One day, Andrea Yates was a loving mother. The next, the nation was shocked by the death of her five innocent children...The 911 call that shocked the country. "I just killed my children." Why were they killed?On June 20, 2001, in a middle-class Houston suburb, Andrea Yates and her husband Russell, a NASA engineer, prepared for the routine week-day ahead. But before the morning was over, tragedy would strike the quiet family and turn the day into a nightmare. Shortly before 10 a.m., Andrea calmly summoned the police with a grim confession...One by one, Andrea Yates' children, ages 6 months to 7 years, had been drowned in their bathtub. No one who knew Andrea could picture the devoted mother capable of such an unbelievable crime or imagine the terror in the eyes of her trusting children. As their father struggled between overwhelming grief and loyalty to his imprisoned wife, an outraged nation struggled with an unfathomable question...Breaking Point provides a harrowing portrait of the suffocating darkness at the heart of one all-American family, and exposes the private demons that pushed a mother over the edge. BREAKING POINT-Suzy Spencer
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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You are now listening to true murder, the most shocking killers in true crime, history and the authors that have written about them: Gacy, Bundy, Dahmer, the night Stalker Dtk every week, another fascinating author talking about the most shocking and infamous killers in true crime, history, true murder, with your host journalist and author Dan Zupansky good evening. The next, the nation was shocked by the death of a five innocent children. Nine
One call that shocked the country I just killed my children. Why were they killed on June 20th, two thousand and one in the middle class, Houston, suburb creates gates and her husband Russell a NASA engineer prepared for the routine weekday ahead. But before the morning over. Tragedy would strike the quiet, family and turn the day into a nightmare shortly before ten thousand am Andrea, calmly, summon the police with a grim. Section one by one and three children: age ages, six months to seven years have been drowned in their bathtub.
No one who knew Andrea could picture the devoted mother capable of such an unbelievable crime or imagine the terror in the eyes of her trusting children as their father struggled between overwhelming grief and loyalty to his imprison, wife. An outrage nation struggled with an unfathomable question breaking point: provides a heroin portrait of the suffocating darkness at the heart of one all american family and exposes the private demons that pushed a mother over the edge. The book that we're featuring this evening is breaking point with my special guest GER Munson author, Susie Spencer, welcome back to the program, and thank you for a great this interview, Susie Spencer. Well, thank you for having me well. Thank you very much. This is an incredible tale. Now gone on to true crime. History and
Tell us a little bit about this newest edition and tell us when it was originally released. Tell us a little bit about those detail well. The book first came out just about a month or two before Andreas First trial, so I did not get to include my trial coverage, an I was there all, but one day of the first trial. So for the past thirteen one slash two years, I've been trying to get that coverage in an diversion books came to me and they, let me put that in and then also I went to Doctor Lucy per year. Who is was the expert psychiatric witness for the defense and said? Give me some. Something you and, to my great shock. Lucy said come to my house The files are yours. So she could let me into her garage apartment, and I sat there for a few hours going through all of her files- and I am the first reporter in fact may be the first person she's ever shown the files to
at the end, the the story, the I'm working on the case just really got to doctor per because she had a child who The same age is Andrea's, daughter, Mary, and she's like I don't know what to do with these files anymore. Take what you want and keep him So right now I have in my hallway a huge box of the defense files, and so I have woman that into the book, as well as my trial coverage, and congratulations on that as well, because for all those people that think they know the story in it. Even if you were lucky enough to have your book from back in two thousand and two was it. Yes, it came out the end of two thousand and one beginning in two thousand and two, if those people an anybody that thinks they really know this story with the access to the information that you have added to the original story. This is just an incredible,
fail that I think. As we spoke just before, we went on air. This is some incredible stuff. Where will talk about this a little bit later? Where fiction and television and criminal profilers and the FBI, and everybody gets involved in this, and this really does captivate and resonate. I mean, as an Underst, with the american society and still is an issue that people are grappling with and still screw in their head over, so this is a landmark case, the store case, and let's get to that right now, so tell us a little bit about Andrea, Pia Kennedy and I'm like the book. We I mentioned that we you you talk about the crime unfolding in the case on folding and very, very interesting, but let's, let's for talk a little bit about and reappear Kennedy and just a little bit about her background before we get into this incredible tale. Well, or her dad was uh
Catholic? Her mom was german: they met during the war World WAR two because her that believe was a pilot and he was very proud of his Irish Catholic Kennedy Name and she was brought up devout click and tell her father lost his job and then they have lost for a while, and they quit going to church in some ways they were still try to emulate the Kennedys and that they love to sail they love to be outdoors. They wanted to be the best at everything so Andrea was a championship swimmer and our high school. She was national honor society, and then she went to college and became a registered nurse and worked at Md Anderson with cancer patients. Now you talk about Andrea. Kennedy and she was, as you described in the book.
