Skip to comments.Psychiatrist Warned Yates Against Having 5th Baby
Posted on 07/07/2006 6:26:30 PM PDT by Extremely Extreme Extremist
(AP) HOUSTON A psychiatrist testified Friday that she warned Andrea Yates not to have any more children after she tried to commit suicide twice within months of having her fourth child in 1999.
"I could pretty much predict that Mrs. Yates would have another episode of psychosis," Dr. Eileen Starbranch told jurors in Yates' second murder retrial.
Starbranch said Yates suffered from postpartum psychosis, which she said causes a mother to have delusions and lose touch with reality, making it much more severe than postpartum depression.
Yates drowned her five young children in a bathtub in June 2001, 6 months after the birth of her fifth child, Mary. She is being tried again because an appeals court overturned her 2002 murder conviction based on erroneous testimony that might have influenced the jury. She has again pleaded innocent by reason of insanity.
Yates' attorneys have never disputed she killed the youngsters but say she didn't know that the drownings were wrong.
Prosecutors say Yates may be mentally ill but does not meet the state's definition of insanity.
They say Yates planned to drown the children when she was alone with them, after her husband went to work and before her mother-in-law arrived. Then Yates called 911 and later told a detective she killed them because she was a bad mother and wanted to be punished, according to witnesses.
Along with Mary, Yates drowned 2-year-old Luke, 3-year-old Paul, 5-year-old John and 7-year-old Noah.
Starbranch said she treated Yates after she tried to kill herself by overdosing on sleeping pills in June 1999.
About a month later, Starbranch said, Yates' then-husband, Rusty, told her that Yates had held a knife to her own throat the previous day.
Starbranch said Yates had a bald spot on her head from scratching it, had not been taking her antipsychotic medication, had filthy hair and could not function. Starbranch said she sent the couple immediately to a mental hospital so Andrea Yates could be admitted.
Under cross-examination, Starbranch acknowledged that the words "filthy" and "catatonic" were not in her notes and said that Yates' nervousness and anxiety may have been a sign that she simply did not want to be at a psychiatrist's office. But Starbranch maintained that Yates was psychotic and not lethargic or exhausted from caring for four young children.
Over the next two weeks or so while hospitalized, Yates steadily improved while on antipsychotic drugs, Starbranch said.
But then in March 2001, Rusty Yates called Starbranch's office trying to make an appointment, saying his wife was getting worse since having the couple's fifth child in November, Starbranch testified.
"I knew that was a very ominous sign ... that lives were at stake, so I asked that she be brought in immediately," Starbranch said.
The couple never showed up, but Starbranch later learned that Yates was admitted to another mental hospital, the psychiatrist testified.
Yates, being tried in only three of the children's deaths, will be sentenced to life in prison if convicted. After the first jury rejected execution, prosecutors could not seek the death penalty again because they found no new evidence.
Unfit to live -crazy or not.
It pi$$es me off to no end, that we have to go through this again. Give the b!tch a razorblade and put her in a room with a drain.
I find myself feeling more pity than hate. She was obviously profoundly disturbed.
Try pitying her poor dead children who she held under water and drowned while they were kicking and screaming.
I do pity them. However, their mother killed them because of her illness rather than out of malice, so I feel pity for her too.
Yeah, we should have compassion for folks who drown children. The poor woman.
Since her husband knew her situation and knocked her up for the 5th time, he is an accomplice to the crime.
I have compassion for the insane, as Andrea Yates clearly is.
I'm inclined to agree with you but neither of us will find much agreement here. If killing ones children isn't a very definition of insanity, I don't know what is.
This case is stomach-churning, no doubt. And why on the Earth the husband impregnated her for a 5th time is baffling. I guess denial ain't just a river.
A decent prosecutor would remind you that the words 'premeditated' and 'aforethought' belong in the mix before one simply declares her insane....from the little I know of the case, these are salient points.
"If killing ones children isn't a very definition of insanity, I don't know what is."
What a ridiculous statement. Many angry, frustrated parents have shaken their children to death. That's insanity? No, it's lack of patience.
5 of them at the same time?
Who's being ridiculous?
Not having had any children, I cant speak directly about post-partum depression but I did have infertility treatments that included several months of birth control pills hormones (to regulate and balance my cycle) followed by infertility drugs more hormones. Hormones have powerful effects both physically and mentally.
During treatment, one day my husband came home and I very calmly told him I felt like destroying something, breaking dishes or punching a hole in the wall then I told him I felt like killing something, a bug, a mouse, something, anything .think PMS on steroids.
I truly did not feel like myself. I wasnt angry at any person or at any one thing but everything in general and nothing at all I just felt like destroying something. I felt some kind of unspecific, undirected rage that I never felt before or since - thank goodness. It passed but it scared the hell out of both of us.
If Id acted out in any manner, I should have been held accountable as Andrea Yates should be nothing is an ascuse for what she did to her children but to a much lesser extent, I can understand the loss of reason and control.
But like you, Id like to know the husbands contribution, role and accountability for this. He knew her problems after the 4th child and yet impregnated her a 5th time (bad judgment on his part) and then didnt even see fit to supervisor her, not leave her alone with the children or follow up to make sure she got the help she needed knowing her history of suicide attempts and depression. Perhaps he is not accountable for the murders but he is at least guilty of being oblivious to the obvious.
She's crazy as an crap house rat. Unfortunately, our legal system doesn't deal with crazy folks very well nor does society, since she was still allowed to run around nutty until she did something heinous.
If a man had done what Adrea Yates did ,you would want him to die painfully.
As for the husband, I don't know what to say. The term "clueless" seems appropriate.
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