Yates acquitted despite/because of ex-UVA psych
Andrea Yates, the Texas woman who drowned her five children was been declared innocent by reason of insanity yesterday, depsite testimony in the trial from Park Dietz, the former UVA forensic pyschologist whose earlier mistake voided her first trial.
The story dates back to June 20, 2001 when the Houston mom, then 36, drowned her five children one by one in the family bathtub, because– she said– Satan required the act. Dietz testified at her first trial that she may have seen an episode of Law & Order, a show for which Dietz was a consultant, in which a woman wins her trial for a similar crime on insanity grounds.
Trouble was that no such show existed at the time of this crime. Dietz, despite his expertise in studying criminal minds, had made a whopper of an error.
Despite his earlier slip-up, Dietz was welcomed into the latest Yates trial and again testified that despite the bizarre fact that a woman with no criminal past suddenly fell into post-partum depression deep enough to kill her five kids that she knew right from wrong and, therefore, could not be legally insane under Texas law.
A Harris County jury, however, decided July 26 that she was gripped by psychosis. Today, Houston judge ordered Yates committed to North Texas State Hospital, a high-security mental facility.