It was quite a striking looking woman, a good looking woman and he said she excelled in sports. You do talk about how no one really could comment her being. So yes, but it wasn't like she was totally withdrawn, so sort of sort of a neutral sort of assessment of her, but it was interesting how the two met, Russell and and her met so tell us how they They met well entry, yet never dated, like you say she was kinda reserves shy. She did have a close group of very you know or small group of very close friends, but she never dated she was a wall flower and, I think, took a little bit of of pride in that and then she did state. After she got out high skews me out of college. She did take one guy, but that went sour and
so she was still alone are an one day. She was in the swimming pool at her apartment, complex and she was to their just floating in the water. With her arms outstretched and Andrea was tall and shapely, you know had a great build for Oliver swimming and Misty Gates was who lived in the apartment, complex, spotted her and just thought she was gorgeous and couldn't take his eyes off of her, but they're both a little. On the shy side, so she left, but she did notice him Anna. Two weeks later. She one night was feeling kind of lonely had gone out to dinner by herself and went knocked on Rusty's door, and said: hey my car got hit. Do you by any chance know who hit it, and this was all a setup? Yes, her car had really gotten hit, but you so. She just went to rusty to try to open the conversation,
and when Rusty answered the door? He was on the phone to someone else and they his mouth just dropped going. Gaga guy, you know this gorgeous woman is so then he you know to tour a little bit and then went back to his friend on the phone and said I just met the most gorgeous woman and they started dating. The first dates were kind of awkward. You know dinner in a movie, but you know with an either one very much talking, but it was something that worked and he was a devout Christian, although he kind of gets kind of iffy about when he became a Christian, she became one also threw him, but yet they lived together and had sex
before they got married, which shocked everyone. Now we just we will be talking about this more. But you, when you talk about him, the end of all christian and for all those people that I was raised, Roman Catholic, but there is different degrees of I guess- devote nest. So what was a little bit of the what was the feature of her religious background in terms of promiscuity or the importance of say sexual chastity? What was there? indication that there was any kind of prudishness associated with the religiosity that she was involved with If I remember correctly, even her mother called her a prude didn't like to be touched. She he wants that she and Rusty got together. She would dress, Then undress in a closet, rusty, says That was the cause. She was so shy doctor per year told me that was the cause.
Andrea felt like every time she undressed in front of rusty. He wanted to have sex, and that was the way to stop him. But yes, she she was basically a prude- and she just wanted to be an was the good girl. Study hard work, hard help, other people a good nurse. Do Indeed, for the elderly confirm she was just the cliche, good girl. Now, let's talk about a given religion while we're still on it in in that she finds out about an evangelist named Michael we're in Neki. Yes, I'm if I mispronounce that you can correct me if you want, but
When is it exactly and if it, if it's a, if I'm jumping ahead, let me know as well: when does it that she discovers this evangelist Michael we're a Neki, and what is it that he is saying in terms of his his religious of the Well, we need to jump back to rusty for a little bit to get into that, because she met him through rusty and run. He was born in New York state and then when he was a little kid they moved to Tennessee and and one of his grandfathers. I can't remember if it is on his mother or father side. I think on his father side was a preacher and and when they moved to Tennessee, they eventually joined a Methodist church and wharves. Very, very active in it, and everyone
Considered rusty again developed devoted Christian, he was in the fellowship of christian athletes He was also a good boy. Smart funny but shy. He would like get really nervous when he had to talk to people but took great pride in his brain, but he was also a star athlete on the football team. And then his father died. When he was in high school, he seemed to cry down on himself more rusty did studying harder, so he could get a scholarship and when he off to college everyone rusty with this great Christian inside she was doubting Christianity and he was Auburn, university and one day we walking across campus, and he heard this preacher who was attracted him because he wouldn't take flak
offer people, he was sort of a smart Alec and he liked what he was saying and- started following him and called up his mother one night and said I finally did it. I finally believe, and so for years he He stayed in touch with Michael Warnecke, who was a traveling evangelist who went to college for college. College, preferably in the sunbelt. Excuse me, the Bible belt, even though he did so all over the world and basically what he did Let's get there with huge placards and tell everybody you're going to Hell like when he was at the university Oklahoma, he said I hate to you because that's where the worst Christians are and Christians are horrible, he didn't even want to be called a Christian, but the basically everybody in the world, but Michael Warren, Nikki and his family were going to hell and
some reason. Rather, this attracted rusty rusty says that Warren got more, outrageous over the years and that he sort of withdrew some but rusty introduced, Andrea to the Warren Ekiz. They stayed In touch they exchanged letters, rusty, woo send them money, Andrea, would bake goods for them and send the cookies and cakes, and it just does looked a relationship, whereas rusty really wanted to be like the warneckei's that you travel one a bus. They did. They had a converted bus that they lived in and you go. Traveling the world to bring people to Christ and use taught your she, you didn't really have any place to call home, you didn't have any material possessions. Your life was just getting on the bus going to colleges
pull up the banners saying you're going to hell and scream at everybody telling him that they're going to Hell and that their evil and horrible? Now this is in Congress to the job that he has in the intellective. He has for those people that think that there is a separation between this rational thought and some irrational thought when we get into what exactly this Michael, where Nikki preaches and some of the things that his wife and he advised Andrea. So, let's talk about his Nassau job and his relationships there and that sort of dichotomy with his intellect and this fervent religiosity well you're exactly right, because he was on scholarship. He was basically he considered himself. I math genius, when
was in college, he did a summer internship or actually, I don't know, if is it summer, a yearlong, but an internship at NASA in Clear Lake or Houston area where he worked on. I think the Super shuttle and when he got out of college, he went to work for NASA. And when the murders happened? He was an eighty thousand dollars a year at NASA engineer. And when you're talking to Rusty, which I spent many hours talking to him, Hilo loves to show off his intellect and he he is very bright and he talks so over my head when it comes to computers and space stuff- and I'm just you know, he's he's very, very bright Ann. It is kind of confusing, but
NASA engineers or that I learned from the people who live in that area are very, very focused and that's what I learned about rusty He has tunnel vision, and when he sees something that he wants he's going, zero in on that and nothing else, matters? He doesn't really hear anything else. So this is just my supposition, I'm coming to as I'm talking to you that he is just so phone that it wouldn't really matter what the war lucky or what anyone said about the war in case, but in NM rusty, didn't have a lot of friends and other things. I noticed when I was around rusty but when you're with him, he is so pervasive. Persuasive that he'll say. Things. Then you just go yeah yeah. That makes sense.
