The Yates story : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread

I'm sorry I can't understand his thinking here. Yeah she was a victim. . . from spousal abuse. Yates defense

Hours after his wife was formally sentenced to life in prison for drowning their five children, the husband of Andrea Yates said Monday he was stunned when he heard the guilty verdict being read and believes the jurors ignored overwhelming evidence that she is insane.

"She's a victim, she's not a criminal," Russell Yates told CNN's "Larry King Live." "She needs treatment. She doesn't need punishment."

Yates said he initially thought he had misheard what the judge was saying when she read the verdict. "I heard her read it and I honestly thought she'd skipped over the word 'no,'" Yates said.

He said the jury was given "a lot of exhibits that they had access to that I don't think they looked at."

The jurors' mentality was that "someone got hurt, so someone's got to pay," he said. "I don't think the jury was ever able to get past the fact that she drowned the children. It's that simple."

He added, "Her heart was good and her mind was bad. To me, as outrageous as it sounds, I don't think she needs forgiveness, she needs compassion."

But Yates said his wife had a different reaction. "I got the impression she was a bit relieved to have a verdict and have a sentence. She was worried about the possibility of the death penalty. It's just something she doesn't have to worry about know. She knows what the future holds for her."

That future is a minimum of 40 years in jail for Mrs. Yates, who is 37. She remains in Harris County Jail, where Yates said he visits her Tuesdays and Fridays.

Yates said he had no inkling his wife was a danger to their children and that he did not hold himself culpable, though his wife is having a hard time forgiving herself.

"I've tried to encourage her to separate herself from what happened and realize that she never would have done this had she not been psychotic."

None of her family, or his, wanted her to be found guilty, he said. "She's wonderful -- a kind, gentle, caring, loving person."

Even their children would not want her imprisoned, he said. "They would want her in a hospital."

Yates said his wife first showed signs of postpartum depression after the birth of their fourth son Luke, and attempted suicide by taking sleeping pills.

But the right combination of medicines -- including the powerful anti-psychotic agent Haldol -- quickly resulted in a dramatic turnaround. When the couple decided to conceive a fifth child, doctors warned them that her illness could return, but reassured them the same combination of drugs would likely help her, he said.

After the birth of Mary, their only daughter, the symptoms did recur, followed by a second suicide attempt. But by then the family had switched to a different doctor. "We didn't go back to her because, just practically, she was too far away," Yates said.

The mother of five was hospitalized twice for her psychosis. "Both times she was released from the hospital, she was the sickest patient in the hospital," said Yates, who said he likely will sue his health insurer.

Andrea's brother, Brian Kennedy, told ABC's "Good Morning America" that Yates had been inattentive to his wife's needs and that he had begged him to lighten her load.

Andrea's mother Jutta Karin Kennedy said her son-in-law had not changed a diaper since Luke's birth.

Yates dismissed both complaints. "I helped out tremendously at home; they didn't see it."

He acknowledged he is "not very emotional," but said his in-laws' concerns indicate "they don't understand her illness ... they act as though I should have seen this coming."

Though he said he did not see it coming, he did know his wife was seriously ill. On June 18, two days before the killings, he took Andrea to a doctor, who did not agree to hospitalize her.

"He's a trained professional who's supposed to be able to recognize these kinds of things. I'm not. I'm just a guy," said Yates.

Yates pledged to continue supporting his wife. But, "as far as where we go with our relationship, that's kind of hard to say. The reasons to get married are companionship and children. We'll have neither."

Faith in God has helped him and Andrea, he said. "With the children, I know they're safe. I know I'll see them again. I know I did everything I could for them."

He added, "I don't know why he has done this, but I trust him." Yates lives in the same house, though he has removed most of the reminders of his children. Moving would simply add to his stress level, he said, and "I like the house."

Yates said he finds solace in visiting a Web site that contains family pictures "as a memorial."

Though he does not believe he acted irresponsibly in any way, "I look back and I think, 'Yeah, there are things we could have changed and things we could have done differently.'"

Yates predicted his wife will do well in prison. "Andrea can get by with not a lot. She's a good woman."

-- Maria (, March 19, 2002


I thought this would generate at least a few comments. Guess I was wrong. The thing that pushed my buttons was hearing the testimony on the oldest son's struggle and asking if he had been a bad boy and apologizing for it. Only a cold blooded murderer could ignore the pleas; an insane person would have felt *some* emotion from that, especially someone supposedly suffering from postpartum depression where emotions run high.

-- Maria (, March 20, 2002.

I have some thoughts on this Maria.

Within my circle of friends here in Southern California are a married couple who are both mental health care professionals, one in the public sector and the other in private practice. They and many of their associates believe that Andrea Yates was attempting to punish her husband for the many years of brow beating and rigorous mind control. ‘Rusty’ Yates has a serious superiority complex and inflexible beliefs as to how his family should be run.

He insisted that his children be home schooled and Andrea was just a vehicle to carry out his demands. She was never allowed to have a life of her own, so to speak and as a couple they had few friends or outside interests. In essence, she was a prisoner in her own home and this terrible act could have been the only means of escape for her.

There is a school of thought that she harbored a deep seeded and long running hatred of her husband and this triggered her final actions. This is hardly a unique situation. How many times have you read about a spouse killing his or her children to ‘get back’ at their mate?

I watched Russell Yates on Larry King live last night and he appears to be lacking in the emotions most of us feel.

One cold fish that dude.

-- So (, March 20, 2002.

I've heard the same things about him and he certainly seems like a jackass, but in the end, he wasn't the one who killed the kids. Andrea had the same options other women have: call the police, divorce the guy, kill the guy, kill herself, run away. Lots of options, none of which involve killing her kids. Life in prison seems an appropriate punishment so that she can live with the pain she caused for the rest of her life.

-- (what@i.think), March 20, 2002.

I agree with both responses already posted. In my opinion, Andrea Yates was looking for a way out. Perhaps life in prison (without having to take care of 5 kids and a non-caring spouse) was preferable to the prison she was in.

-- Pammy (, March 20, 2002.

She should never have married that egotistical controlling chauvinistic bastard in the first place. Okay, so she thought she was in "love" and made a mistake. Then, because of their Christian background, they obviously did not use birth control and she had too many kids with the bastard. He seems like a selfish wham-bam thank-you-mam kinda guy, so she probably did not enjoy sex with him but had to yield because he is the aggressive dominating type. So she ends up doing 10 times as much work as him, and all he does is come home and yell at her because the house is not clean and his dinner is not ready. The best thing to do would be kill him, not the kids. But chances are she would get caught and then the kids would have no parent at all, so she decided to kill the kids and spare them the torture of living with a bastard father. She could have killed the bastard as well, but she was probably afraid that he would go to the same place as the kids and continue to screw them up. This way, he gets to live the rest of his life knowing that he was really responsible, because he was not a good father or husband, just a self-centered bastard.

I think she did the right thing, but she should have killed herself too so she could be with the kids instead of wasting away in prison.

-- Dr. Laura 1-800 D-R-L A-U-R-A (My@Kids.Mom), March 20, 2002.

Thanks Socrates for the insight. Sad all the way around for this 'family'. I've never 'walked in the shoes' of an abuse victim, so I can't understand the need to stay in the relationship. Too bad he didn't have the foresight to help his marriage.

-- Maria (, March 20, 2002.

Pure speculation.

-- bogsworth (running@on.8cylinders), March 23, 2002.

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