andrea's two previous suicide attempts. "She couldn't say to people, 'I can't stand this'," Dietz said during the trial that ended in a life sentence for Yates.
A newly uncovered videotape shows the controversial preacher in action. On the tape, Woroniecki is publicly preaching that "the whole world is going to hell." On one tape, the preacher is wearing a Satan mask, which he claims helps with the language barriers. "Those films that were shown were in Europe where we were trying to communicate French, Italian, German — I used the mask as prop," he said. Followers of Woroniecki said the preacher sometimes communicated while wearing a mask.

A former follower of Woroniecki..., De La Isla, like Russell Yates, met Woroniecki as a college student. He became very depressed and even tried to commit suicide after a 1995 face-to-face encounter with the preacher which resulted in his own damnation. The preacher told him he was going to hell, despite his believing in Jesus and other intensive efforts at salvation.

Woroniecki dismissed De La Isla as someone he barely knows. "I met that guy 15 years ago at a McDonald's restaurant," Woroniecki said. "Now I'm responsible for his actions?"

Woroniecki's followers correspond with the preacher primarily through mail. De La Isla says he has a huge stack of handwritten letters from the preacher that say he was not living a righteous life.

The preacher defended the beliefs and lifestyle he, his wife and six children have adopted. "My family is not some weirdo whackos from a ridiculous venue," he said. Woroniecki said his relationship with Andrea Yates was "one of nothing but love and compassion." [He and his wife said the Yateses spent time visiting them, and had sent the Woronieckis food and other charity items.]

The preacher said he is still waiting to hear from Russell Yates about his own role in Andrea's fate. "I never heard from him — I heard him blame the hospitals, clinics, postpartum depression and drugs. Can you ever say, 'I am looking into the mirror — I should have shepherded my wife. I should have taken care of her,'" he said.

END------------------------------------------------------------------

Woroniecki was also asked whether he would change anything about his preaching because of this experience. He answered that he would, and that he was open to whatever the Lord had to teach him from it. Of course, whether he follows through remains to be seen!

When asked whether he told people they were all going to hell, Woroniecki responded by launching into his rhetoric to the point that he told his interviewer that he (the interviewer, Charles Gibson) was going to hell... without ascertaining whether Gibson was a believer in any faith. Gibson simply said that he trusted that he was not going to hell, but didn't elaborate. My guess is that it wouldn't have mattered to Woroniecki what Gibson believed, if it wasn't exactly what Woroniecki was preaching.

In all, it was a very discomfiting interview that made it obvious that the Woronieckis either don't understand, or are in denial about, or simply refuse to acknowledge, their role in this tragedy (and, no doubt, in other tragic situations judging from De La Isla's comments).


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: sophocleese
Date: 27 Mar 02 - 09:54 PM

The tricky thing about the WoronieckisWoronieckis influence is that it wouldn't have had such power without a weakness in Andrea and her husband. Distasteful as I find the Woronieckis preaching a more balanced, healthy mind would have been able to reject it. Its similar to the difficulties of playing Dungeons and Dragons. To reasonably mentally healthy, imaginative people it is a pleasure and a relaxation. To those who are less mentally stable it can be a problem which leads to greater problems.

I take photos of newborns in our local hospital and walk by a poster showing an empty car seat, underneath this is the caption saying something like "It only takes a minute." That poster was up there when I had my daughter. Many people could look at it, read it as a warning and don't get upset. For me, suffering from depression, it effectively increased all my fears making me a more frightened but not necessarily a better parent. Should I blame the people who made the poster or do I recognize that in my fragile mental state I gave it too much weight?

The only thing that I can say about this case is that it is a tragedy. The only good that could possibly come from it is a shake up of mental health services and those that fund them so that it is prevented in future. Severe depression is hell and a treatable sickness. Not dealing with it, ignoring it, or treating it lightly is like calling advanced leprosy a little bit of a rash and suggesting hand cream.


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 11:18 PM

why was this such a big deal?


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Subject: RE: BS: Andrea Yates was found guilty
From: SharonA
Date: 15 Apr 02 - 06:43 PM

By the way, I read an article recently that said that, soon after Andrea's conviction and sentence, Rusty Yates was at the Today Show, waiting his turn to be interviewed. Also waiting in the wings was Ozzy Osbourne. Osbourne refused to talk to Yates, sign an autograph for him or even to shake his hand. The guy whose legacy is biting the heads off bats is quoted as saying that he's disgusted by Russell Yates, and that Yates freaks him out. Ozzy did not want to give Yates any excuse to brag that he was acquainted with Osbourne in any way!

I have to side with Ozzy. Russell Yates is just plain creepy.


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Mudcat time: 28 July 1:27 PM EDT

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