And then you walk away in youth, can think about it by yourself and go sure you never had the chance to walk away and right he didn't have anyone to tell tell him. You know that this guy is Scores 'cause. He wasn't going to reveal this to anyone else so that when I say bunkers that Michael Warneckei is bonkers, you know less he's not going to hear that an I've met. One other person who was a warneckei follower and a very bright kind guy, and it took him twelve years to wake up or Nikki was doing so it's not something that has to do with intellect now. Let's talk about the most important ash aspects of this story and issues in this story again
the religion and their religiosity or their their faith will say because they weren't always connected with a specific religion per se. Let's talk about what their idea was what Andreas idea was in. What Rusty Russell Russell's idea was in terms of marriage in the care of children, and a woman staying home of those issues as critical issues. What were Andreas views and what were Russell's views Guarding that well and again, this was greatly influenced by Michael Warnecke, and that is that the wife is a Jezebel. She is a seductress, evil she's horrible, but yet she is suppose to stay home do everything
My husband says: take care of the children not work outside of the home. Just do everything the husband says, but that answer your question sure so they she did want to have children and they got to that shortly after their marriage in short order and and then within a year that she was pregnant again. So tell us about this marriage and the relationship and the child rearing in that first cup years. Yes, it was Andrea, worked as a nurse until she had her first child, then It was known that she would immediately quit work and as far as having children, they did not use birth control. Their deal was that they going to have as many children as God allowed. And it didn't matter, if Andrea got six and the doctor said,
don't have any more children because surely you'll have another about postpartum depression and psychosis. Rusty ICS find it to me one night just before the trial that we thought of Partem, depression and psychosis is like somebody He offered us a Mercedes Benz which would be the child and to get this free, Mercedes, Benz, because we're going to give it to you for free your going to have the flu for a couple of weeks- and he said so of course, should take that chance that ok, I can get this Mercedes, Benz, but I'm going to have the flu for two weeks, but I'll get over it, so he considered it that God, given him this free try child but Andrea is going. Need to get sick, perhaps with postpartum depression and psychosis. But it's no problem we will just go. Her, the meds that got her well before and everything will be ok, he did not pay.
Attention because again rusty has tunnel vision. He goes after what he wants and doesn't let anything else and I'm not saying he's a bad guy. I'm just saying he has tunnel vision, and so when the doctor, who treated her for postpartum, depression and psychosis said, do not. Have any more kids because she will surely you can have this again and each time she has it he he will. It will get worse. They ignored that they chose to ignore that now. There's other things involved here, because it's complicated because rusty that at some point, says that and does enough research, because I I find this odd that he has again this evangelical interested
police and yet then again he's he's again the sort of a dichotomy where he's going on online and finding and researching, held all and the newer, anti psychotic medication and and dosage, actually a sparring with the psychiatrist. At one point saying you know you should give her this much and you can increase in terms a milligram that dosage, because of this tell us a little bit about how much again try to get me to understand how much faith he has in the vacation to be able to work perfectly despite not having it worked perfectly, the very first time she Expn prints the drug well that now again we sort of need to back up because Rusty Aqu, bring to him he's sort of distanced himself from the war Nikis because he he bought their bus. There are six hundred and fifty square foot plus Siba
it was an and then he got upset with the bus, and then I think he kind of distance him from the Warren that at that point, because he didn't think the bus was what they had presented it to be but and we've stayed in touch with them. So rusty is sort of leaving you gain their fold according to him, and at this point when Andrew, sick at the beginning, like with the first bout of it. Rusty did not believe in mental illness. He told his neighbors this, I don't believe in mental illness, it's just a matter of buck up, but after Andrea's first diagnosed case of postpartum depression and psychosis rusty kind of learned, and he learned about the medicines, then, on this last about the psychiatrist 'cause. They went to his different psychiatrist because the
Andrea had originally gone to was in Houston, and that was on the wrong side of town from what rusty needed. Plus he had a big project at NASA and going to the other. Side of town. Finding babysitters just didn't work with his schedule, so he found another facility and psychiatrist in the area where they were and he someone is the psychiatrist. Any good, then somebody said. Oh yes, there are all good or whatever an rusty said it. Point I didn't realize there was a difference in doctors and so when they went to this new hospital and with a new doctor rusty kept- They put her on how dull that worked before and instead they were saying. No, that has bad side effects. We need this other drugs, these newer drugs that they weren't working. So that's when Rusty went started. Bagging saying put her
house all that, for at the same time, Andrea is corresponding with Rachel were at Neki, which is Michael's wife. Now, how much does she subscribe to the same and philosophy as her husband and as a result. What does she specifically say to Andrea when Andrea says some like I'm feeling lonely and I wish I could pull that up on my book right because I was given or I should say I was slipped some letters Rachel Warneckei wrote to Andrew and they were just horrendous telling her how evil she was that she was an evil witch and that she was going to hell and that she hoped that she could be saved an one Other things I learned while working on this book is when somebody he is psychotic. The
thing you do is talk to them about religion, because their psychotic brains can't put it into rational terms. They twisted all up. So all this constant curing, while Andreas psychotic that you're evil you're possessed your you know, wicked witch you're destroying your children Andrea's twisted mind made that her start, leaving that so that she started believing that she was possessed or full of Satan, if not Satan herself, and that she was destroying her children. And so that's when she event. So he drowned the children because she thought only way she could save them. The only way to get them away from Satan who was herself was
kill them, so they said they could die and beast go to Heaven and be safe with Jesus. Well, let's go backwards a little bit to set up this incredible thing, because I think that there's a lot happens before this and obviously in high right everybody's can see warning signs, which is five children again. This medication has been altered. Some as she is gone to the doctor for her husband is bleeding. So what is the situation that everyone can see and what we didn't talk, so too, is that part of her. Her anxiety is that she is let the children down and
and she's critical of her own abilities as a home school teacher. So so that's part of her duties as well, not only to raise and breast feed and cook the meals and take care of the kids, it's also to home school them. Entertain him and five kids at one time so tell us about the situation in terms of her doctor, her psychiatrist, Doctor Saeed what he thinks is going on will say just a week before two weeks before Anne. How Russell feels about this? An what about the family members, her family, his family? What is the.
