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Case Analysis of Andrea Yates

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“Texas is the toughest state in the country to win an insanity defense case”
Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, July 26, 2006

Andrea Yates grew up in Houston, Texas in a typical Roman Catholic family environment. Her family has been described as middle-class American family. Her father was a school teacher who taught shop. He would retire and then later suffer from Alzheimer’s. He passed away before the killings. Her mother worked to keep the house running and attend to the families 5 children. Andrea, born on July 2, 1964 was the youngest and considered the brightest of the siblings. She proved to be a high achiever coiled with personal motivation as demonstrated in her role as captain of the swim team, National Honor Society member, and valedictorian. She graduated from Milby High School in 1982. She went on to the University of Houston, where she completed a two-year pre-nursing program. Upon completion of the pre-nursing program, she was accepted to the University of Texas School of Nursing in Houston from which she graduated in 19986. Andrea then took a position with the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center where she worked from 1986 to 1994 as a registered nurse (Denno, 2003). Andre met her future husband much the way any other person might. In 1989, Andrea and Russell (Rusty) were both living in the same apartment complex. Rusty, “a summa cum laude graduate of Auburn University, was designing computer systems for NASA” (Denno, 2003) was described as popular and athletic. In a move that was considered uncharacteristic of Andrea, she approached him and began a conversation. With a simple and quaint ceremony, Andrea and Rusty were married on April 17, 1993.
On June 21st, 2001 the headlines “5 Children Killed in Texas” appeared in the New York Times. It was not just the deaths that horrified a nation, as they sat to drink their coffee and retrieve the late weather update or discover the final scores of the hometown favorite ball team. Instead, they heard how a mother would methodically drown her 5 children on at a time in the bath tub of the residence.
Time line of events as reported in the Houston Conical (Chron, 2002): * Apr. 17, 1993 - Russell and Andrea Yates were married. * Feb. 26, 1994 - The birth of Noah Yates. * Dec. 12, 1995 - The birth of John Yates. * Sept. 13, 1997 - The birth of Paul Yates. * Feb. 15, 1999 - The birth of Luke Yates. * June 16, 1999 - Andrea calls Russell at work. She requests that he return home. When he arrives, he discovers Andrea “shaking and crying.” * June 17, 1999 - Andrea takes an overdose of the prescription medication Trazodone belonging to her father. * June 18, 1999 - Andrea is diagnosed with a significant depressive disorder; she is moved to the psychiatric unit at the Methodist Hospital. * June 24, 1999 - Andrea is discharged from the hospital. She is put in touch with Eileen Starbranch a practicing psychiatrist at Methodist Hospital Psychiatric Center. * July 1, 1999 - Andrea is seen by Dr. Starbranch. * July 20, 1999 - Russell takes a knife away from Andrea. She was at her mother’s house in the bathroom and threatening to cause harm to herself. Reports of the incident indicated that she was planning on harming herself. * July 21, 1999 - Andrea is hospitalized for psychiatric treatment and evaluation. She is sent to Memorial Spring Shadows Glen. At this stage, she is introduced to the antipsychotic medication Haldol. * Aug. 9, 1999 - Andrea is discharged from the hospital. * Aug. 10, 1999 - Andrea begins daily outpatient care. * Aug. 18, 1999 - Starbranch warns Andrea and Russell away from having any other children. She explained to them that having another child could trigger another psychotic episode in Andrea. * Aug. 29, 1999 - Although discharged from the outpatient patient care, Andria continues to see Starbranch on a monthly base for follow up and any other concerns. * Nov. 1999 - Andrea forgoes taking her medication, Haldol. * Jan. 2000 - Last monthly visit with Starbranch. * Nov. 30, 2000 - The birth of Mary Yates. * Mar. 12, 2001 - Andrea's father, Andrew Kennedy, dies. Russell later reports that Andrea’s mental health begins deteriorating soon after. * Mar. 31, 2001 - Andrea begins taking antipsychotic medication after being admitted to Devereux Texas treatment network. * April 12, 2001 - Andrea is again discharged and begins another round of outpatient care with Devereux. * May 4, 2001 - Andrea is readmitted to Devereux. She is prescribed the antipsychotic medication Haldol. * May 14, 2001 - Andrea is yet again discharged from Devereux treatment system. * June 4, 2001 - Dr. Mohammed Saeed instructs Russell to wean Andrea off the Haldol. This was to be done over a three day period. * June 7, 2001 - Last day for Andrea to use the anti- psychotic medication. * June 18, 2001 - Follow-up visit with Dr. Saeed where Russell expresses his concern over how Andrea’s condition is not improving. * June 20, 2001 - Andrea falls into a psychotic state and drowns all five of her children. * Mar. 12, 2002 - Harris County jury found Andrea Yates guilty of murdering her children. The jury makes this decision in less than 4 hours.
On the morning of June 20th, 2001, Russell departed the residence for work around 9:00 am. Shortly thereafter, Andrea filled the bathtub with water and proceeded to drown her children. With Mary in her bassinet in the bathroom, she would begin with the 3 youngest boys, Luke, Paul and John. After each one had expired, their body was relocated to a bedroom and placed on a bed. She then turned her attention to her daughter. At some point while killing her daughter her oldest son Noah entered the room and asked what the problem was. According to reports, Noah understood that something terrible had transpired, and he attempted to flee. Andre overpowered him, for which he met the same fate as his brothers and sister. His sister was still in the tub while he was being held underwater. She then relocated Mary to the room with the other boys and laid her on the bed. Afterwards, Andrea dialed 9-1-1 and calmly spoke with the dispatcher on the other side as she requested a police officer to be directed to her residence. The dispatch operator also routed medical assets to the home. When Andrea called, she came across as unemotional and detached. She made no attempts to disclose to the operator that her children were dead. While waiting for the arrival of the police, Andrea called her husband and urged him to come home. It was not till he pressed her that she confided that she had hurt the children. When the police arrived, Andrea met them at the door where she would tell them that she had killed her children. When Russell arrived home, he was greeted by an active crime scene (lindamarie, 2009). What is fascinating is that 2 months before this tragedy she had checked into the Houston Devereux Texas treatment center psychiatric hospital after refusing to explain why she filled the family bathtub with water (Hancock, 2001).
So what went wrong? What would cause a young woman to murder her children one at a time while they were fighting off her purposeful attack? The timeline is self evident that Andrea experienced psychological issues that were haunting her daily life. It is unknown whether she wrestled with any psychological struggles before the birth of her first son. However, what is clear is that the manifestation of her condition seems to consign with the birth of her first son, Noah. Reports later surfaced indicating that Andrea told doctors that Satan wanted her to get a knife and stab someone. She reported hearing this voice(s) shortly after Noah’s birth. She was able to fight off the demons that had taken residence in her mind. She was successful for nearly 6 years until she was finally overtaken by her mental paralyze in June of 1999.

