Confession, 911 call allowed as evidence against woman accused of drowning her 5 children

Wednesday, December 5th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HOUSTON (AP) _ A jury will be allowed to hear the confession and 911 call made by a woman accused of drowning her five young children in a bathtub, a judge ruled.

During a two-day hearing, defense attorney George Parnham claimed Andrea Yates had been too mentally fragile to understand or waive her constitutional rights when police arrived at her home June 20 to find her four sons and infant daughter dead.

Yates faces two capital murder charges in the deaths of her children. On Tuesday, Judge Belinda Hill denied defense attorneys' request to throw out the confession and 911 call Yates made.

Yates' husband, Russell Yates, testified during the hearing Tuesday about his wife's mental health.

``I'm upset because I don't think she got the treatment she needed,'' he said, reading back statements he made to police the day of the killings. ``I think she should have been on anti-psychotic medication looking back.''

He testified that he asked his wife's psychiatrist to resume anti-psychotic medication two days before the drownings. He said the psychiatrist refused.

Andrea Yates interacted with her attorneys Tuesday but showed little reaction to her husband's testimony.

In 1999, Yates was diagnosed with severe postpartum depression and she attempted suicide twice. She was hospitalized twice in 2001 following the birth of her fifth child, Mary, and the death of her father, Russell Yates said.

Police officers who testified at the hearing said Andrea Yates offered a confession without hesitation and even told them where to find clean glasses in a cabinet so they could get her husband a glass of water.

``She looked me directly in my eyes and said, 'I know what I've done,''' said Houston police Officer Frank Stumpo.

Yates' trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 7. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.