What is the situation there perspective on Andreas Mental Health at that time? Previous to these murders yeah, I I'm I'm just looking here in the book where I'm talking about Rachel, Warnecke, he'd directing Andrea to tie this to and where she talks about the the role of women to love their husbands. Their children be purer be sensible, the workers at home kind and subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God would not be dishonored. So I believe that's what you were talking about and she also wrote Jesus knows how wicked you are, how weak and vulnerable, but God is able to sympathize with your. We even the loneliness works to draw you to seek and find security in him. And she, when she was in her last hospital stay, she would sort of mentioned to people the few times that she spoke about.
Thing about a bus and evil and and Satan and the nurses there were totally confused. But one of the bottom lines in this is the insurance that the insurance was running out, and so the doctor at Lee Based on the notes that I saw- and I went through, I think, a thousand pages of notes many times page by page, comparing it would be showing symptoms of psychosis and someone that supposed to be psychosis free for number of hours or days. Unfortunately, I've forgotten before they're released well It didn't matter. If Andrea's insurance was running out Only she was marked psychosis free, a then the notes that I saw about psychosis and
Product behavior and hints of it and what doctor sigh testified to we're two different things, and he says she was never psycho. Like. Well. If she was it, then how come they had her on how they all, but two weeks before the the murders Doctor Saeed hook and reel off the house all- and it takes approximately two weeks to get out of your system. So I think it was actually two weeks and two days that the murder it happened just a few days before the murder happened. They had, I believe, a fee. Mother's day celebration with Andrew family there and Andrea's mother talked to Rusty and said. Please do not leave her alone promise me. You will not leave her alone with the kids according the mother rusty promise that
known to her was that Rusty was, only already leaving and re alone. He would describe it as we were trying to wean her off of his mom. There who was staying with her. So that was what open the window of opportunity. If you want to say there there was one that Rusty's mother would would not show up until one thousand o'clock in the morning when rusty to work at nine and she would leave about five hundred o'clock when rusty, would not get home until five hundred and thirty or six. Before. Let's talk about one thing, what was it from Doctor Saeed her her tending psychiatrist? What was his rationale at that time? for taking her off the held. God only knows
and I mean that sincerely because I talked with a nurse who used to work at the same force. And she left and other and left because of the lack of, communication with Doctor Saeed they told me that he would walk by by and wave at a patient and say that he had checked in with them. So My theory is that hey she's she's out here she's off the insurance. You know, let's take her off and we're talking about just to be clear for the audience we're talking ten days ten days, the person was expected to be well in ten days when probably even even the most optimistic
doctor would not even suggest that the medication would even kick in by that amount of time. Well, not at at that point. He is that point he was saying everything is working. You know, let's take our offer this because she was also out of the hospital. So she still on medication when she was in the hospital, but then she was released. You know everything I was told by someone. I think it was one of the nurses I talked to that I had this theory about there, patients who will never get well. We rephrase that that there are doctors psychiatrist who think that patients will never be well. So you just, keep them coming back coming back coming back, which eventually creates more money and. Gather and
not saying this is fact because Doctor Saeed would not talk to Maine, but that he felt like she was one of these So you just a chip on my van again, I'm not saying Dykstra Syed practices I don't want to get sued, but there is, a correlation in my mind.