Dr. Park Dietz

What may have seemed normal on the surface was any but. As the layers of Andrea’s life were removed, emerged was the portrait of a woman who had a family history of depression. She had few friends and no outside interests. The demands of a large family were exhausting her. Through all her accomplishments, she suffered having a low self-esteem. These factors were then accented with a severe case of postpartum depression (Hancock, 2001). Without further treatment and observation, she was spiraling down to a destructive climax. Clearly, the climax culminated in the tragedy that left 5 children deceased at the hands of their own mother. There is no argument that Andrea was not in any form of a right mind during the killings. Her history alone demands a closer look at how she got this far. Being hospitalized on several occasions and prescribed various psychiatric prescriptions would provide temporary relief. Her deterioration into depression only furthered her candidacy for destruction.
Guilt was never a question, from the original 9-1-1 call and the first officers on the scene where she calmly informed them that she had killed her children and then led the first responding officers to the bodies removed all doubt of responsibility. The question would be her state of mind and if she could be criminally culpable for her actions. In preparing for the trial, the prosecution and the defense would enlist the services of psychiatric professionals as expert witnesses. The prosecutions recruited Dr. Park Dietz. Dr. Dietz was a UCLA professor. His profession has allowed him to come in contact and evaluated serial killers to including Jeffrey Dahmer and Joel Rifkin. He is also recognized for consulting the FBI for some 30 years. The defense selected Dr. Phil Resnick. Dr. Resnick also came with an impressive back ground. He is an internationally known forensic psychiatrist of whom his portfolio included expertise in the assessment of violence and the uncovering of malingered mental illness. He is also a Director of the Division of Forensic Psychiatry and Professor of Psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Resnick also held the office of President of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.

