Andrea Yates: Ill or Evil?
A New Trial?
Yates could still be tried in the deaths of two of her children, since she was only convicted in the deaths of three. However, a new trial, whether it be for the same deaths again or for those for which she has not yet been tried, may be a crap shoot for either side, and an expensive one at that. The defense has not only learned what did not work three years ago, but they also have access to another high-profile Texas case in which a mother was acquitted by reason of insanity for killing her children at the instigation of supernatural commands.
Although Harris County prosecutors say they will appeal the court's decision, legal speculation indicates, according to Newsweek, that it's likely to be settled with Yates reassigned to a private mental institution rather than a prison. There she can be properly evaluated. Her husband, Rusty, filed for divorce in July 2004, but hopes the criminal charges will be dropped. Those who currently care for Yates indicate that she is still considered mentally unstable, and during the fall of 2004, when she was overcome with the horror of what she had done, she had tried to kill herself by refusing to eat, and was hospitalized. A settlement, rather than a trial, may well be in her best interests.
Yet the legal issue remains. While friends and associates of Dietz insist on his integrity and claim that he would not knowingly make a misstatement, one can only wonder why an expert who did not research the information beforehand would testify to it from vague recall. Or why the DA's office did not bother to check its accuracy. Yates's life hung in the balance. She might well have been given the death penalty. Fortunately her attorney ensured that the system worked appropriately.