See those four smiling boys? They’re all dead. Actually, there was another even younger boy that is now dead as well. Their mother drowned each one of them one at a time.
Andrea Yates’ murder conviction for drowning her children in the bathtub was overturned by an appeals court Thursday because a psychiatrist for the prosecution gave erroneous testimony that suggested the Texas mother got the idea from an episode of "Law & Order."
This is why:
The appeals court ruling turned on the testimony of Dr. Park Dietz (search), a forensic psychiatrist who consulted for "Law & Order" and helped prosecutors land a conviction in 2002. Dietz testified at the trial that shortly before Yates’ crime occurred, "Law & Order" ran an episode about a woman who drowned her children and was found innocent by reason of insanity.
But it turned out that no such "Law & Order (search)" episode existed.
I’m OK with the reason why the conviction was thrown out. But, this is the part that bugs me:
The mother is alive and well and doing fine in prison. She won’t get out, and will most likely be given life again by another jury. But in no way will she be given the death penalty. Why?
Yates pleaded insanity, and according to testimony at the trial, she was overwhelmed by motherhood, considered herself a bad mother, suffered postpartum depression, had attempted suicide and had been hospitalized for depression.
Five mental health experts for the defense testified that she did not know right from wrong or that she thought what she did was right.
This is my point: If someone doesn’t know right from wrong to the point where they are willing to kill five people, they just don’t need to be alive themself. It doesn’t really matter to me what their IQ is. Andrea Yates functioned well enough to exist in society, communicate with society on a daily basis. And, to marry a decent guy and conceive five healthy kids. If there was nothing to indicate at that point that she "didn’t know right from wrong", then to assume after-the-fact that she never did is bogus law. She knew enough to thrive in society, she knew right from wrong. She snapped. That’s too bad.
I suffer the same pressures she does, I know when I need relief. I do a lot of things, but I just don’t ponder killing kids. It’s not that I think about it, and then decide "that’s the wrong thing to do" or "that’s bad". I just don’t think about it.
People who do act on it, obviously thought about it. If Yates had killed one, and then realized what she had done was bad. She has an argument. But, to drown five kids, one at a time, means that at the very least four of those murders were thought out.
Andrea Yates just needs killin for her own good.
The courts need to realize that some times that’s just the most humane thing they can do.