Kay Suzie we're just going to stop for a second just to pause for a moment to hear about Directv right now. They have a super offer, one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine a month for twelve months with a twenty four month. Agreement, Directv is truly a superior alternative to cable, with access to over two hundred and eighty five channels and direct tv's, most advanced hd dvr system ever and right now, three months, free of HBO, Showtime, Starz and Cinemax, with the select through ultimate packages watch anytime, your favorite true crime, like investigation discovery, the first forty eight hours on the case with Paula, Zahn crime and investigation and my all time, favorite american justice. That's in addition to all the latest television programs, the biggest movies and the very best in sports programming, offering amazing, bundles and amazing savings, so call one eight hundred and fifty five nine hundred and eighty three thousand eight hundred and twelve,
and switch to Directv today, one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine a month for twelve months with three free months of your favorite channels, that's Directv, eighteen billion five hundred and fifty nine million eight hundred and three thousand eight hundred and twelve Susie. Let's talk about the day in question. What happened previous to that? If there was any major events, anything that which in hindsight look like eh foreboding, a warning tell us about the day or so that they, before the events, welcome Rick. If it's ok with you, I will, like to go back to what you were talking about about doctor, Saeed and taking her off the medication and if I can just read uh, three paragraphs from the book that I think really answers your question and that's
it was on the last night of Andrea second stay at the Devroe Texas treatment Network, which was with best hospitals where she was, and he said that he or Rusty said he arrived at six hundred o'clock and he was stunned, find Andrea standing with are packed brat bags. He asked the staff what was going on. They said Andrea was being released according to rusty. The nurse is lowered, their heads as if in shame and embarrassment, and turned to walk away without saying a word knowing Andrea was too sick to be released. They couldn't anything else rusty, understood because the ten, say insurance stay had run out, so we took his wife home and so then rusty thought. She was like six thousand and sixty five men of herself, which I always found interesting, that he described it that way and percentage, and then said on Monday June 18th. He took Andrea back
Doctor Saeed and told him that she wasn't doing well according to Rusty- and I want to Emphasize- that's. According to Rusty, the doctor wrote his notes She was doing well rusty pro tested and ask the doctor. If her any depressant could be changed and Doctor Sigh according to Rusty, again said: well, since it's not working anyway and reduced heard antidepressant and then that's where he was quoting the dosages and everything that you were talking about, and he said that the doctor was reducing it too much and the doctor. It's okay. He knew what he was doing and that night Rusty to the pharmacy. Got the new prescriptions filled, came home and gave them to Andrea and then The quote in the book that he gave me. He came home and this was on a Monday gave them the entry a and we the morning the kids were dead yeah
So I am guessing what you were talking about. Were you talking about filling the bathtub with water Yeah you were saying about that. Ok, I have told them both that it and when it actually happens seems to vary depending on who you are talking too, but it seems that about a month or so before this Andrea filled the bathtub with water and, like the middle of the day and Rusty's mother, came in and saw this and said, what's going on. And Andrea said. I thought we I need it, one of her story because Andrea is psychotic and her change over time as one of the psychiatrist talked about as she gets. What better healthier mentally healthier, her mine, just trying to make sense of what happened. So she starts pudding
rational fall. And reasoning behind irrational, you know irrational thoughts and actions, so that makes the story kind of change over time and she's trying to rationalize things so one point: her story was that she saw a water truck or better tower and she was scared that they weren't going to be able to pay their bill or that there was going not going to enough water, and so she was poo the water in the bathtub tub you have water in case the water got caught off other times she was saying that she was going to do that to drown the children. So it's hard to know what was real when you're talking to a psychotic person or one coming out of psychosis and trying to make sense of the actions in the past
That makes sense are yes, it does for the record for all for the official record, we She abusive at all. Was there any mistreatment of those children by Andrea, Yates, not that I'm aware of by Andrea, absolutely not. I could not find one person who ever knew Andrea who was ever and neighbor of hers who ever spent time I'm with her with children who ever even just observed her walking into a store and a hair salon down the street. Then the grocery store. I could not find one person who said one bad. Saying about Andrea Rusty- would send me videos of Andrea and Bitch Let me rephrase that Rusty would send me videos that Andrea. Had taken of the kids, because it's
Seem to be- and I would stay up all hours and I get up in the middle of night. Go watch these videos and seems to me that the camera and the and the kid kids for her. Only friends and she would sit there and video an take the kids and talk to him and encourage them and on those videos 'cause, you never see Andrea since she is running the camera, but she was always so to encourage ing so proud of those kids con recently teaching them in teaching them in a kind and tender way, never heard her raise a voice, nothing and so when the trial came, the first trial came the judge. Which allowed in those videos, but she would not allow in the sound only the visual so you saw these beautiful.
Children laughing and having fun and playing in your if you're in the jury or in the courtroom, you're going. Oh my gosh, these fabulous kids, but because she would not allow Video, I mean the sound the people in the core Roomba jurors could not here, and We are being such a great mother, encourage ing the kids teach. Now, I'm loving them praising them all. They saw where the kids and then the visualization of this evil mother who Coul could she killed these beautiful children, which of course, we still all asked that the answer is psychosis mental illness that went untreated or improperly treated. Let's talk about the day of the murder. You would spoke about Russell's, mother DORA
coming into the home, because they were aware that she shouldn't be alone with the children he just as you had mentioned. He had promised to not leave her alone with the children, so there was certainly a major concern. A serious concern so tell us what happens that day. Well, they get up there having some sort of I'm sure that Andreas barely speak seem to anyone. She's been mute, mute for God knows how long her best friend said. She just spoke a very few or to her over months. She would basically look- zombie, maybe pace. Wouldn't. Let go of Baby Mary, she was just. Psychotic, you know practically kanakuk, but Rusty left her
and there were cereal bowls on the table, and he likes to talk about how the kids love to get their own breakfast? They wanted to do anything to help their mom and She went in between nine hundred and one thousand am cause rusty, left the house about five or ten minutes to nine 'cause. He needed to be at work at nine, and she filled the bathtub put Mary in her so in the bathroom with her on the base net and I stood in ' bathroom and stared down at the bathtub to It's a tiny little place, and I would think when she berries in the bassinet next to the tub, there's not much room, but she first got two year old Luke and drowned him and picked him up and carried him into the master bedroom.
