Deliberations in the Yates trial

The jury in the retrial of Andrea Yates has completed its second day of deliberations, and they have asked to review some evidence while they come to their decision.

Earlier today they asked to see a slide presentation compiled by Dr. Michael Welner, a forensic psychiatrist who testified for the prosecution, saying Yates knew the killings were wrong and killed her children for selfish motive, not to help them.

They also asked to see a video tape Dr. Phillip Resnick made of his interview with Yates after the killings. Resnick testified Yates was mentally ill and believed she had to drown the children to save them from eternal damnation.

The jury deliberated about two and half hours Monday following closing arguments.

I think Dr. Welner’s testimony was a reach, but if the jury is impressed by it, that will be bad for Yates.

This jury has already deliberated a lot longer than the first one did.

The jury has already deliberated more than 11 hours in two days, trying to decide if Yates is guilty of capital murder for drowning her children or not guilty by reason of insanity. That’s more than three times as long as a previous jury deliberated before convicting Yates during her first trial four years ago.

The panel of 12 appeared tired and weary as they walked back in the courtroom before state District Judge Belinda Hill excused them for the night. They were sequestered for a second night at a hotel.

The jurors had indicated they might be close to reaching a verdict when they sent out a note about 5:30 p.m. asking that they be allowed to continue deliberating for another hour. But they reconsidered – and quickly sent a follow-up message.

“Rescind the last request. We need some sleep,” the jury’s final note stated, prompting everyone in the courtroom to laugh when Hill read it aloud.

We’ll see if they were close or not. If there’s not a verdict by lunch, this could take a while.

Galveston Judge Susan Criss, who famously presided over the Robet Durst trial, has some comments on the jury’s task as a guestblogger at Grits for Breakfast. Check it out.

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