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Andrea Yates

From Academic Kids

Andrea Pia Yates (born July 2, 1964) is a woman from Houston, Texas, USA, who is currently serving a life sentence for methodically drowning her five children (ages six months to seven years) in a bathtub on June 20, 2001. She was suffering from a severe case of psychotic depression, recurring, after having had her last baby. She immediately called 9-1-1 after the murders and was arrested shortly thereafter.

Yates confessed the crime, but her defense used postpartum disorder as a motion to get her into a psychiatric facility. Although all expert testimony agreed that Yates was clearly psychotic, Texas insanity law required the defense to prove that the defendant could not discern right from wrong at the time of the crime. Yates was found guilty but was spared the death penalty, instead receiving a life sentence with eligibility for parole in 35 years. On January 6, 2005, her convictions were overturned by an appeals court because a witness was mistaken that in an episode of Law and Order a woman was found not guilty due to insanity for drowning her child. No episode existed.

Some believe or believed that her husband, Russell "Rusty" Yates, an employee of the Johnson Space Center, was responsible for creating the conditions that culminated in the tragedy. Andrea's psychiatrist, Dr. Eileen Starbranch, testified that she urged the couple not to get pregnant again to avert certain future psychotic depression, but the procreative plan taught by the Yates' preacher, Michael Peter Woroniecki, a doctrine to which Rusty Yates subscribed, insisted she should continue to have "as many children as nature allows".

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