Dr. Phil Resnick
Ironically, before the trial, Andrea would experience greater care for her condition than she had while not being incarcerated. Dealing with the competency issue, the court orders that she take psychiatric medication so to understand the charges that had been brought on to her. The stabilization of her mental state also allowed her to participate in her defense (Bowman, 2002). Dr. Melissa Ferguson with the Harris County jail along with Dr. Lucy Puryear, Houston’s local authority on postpartum depression were tasked with finding the right combination and dosages of medications to stabilize Andrea (Bowman, 2002). Andrea’s lawyer, George Parnham, would submit that Andrea was not guilty by reason of insanity. His strategy would be to present evidence that was intrinsically clear that Andrea suffered mental psychosis. Therefore, his client could only be capable of committing such atrocities because she believed that a satanic influence would harm her children if she did not act. This defense strategy was no surprise, In fact it was expected.
The challenge would be to prove that Andrea condition elevated her to the cognitive test held by Texas state law. Insanity based cases in Texas depended on whether the defendant, “… as a result of severe mental disease or defect, did not know that his (her) conduct was wrong.” This statement alone would be Andrea’s defeat in the first trial. Jury selection would begin on Monday, January 07, 2002. Attorneys would question and challenge a pool of 60 souls; this process was believed to take a month (Staff, 2002).
The first hurdle the prosecution had to overcome was in September 2001 when the jury had to decide if Andrea could stand trial for the killings. The jury deliberated for over eight hours over the course of two days. The deliberation yielded the decision that she could stand trial and that she was not psychologically incapacitated during the crimes. (Staff, 2002). During the first trial, Dr, Dietz was questioned about his role on the set of Law and Order. He explained that he was assisting on the set where the story line was about a woman who drowned her children. The episode was to be aired sometime before the murders. Because Andrea was an avid L&O fan, the prosecution would draw the conclusion that Andrea got this idea form TV. Later it would be discovered that the episode had not aired, therefore, that evidence should have been excluded (Bowman, 2002). The false testimony from an expert witness would later be grounds for a mistrial. Andrea had also made a statement that she knew what she was doing and that it was wrong, but that she committed the crime to protect her children from the devil. She believed that her action were ultimately the right thing to do (Denno, 2003). This statement would be the cause of eliminating the insanity plea. She had also made a statement to Dr. Michael Welner in regards to waiting for her husband to leave so her efforts would not be thwarted.
On the basis of false testimony from Dr. Dietz, the Texas Court of Appeals reversed the convictions on January 6, 2005. On January 9, 2006, Andrea entered a plea of not guilty for the reason of insanity. During jury selection, the defense would use the expertise of “Jury Quest” to help establish a more sympathetic jury. After 3 days of deliberation, the jury in the new trial would return a decision of being not guilty for the reason of mental defect.

(Quest, Ukn)

References
Bowman, S. (2002, May 1). State of Texas v. Andrea Yates. Retrieved Oct 19, 2012, from The National Psychologist: http://nationalpsychologist.com/2002/05/state-of-texas-v-andrea-yates/10608.html
Chron, S. (2002, Feb. 28). Yates timeline. Retrieved Oct. 17, 2012, from Chron: http://www.chron.com/news/article/Yates-timeline-1609652.php
Denno, D. W. (2003, Sept. 29). WHO IS ANDREA YATES? A SHORT STORY ABOUT INSANITY. Retrieved Oct 15, 2012, from WHO IS ANDREA YATES? A SHORT STORY ABOUT INSANITY: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1073&context=djglp
Hancock, L. (2001, Sept. 4). Medical records outline Andrea Yates' mental decline. Retrieved Oct 18, 2012, from The Dallas Morning News: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-77832660.html lindamarie. (2009, Dec 23). Andrea Yates. Retrieved Oct 17, 2012, from Victim's Heartland: http://victimsheartland.forumotion.com/t2257-andrea-yates
Quest, J. (Ukn). Jury Quest Defends Andrea Yates, Scientific Jury Selection. Retrieved Oct. 15, 2012, from Jury Quest: http://www.juryquest.com/index.php?option=com_content&taqsk=view&id=59&Itemid=85
Staff, C. (2002, Jan. 07). Family arrives for jury selection in Texas children's drowning deaths. Retrieved Oct. 19, 2012, from CNN Justice: http://articles.cnn.com/2002-01-07/justice/yates.jury.selection_1_district-judge-belinda-hill-capital-murder-andrea-yates?_s=PM:LAW…...

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Case Analysis

... Case Analysis Toyota Case Analysis   I. Viewpoint         For further analysis of this case, Ms. Rivera as a Marketing Manager is responsible to solve the dealing problem.   II. Time Context         In the year 1990’s different problem occurred.   Toyota reduced part defects by 84%. It also reduced the ratio of inventories to sales by 35% versus 6%. III. Objectives   a. To be able to implement the marketing strategy used in the said case.   b. To be able to have a good relation in dealing with consumers needs and wants.   c. To be able to maximize operating performance and financial returns to ensure growth for the company’s future.   d. To be able to classify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that the company have.   e. To be able to explain the solutions in the major problem of Toyota.   IV. Statement of the problem         Major:         Competition will arise. Toyota’s has a closest competitor regarding on its consumers – Ford motor vehicles and Mercedes. It is a problem on how they can implement their marketing strategy to stay on top amidst of the consumers demands.         Minor:   1. A reduction on ratio of inventories to sales by 35 percent versus 6 percent. 2. Toyota relied on identical suppliers as of Ford motor vehicles and Mercedes.   3. Easy access on the internet that may cause imitation on each competitor’s latest idea.     V. Areas of Consideration |                                 |Production & operation          ......

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