Yates defense rests

The defense rested today in the Andrea Yates trial after her best friend testified that “she became a zombie” after the birth of her fourth child. Next up is the rebuttal phase, which will bring the reappearance of an old friend.

On rebuttal, prosecutors have said they plan to call Dr. Park Dietz, the psychiatrist whose testimony inadvertently led to Yates’ conviction being overturned.

Dietz, also a Law & Order television series consultant, told the first jury that in one episode a woman was acquitted by reason of insanity after drowning her children in a tub. He said the show aired before the Yates children died, but after her conviction, those involved in the case discovered no such episode existed.

The state is also planning to present the findings of forensic psychiatrist Michael Welner.

My my my. I confess, I hadn’t expected Dr. Dietz to testify again. Besides being an obvious reminder of why we’re here in the first place, I’d have thought he might have burned his bridges with the Harris County DA’s office. Apparently not. I can’t wait to read about his cross examination.

And speaking of cross exams:

In morning testimony, despite intense questioning by prosecutor Joe Owmby, neurologist and neuropsychologist George Ringholz disputed suggestions that Yates manipulated personality tests to show she did not know right from wrong in drowning her five children.

Ringholz, testifying for the defense, said that although personality tests can be manipulated, he did not believe that occurred in Yates’ case.

At one point, prosecutor Owmby’s rapid-fire questions about Yates’ personality test results drew a loud objection from defense attorney Wendell Odom. District Judge Belinda Hill raised her voice to settle the heated exchange between the attorneys.

Ringholz testified that Yates spoke about a vision she had after the birth of her first child, Noah, in 1994.

“What she described as a feeling or presence,” Ringholz said, “she described as Satan, and then hearing a voice that said take a knife and stab her son Noah.”

I guess that answers my question about what the prosecution has been doing for the past week or so. We’ll see how the rebuttal phase goes.

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