- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 5, 2001

From combined dispatches
HOUSTON A Texas judge yesterday rejected a defense motion to stop prosecutors from seeking the death penalty for Andrea Yates, a Houston mother accused of drowning her five children during a bout of depression.
State District Judge Belinda Hill also turned down a request by Mrs. Yates' attorneys to exclude her confession to police from her trial for capital murder next month.
Judge Hill denied the motions and a handful of others without explanation after listening to two days of testimony in pretrial hearings.
Earlier in yesterday's hearing, husband Russell Yates testified that he had feared she would slip into psychosis, but her psychiatrist refused to resume anti-psychotic medication.
Mr. Yates said he had little to say to his wife the day of the killings. "I said, 'How could you do this?'" he testified.
The defense contends Mrs. Yates, 37, "lacked the prerequisite mental capacity" to understand or waive her constitutional rights when she admitted drowning her four sons and infant daughter.
Mr. Yates, 37, testified that he had asked his wife's psychiatrist to resume anti-psychotic medication just two days before the June 20 attacks.
Mrs. Yates, who had a history of postpartum depression, had been released from a mental health treatment center in May.
"She would stand still, hold the baby and stare blankly ahead," Mr. Yates said. "She would speak only when spoken to, and when she did speak, it was in one- or two-word answers."
However, the doctor declined Mr. Yates' request, he testified.
Mr. Yates said he never saw any sign that she was a threat to the children, but on the morning of June 20 he received a chilling phone call at his office from his wife, who sternly told him he must come home.
"I asked if the children were hurt, and she said 'yes,' and I said which one. She said 'all of them,'" Mr. Yates testified.
He raced to their house, where police told him what had happened, but would not let him inside. Through a door, Mr. Yates said he repeatedly shouted at his wife: "How could you do this? I don't understand."
Mrs. Yates, sitting a few feet away in the courtroom in her orange jail jumpsuit, barely reacted to the testimony, looking down once, but with no expression on her face.

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