If There Is Much In The Window There Should Be More In The Room

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Yates Odyssey - TIME


On June 20, 2001, when the police reached this modest brick home on Beachcomber Lane in suburban Houston, they found Andrea drenched with bathwater, her flowery blouse and brown leather sandals soaking wet.

She had turned on the bathroom faucet to fill the porcelain tub and moved aside the shaggy mat to give herself traction for kneeling on the floor. It took a bit of work for her to chase down the last of the children; toward the end, she had a scuffle in the family room, sliding around on wet tile below a poster that proclaimed the epithets of Christ: SAVIOR, SHEPHERD, BISHOP OF SOULS.

She dripped watery footprints from the tub to her bedroom, where she straightened the blankets around the kids in their pajamas once she was done with them.

Jury selection is now under way in one of the most sensational murder cases in years. Andrea Kennedy Yates, 37, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to multiple counts of capital murder, the drowning of her four sons and baby daughter.

At issue in the trial is her mental state: her motives and her will. Her attorneys will argue that the killings were brought on by psychotic delusions, exacerbated by repeated episodes of postpartum depression.

Prosecutors dispute the extent of her psychosis and plan to seek the death penalty if she is convicted, contending she knew right from wrong and that the massacre of five children was an intentional attempt to escape a life she could no longer live--and a husband she had grown to resent.

While Andrea is the one on trial, the case will also bring scrutiny of her husband, her doctors, her mother and siblings. What did they know of her condition? And could they have prevented the tragedy?

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