Where they had a mattress on the floor so that the kids could play in there and the man and then got Paul the three year old, and around him and went and did the same thing and five year old John went uh I in the bed. Then she drowned Mary and Then she went and got Noah. And that walked in. I believe it was Noah they yeah, I'm pretty. Was Noah he looked and said: what's wrong with Mary, he fought the hardest. There were wet footprints up and down the tile floor. And she left Noah in the bathtub and picked up Mary and went and took her, And put her in the bed with John and wrecked their,
hands around each other. If John were protecting her. And then she went and called the police and said help come here. I've killed my children, so she called her husband Yes, she did and she called him and said come and he goes is their problem and he said, he said. Yes- and he said, is that the children she said yes, and he said which one or how many and she said all of them, and he wants. He Called his mother and said you know: where are you I thought you were there or something and they both raced over to the house. Why wasn't the mother there she just Didn'T- show up till one thousand o'clock right and one of the things I thought was really weird is when rusty was giving one of his sidewalk Prescott
He said I was hoping at least know was alive because, sometime times. My mother took one of the children home with her while she was if stay at extended Stay America hotel. You know that I was hoping that what was with her- because sometimes she takes one of them home at night with her to stay. You know to give a break, and I thought how weird but he didn't know where when was and uh. How to make clear, I am not a rusty hater, because I tell pull all the time there are people who hate rusty and think he should be burning and there are other people who think rusty can do no wrong that they love him. He would not believe the girls who were going after him thinking marriage material. After all, this happened- and I always say,
Rusty's down the middle he's, not horrible, he's not perfect if you're stuck on the side of the road, with a flat tire he's going to stop and help you out he's a good guy like that, but one I have discovered in fact out. Even though this in my own life, when you're faced with a loved one who has mental illness, you don't know what to do. So one time when Andrea called him at work on this was her first psychotic break and she says help he came home and she was chewing her finger. She was shaking. He did not know what to do. He knew the beach. You know, calmed her down. The water calmed her down, so we called all the kids into the car and with her and to Galveston and walked along the seawall, hoping that would calm her down a lot of people say: that's insensitive what a jerk rusty she was mentally ill, but he didn't
how about mental illness. He he was confused. He was scared, he didn't know what to do but again, you know when she's sick the second time and he's like saying? Oh man, I can't take her back over to Houston because I've got this project to. Is that him being a jerk? Is that him being a typical NASA engineer from what I told by the people who live and work around NASA and know the people there. That's a typical but got the the employees were. One hundred hour weeks and they are focused totally on their job and, as I said, Rusty has tunnel vision. He doesn't see or com pre. Anything that is out of his goal. Does that make him evil? Maybe in sensitive, but I don't know if it makes him evil. It's I don't, I don't see any evil. I just see how it's a bizarre
situation he finds himself in, but his response again. I don't think there can be a normal response to any of this, especially now we've spoken about her calling nine hundred and eleven the police. Come you introduced. That's how you open your book very masterfully. You have a reporter. Of course. No one is used to something of this magnitude, regardless of their experience, so she calls nine hundred and eleven what did police find again. We've talked about the murders, but what did the police find in terms of Andrea herself? What is Andreas state when the police come because this is very important later you talk about and this is a bizarre story in american History- with how Information is leaked to the media
the police, very bizarre yeah. Let's talk about what what was Andreas state after calling nine one one and the police arriving at the the home, and course what they discover. But what's your state well she's pretty much silent but cooperative, trying to be helpful. She soaking wet. She looks kind of bizarre you spaced out, but when the police need something like there's the key or a cup or something she points to where it is, she is cooperative, but she admits to everything but I found it interesting that when the police handcuffs- and Walker out to the police car to take her away people who knew Andrea and see.
