26-year-old Andrea Yates confessed to killing her five children Noah, John Paul, Luke and Mary in Clear Lake in Texas on June 20, 2001. CNN, 2201: The Andrea Yates murder case is a great example of mental illness in a case. Yates was an emotionally disturbed mother. She had been misled by Michael Woroniecki’s religious practices that stressed suicide for the “not good enough”. Two capital murder charges were dropped against Yates, who pleaded guilty on grounds of mental illness. Andrea Yates admits to having murdered her five children. After her admission, she was acquitted on two counts for negligent murder. Her lawyers suggested that Yates plead guilty to insanity. The jury found her guilty, and she was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility for release in 40 years. Andrea Yates was convicted but her defense lawyers acknowledged that Dr. Park Dietz, the prosecution witness, gave misleading testimony throughout court proceedings. On January 9, 2006, she filed a not guilty plea by reason of insanity.
Andrea suffered from depression postpartum and psychosis ever since she had her first child. Andrea had suffered from severe mental illness prior to the deaths of her children. It was characterized by postpartum depression, and postpartum schizophrenia. Resnick, 2007, used the M.Naghten Rules sanity testing in this case. The test that determines if a suspect in a crime is sane enough to be considered criminally responsible. She died in 1999 from an overdose of antidepressants prescribed by her doctor. Following the overdose she was taken to a hospital. She was diagnosed with severe depression. She was admitted to the mental institution again a month later after she attempted suicide. The pattern was so consistent that her husband and her doctors noticed she was no longer capable of caring for her children.
Although we were not in agreement with Andrea Yates’ decision to murder all her children, it was something we could understand. Even though she clearly suffered from mental illness, nobody acted. And when they did, it was too late. (Denno 2003). It is possible for people with mental illnesses to not stand trial. However, the mother of her two children was convicted and tried again. She was then retried and found guilty of insanity. Andrea Yates was an infirm woman with postpartum psychosis. The defense could construct a timeline to show her mental illness. It missed every sign of her insaneness, which I must admit was valid for her retrial. This was because she was a woman who had this illness. New moms usually fall ill within three to six months of giving birth.