Insanity Verdict

Yates: "I just see the torment as pushing me and ... and telling me."

Welner: "So, it was the torment? Is that what it was? Just tell me what it was."

Yates: "I didn't want my kids to go to hell."

In another clip...

Welner: "So what kept you from doing it when you got the idea?"

Yates: "Because there were people in the house."

Welner: "And what would they have done?"

Yates: "Stopped me."

Welner: "And why would they have stopped you?"

Yates: "Because they wouldn't think it was right."

Parnham argued these acts were not those of a sane person.

"Well, she was acting deliberately. There's no question about it. She had a delusion, and the delusion was that those kids needed to be saved from hell because she loved them," he said.

Andrea started the drownings with the boy she called Perfect Paul, a 3-year-old, who she said never gave her an ounce of trouble.

Yates: "I put him in the water until he stopped breathing."

Welner: "And what was your reaction when he began to struggle?"

Yates: "I just held him down."

Next was 5-year-old John, then 2-year-old Luke, and then 6-month-old Mary.

Finally, Yates said, she went to get her oldest son, 7-year-old Noah, who was somewhere in the house.

Yates: "I walked him to the bathroom. ... And I put him in the water."

She said he fought the hardest.

She left Noah in his pajamas, floating in the water.

Welner: "What would you say to Noah?"

Yates: "I miss you."

Welner: "Luke?"

Welner: "I miss you."

Yates: "I feel especially bad about Mary. She was so young, and I never got to know her."


"She was absolutely on track to make certain that those lives were going to be taken in order to send their souls to heaven. That is the delusion. Deliberate? Yes! Intentional? You bet," Parnham said.

Parnham said Yates believed she was taking care of her children by drowing them, and recalled how she treated her infant daughter, Mary.

"Andrea took that child's body, walked 26 steps back to the master bedroom, had placed that child's body in the crux of older brother John's arm and wrapped John's arm around that child. And I think it speaks volumes about what Andrea Yates was doing. She was sending her baby off in the arms of a protective brother. She even asked later, 'Are they in heaven?'" Parnham said.

But Welner said while she may have placed Mary in her older brother's arm, she also left her oldest son, Jason, floating in the water. Welner said Yates' methodical and calculating actions revealed that Yates knew she was doing something terribly wrong.

"In order to successfully kill all five children, one would have to be killed in such a way that the others were not alerted," Welner said. "Moving the children from the bathtub, one by one, and hiding them in a place neatly in a bed, guaranteed that someone would not happen upon the bodies, and then attempt to break up the crime."

Crux of the Defense

The crux of the defense's case is that Andrea Yates' psychotic mind could not be judged as knowing right from wrong in the same way as a normal person's.

"When you have an individual who is so mentally ill that she believes that the very right thing to do for the child that she loves most in this world is to save their souls from hell and fire for all eternity, what mother ... what mother would not do the very best thing in order to accomplish that? And Andrea Yates did it," Parnham said.

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