That video on the nightly news didn't ask recognizer. They just looked at her an wet, who is that sick woman yeah? So she she, as I think the defense pointed out. She can answer. Yes, no questions, but she cannot tell you why or you know, why did you kill the kids? I'm a bad mother, you know, that's that's why you Okay, I mean it just nothing makes sense, but, as you mention, the police tape recorded the interview only after they had interviewed her a long time to get down a decent narrative, where ok, I know I can ask this question and she will answer that, so it creates a narative whether it's a truthful
narative. I don't know it's just like how you can edit a book. You can take the facts and you can buy the way you edit. It can change the story up, sure, and so you know they're getting the narrative they want, but they did not video tape are so that you can see see what she is really like, that basically person, that's catatonic, that your joy, moving around from place to place, leading her the wall and who is seeing cinder block cartoons and messages in the cinder block walls, free video, I saw of Andrea that was from Julie. This happy June 20th, as you mentioned, but starting in Giuly onward. Every time she was interviewed, her glasses or cock eyed, her close following off. You know She has on a broad, it's like the the
straps, are falling off and she's just she's not there. But what I was going to say is that everything is front of a cinder block wall, so when I was during the trial. I was in a room with cinder block walls, and I remember going to bed at night staring at him going. What is Andrea C, What is you know? I would just sort of try to figure out what the car, tunes what the messages were that she was seen in those cinder block walls, because she would see him and how does disturbing that must have and how frightening
a scary. Now you talk about the combination of the the Wernicke's evangelists, her mental illness, Pope postpartum depression and as they talk about at the child, postpartum psychosis. We talk about labels, but soon as she is in custody. She talks about Satan and the nature of these crimes in her belief and Satan, and six thousand six hundred six sixty tell us a little bit about. And what it manifest itself in terms of her beliefs about Satan and Satan's role in these crimes and her life. Well is that may have mentioned earlier that Doctor Lucy Puryear said that Andrea Yates would have been mentally ill, no matter wat, but she never would have killed her children, if not for the influence of Michael Warnecke, but
as I mentioned earlier, that when a person is psychotic, they can't rationalize make sense of you know things from the old testament and new testament or anything any kind of religion. It doesn't matter if it's christianity or something else at all, gets twisted up in her brain. So she thought She had like. I think, six, six six carved in her head. She was constantly picking at her head trying to get rid of stuff. She was I messages telling her. You know you're, an evil mother, you let your children eat too much sugar too much. So can be. It was just silly thing things that, if you're, a rational, human being and she's thinking this is these are messages coming from the tv that they'll be watching. You know a tv show and all of a sudden these cartoons flip out and give a direct message to her and her kids and then flashback to the story.
She would get evil messages, from the BO brother, how art? What what's the name of the movie, the the Bartow and everything was just sending her these bizarre messages telling her how evil and crazy and a horrible she was, and she believed and then slowly is there trying to medicate her, because when she was first arrested, an they just basic three were in a cell without anything, no clothes, no nothing so that she wouldn't harm ourselves yeah and it sound like you're about to ask a question. So that's why I
sorry and while at the same time and again didn't you Juxtapoz this in the book to to to create the incredible dynamic. That's going on in at that time, in this area of it and also nationally as well, but with the very first inklings of what's going on in terms of- and I had already mentioned, that the police are already maneuvering manipulating already siding with someone already in terms of leaking this information. They know that will be detrimental. To Andrea Yates, so this is already overwhelming for a lot of people emotionally. So tell us about. First, what Russell Yates has to say about his the murder of his children and the rest of his wife and then basically the story that the media is has chose to put on the headlines and how does the pie
react? Well, it's it's! It's interesting because to me when I would interview people in the clear lake area I I couldn't find anyone to count condemn Andrea, but if I would go in Houston area where the police leaking things constantly because see that the the murders happened on Wednesday. I believe the visitation for the children with the following Tuesday and I believe it was at the visitation that Rusty was served. Gag order, and no one involved with the case no witnesses. No, nothing could talk to the press and
as he was talking to the press a little bit. You know before then you know his sidewalk interviews, but despite the gag order, somebody, presumably the police were constantly leaking little details to the press and uh you mention they were things that made Andrea look horrible. An the defense could not respond. The judge did eventually lift the gag order. So that the defense could say that they were starting a fun to help. You know get donations for the defense, but that was it. They couldn't respond to any questions. What was interesting was that,
Even the district attorney Chuck Rosenthal was breaking the gag order because he spoke to sixty minutes. Rusty spoke to sixty minutes and people say so rusty, you know, don't don't do that. He said I'm not going to get in trouble because the DA taught to him right and and I know that when I would like be in the elevator with him going up to you know, save the competency hearing or something and rusty would want to talk, but I would say, rusty, don't do this. I don't want to get you in trouble, but the other thing was. I didn't want to get myself in trouble, because if you did disobeyed any rule rules, the judge, would throw you out. Like say if you were in the courtroom and if you got sick and had to get out and run to the bathroom, you were not allowed back in and the
'cause. I quoted rusty because he did sit down and talk to me when the Actual trial came the judge yanked my press credentials well and so I then had to go to the trial like get to the courthouse several hours before the trial everyday. To then get a guest pass to get in and then so that, instead of being up with at the front where the press was you know, was sitting, I had to be on the very back row. And so it was a rather in my opinion, vindictive judge who let things that she wanted, but not other things for the first time in my life you had to go or money say. Am I journalist career to get any
well. If you had to go through the judge to get the files public records, you had to go through the judge and then at the trial was over? The first trial was over then that was announced that the judges gag order was an illegal gag order. Interesting. You were very close to Russell Yates in terms of spending enough time with him to see him unguarded we'll say guarded and right from the very beginning I had asked, but you I want you to answer this is in terms of again it's not everybody with it's not a foregone conclusion. What his response this would be the response to the five murders, the murders of his children. What does he say about his wife? What is the
