The Case Of Andrea Yates

1780 Words 8 Pages
The case of Andrea Yates is one of the most infamous cases in the last decade and the reason for that is because Andrea’s mental state leading up to the murders. Andrea Yates in 2001 drowned all five of her children in a bathtub in her Huston, Texas home. However, was she responsible for her actions? Andrea suffered from several mental illnesses including postpartum depression. She was constantly in and out of mental health institutions and was given medication to deal with her depression. Andrea’s husband at the time Russell Yates did not fully pay attention to Andrea’s mental condition and once he thought she was better they had another child despite being told not do so by Andrea’s psychologist. After their 4th child was born Andrea developed …show more content…
She then filled her bathtub within three inches of the top and methodically drowned each of her five children. Andrea started with the youngest of the boys Paul, 3 and then followed by Luke, 2, and John, 5. She then drowned the sixth month old Mary and lastly the oldest of her children Noah who was seven at the time. Noah put up the biggest fight he tried to escape from Andrea, but was caught and while in the bathtub he struggled furiously for his life however, in the end Andrea was successful in drowning him. Andrea placed each dead child on her bed wrapped in blankets she then proceed to call the police and her husband to come home immediately. Andrea was arrested on the spot and when questioned why she did it she said she told the police that she was possessed by Satan. She explained because she was a bad mother her influences would cause her children to go to hell and so to save them from that and insure that they would go to heaven she had to kill them while they were still innocent in the eyes of God (Hyman, 2004). Andrea was found guilty in March 2002 of the murders and was originally sentence to life in prison with the eligibility of parole in 40 years; however in January 6, 2006 a Texas Court of Appeals reversed the convictions because of false testimony and she was given a new trial. This time Andrea was found not guilty …show more content…
Texas uses a combination of the McNaughton and Irresistible Impulse Test. On the McNaughton test the defendant must be suffering from a defect or disease of the mind, not be aware of what they did it or whether it was right or wrong to be found insane. However, on the Irresistible Impulse Test if a defendant is cognitively aware of what they did was right and wrong , but cannot stop themselves from acting a certain way they can be found insane. Some psychiatrists and legal scholars have criticized both tests for failing to allow for degrees of incapacity. The presence of postpartum psychosis may significantly impair a woman 's mental stability but still not satisfy the cognitive test or even the irresistible-impulse test (Nau, McNiel, & Binder, 2012) . In the case of Andrea Yates she did realize what she did was wrong, but could not appreciate the wrongfulness her actions during the time of the crime. Even with the flaws of the tests Andrea still met criteria from both of them to show that she was insane. For example, Andrea claims she was possessed by Satan during the crimes and asked for a razor to shave her head to reveal the mark of the beast 666, which shows that Andrea Yates was clearly not thinking in a reasonable matter and therefore could not be responsible for her actions

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