Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Prosecution claims Yates is faking it

A fellow inmate of Andrea Yates has told prosecutors that Yates gave her advice on faking mental illness.

Andrea Yates advised a fellow inmate how to “beat her case, specifically, to act mentally sick or crazy,” according to court documents filed by prosecutors Thursday.

Prosecutors say Felicia Doe told them last year that Yates told her not to eat, not to speak properly, not to be friendly or open in front of people. Doe spent four days in 2002 in a jail block with Yates, who drowned her five children in 2001.

“The defendant also said if you could get the jail psychiatrist on your side, they could testify to your mental health and they couldn’t prosecute you if you were sick,” according to a document in which prosecutor Kaylynn Williford details interviews with a variety of witnesses who could be called during Yates’ upcoming capital murder retrial.

“According to the witness, the defendant basically told her, ‘Do what I’m doing,’ ” Williford wrote.

George Parnham, Yates’ defense attorney, called the account “sad and ludicrous.”

“That is absolutely so bogus, it doesn’t even deserve a response,” he told the Associated Press on Thursday evening. “That discounts the medications that this woman was on, the mental illness she suffers from.”

Two things here: First, you’re going to have to do better than dredge up a jailhouse snitch to impress me. I’ll let Scott speak on that issue.

Second, did Yates have this alleged conversation with Doe before or after she was convicted? Because if it was after, and you want me to believe she’s fully in control of her mental faculties, then perhaps it might have occurred to her that the insanity defense was a losing proposition for her, and as such, wouldn’t have had much to recommend it. I’m just saying.

Is it possible that Yates is faking it? Anything is possible, I suppose. The evidence being presented here is a long way from compelling, however. It feels a little desperate on the prosecution’s part, as a matter of fact.

At the hearing, prosecutors say they will give defense attorneys more than 230 letters Yates wrote since the drownings.

Prosecutors say they want Hill to order NASA to turn over any e-mail communication between Russell and Andrea Yates, as well as any e-mails Russell Yates sent or received that discussed the killings. Russell Yates continues to work at the Johnson Space Center.

Prosecutors also want communications between Russell Yates and “any person with whom he had a romantic or intimate relationship prior to the murders or that evidence such a relationship.”

“Any communications that evidence a romantic or intimate involvement by Russell Edison Yates with another person prior to the murders are similarly relevant … ,” Williford wrote.

The letters Yates wrote could be interesting, though I don’t expect there will be too much. As for the other items, why wasn’t the prosecution interested in them before the first trial? (I’m assuming they’re only interested in emails between Rusty and Andrea prior to the murders; I doubt Andrea gets much email these days, and any that she does get should not require a court order to be available to the DA.) Do they know that Rusty was fooling around before the murders, or are they fishing? I suspect the latter, but who knows? All in all, a little strange.

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts

One Comment

  1. Kenneth Fair says:

    It seems to me that a blanket subpoena for communications between Russell and Andrea Yates would bump up against the spousal communications privilege, Rule 504(a) of the Texas Rules of Evidence. I wonder what exception the prosecutors are trying to shoehorn the request into.