- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 25, 2004

HOUSTON (AP) — Nearly two years after Andrea Yates’ conviction for drowning her five children in the family’s bathtub, her husband maintains that his wife never should have been prosecuted.

Yates, a diagnosed schizophrenic, was sentenced to life in prison after a jury rejected her insanity defense in March 2002.

“Why do we even have insanity laws if they are not based on medical insanity?” Russell Yates asked.

To be found not guilty by reason of insanity, defendants must prove that they have a severe mental disease and did not know that their actions were wrong.

Police discovered the lifeless, wet bodies of Yates’ four youngest children under a sheet on her bed after she called 911 on June 20, 2001. The oldest child, Noah, 7, was found floating facedown in the tub. She was found guilty of murder for three of the children’s deaths, but was not tried for the other two deaths.

Yates is serving at a psychiatric prison in Rusk, where she works in an outdoor flower garden. But her husband says she should have received treatment at a mental-health facility, not a life term.

“The prisons are set up for security; they are not set up for treatment,” he said. “She needs fairly intensive care from a team of psychiatrists. She is not getting that type of treatment at all.”

On a Web site he created shortly after the deaths, www.yateskids.org., Mr. Yates blames a doctor who treated his wife before her children’s deaths, as well as prosecutors and the judge.

“Most people in Texas believe if someone is brought up on charges they are guilty. In Harris County, it is guilty until proven innocent,” Mr. Yates told the Associated Press last week.

Defense attorneys have until next month to file an appeal.

Judge Belinda Hill said she could not comment because the case is pending.

Prosecutor Chuck Rosenthal said he did not want to “dignify anything [Mr. Yates] has to say.”

Mr. Yates visits his wife every other weekend, trading off with other family members.

“It’s tough,” he said. “It’s tough because I look back on the family we had and the happiness we had.

“It is very hard to see the woman I married and the woman who bore my children suffering. I hate it. I enjoy visiting with her, but I hate to see where she is.”

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