do what his response. I love her. This was not Andrea. This was the illness um he stood I her for a long time and I get kind of upset when people say that Rusty was now. Emotional, again that sort of the NASA way. But it was fair that I ever talked to Rusty, that he didn't get sort of misty eyed and you're right when rusty wasn't supposed. Be talking to the press, I a friend to start a woman I met and and Clear Lake invited me to go to church, which was the church where rusty. What you know going, because rusty in Andrea didn't have a church until this happened and then
it came got. He got involved with Clear Lake Church of Christ and So I got to know the pastor a little bit Ann. I would go to church there a few times. Ann is horrible. It was yes. I was going to try to see rusty. I'm going to talk to him, I was just going to observe which some people would consider kosher and others wouldn't but then I would be invited to sit down with rusty at the potluck dinners after church and rusty knew, who I was you know, I won hiding that and so I would just observe him talking to peep or maybe telling a few stories and then at the competency hearing. I would talk to him a little bit but again and trying to make sure that we don't cross any lines, just saying hey and one of the sort of good news, bad news thing
well, obviously, it's horrible bad news is why then all of this was going on the day before or the day the competency hearing was supposed to start with nine. Eleven and. All the media who had been all over rusty. Media, tly, left and went to New York and that Rusty didn't have anyone to talk to 'cause. He We have a lot of friends the meat yeah with the people he confessed to that? He taught to so with that run He would call me up on Saturday nights and say: hey, I know you're a nerd too. I figured you would be doing anything. Thank you rusty, and so he and I would talk and- I went down to his house one night 'cause I live in Austin and you know course Season Houston. I drove over. There met him at the house. We
could trade for awhile, and then we went out for pizza and talked for several hours and then went back to his house and talked and talked Again, for a long time fact, until about one hundred o'clock in the morning my mother got soul sorry that I hadn't checked in with her that she called the hotel making trust safe, I think she thought Rusty was going to do something to me. I don't know, but he's not that kind of guy and I'm sorry. I had to throw some levity under this or I'll start crying an so yeah. I spent many hours with him and then like many hours on the phone on saturdays, there Saturday nights he was at an anti death penalty rally here in Austin. I will met from there and spent time with him just before the trial, calls. I went with a bunch of other reporters or actually, I think it was tv news people at dinner with him and would talk to him during
trial. I also got to know Andrea's favorite brother and her mother, All of this, and two, I think, are just a wonderful family, and so how does rusty deal with this? so I believe you were saying, and what what disease at? What I think what I was going to say is. He would always say publicly. I support her. You know this is not Andrea. Who did this? This is a sick woman, but yet we would go and try to fix up the house and clean it up in anticipation of Andrea coming home. But then he would also privately express oh no, how does this work if we ever had kids again Can believe it even think about that, but can I trust her with the kids so the this argument constantly going on in his brain about
wanting my wife back, because I know that the person she really is is not the woman who killed the kids, but oh my gosh. She killed my kids Is she ever going to do some sing to me as well as future so he was really torn, is that not every country is they would find this reaction to this crime completely different. We had a case in Winnipeg Canada, approximately two years so, where, ironically or quite similar, the woman was a fugitive, but they had found the children drowned in the bathtub and in Canada, because of course, we believe that we've evolved from the american system. Honestly, I'm
being sarcastic. But it's it's a different mentality in that people assumed. The media, a specially assumed in the people, follow that, of course, she must be suffering from post partum depression. That's why she did that there was no call for the you know. The fugitive to be hunted down the murderous of her children- it was a lead opposite of what we see now that it happened that long ago, we're not talking about ancient history here with Andrea Yates, so tell us about the prosecution and what he was trying to do. We already alluded to the death penalty, but try to capture the for what you do in the book that that the fervor be find the prosecution of Andrea, Yates, oh God is, is as you had brought up earlier about the reaction of people in Houston. Like you say it, one just Houston was the entire nation, because I believed I quoted in the book from sources on postpartum.
Since I psychosis out of Canada and a totally different attitude. England, I think, has a totally different attitude, even while the was going on. There was a case going on in California, where they, you know, were under standing. This is a mental illness. We need to get her healthy and that the sometimes hates that people would it I remember doing radio shows where people would say. This could never happen in my family and I'm going mental illness happens everywhere. You know no, it could never happen in my family. She should burn- and I still see this like on true crime website- how evil and horrible, in the anger in the rage, particularly about the prosecutor, Kaylynn Williford. It would just, down me, and so one day I saw Ok, learn at a restaurant or something- and I said, hey Lynn or you really believing everything your saying- and she said: oh yes and more, an eye
get amazed at the rage. I'm not a mother. She is so May, Maybe that's the difference, but I look at this is let's Learn from this, so that we can prevent it from happening again and the prophet Is attitude, is the only way you're going to learn is to punish them, but it's not is mentally ill. Do they really think punishments going to matter? Andrea Yates, wanted to be punished. She wanted to plead guilty so that they would put her to death. Does that even make sense, but the rage was there, but. Joe Show Andi. Who was the other prosecutor? I think he changed over time, He learned from this because he would go to a convention, since
after. This is co, talk about postpartum, depression and psychosis, and he would do it with sensitivity. From the learning point of view and he is no longer with the prosecutors office. So you're right the prosecution went, we don't want them to talk about mental illness. We want them to see the clothing the children were wearing the photos of the you know. The autopsy photos were going to make her look as evil as horrible as possible and they succeeded Please take succeeded once with the help of false testimony. You know we're all familiar with the the phrase of vigorous defense, but this seems like a vigorous prosecution in that this case hinges.
Greatly on the testimony of an expert witness. Now we're going to introduce park Dietz and people will recognize that name he's a criminal profiler from the Quan Tico Bunch after Robert K, Ressler and John Douglas. So he's from one of those criminal profiler pioneers and also that he is a consultant for the famous show that I spoke about in direct he is net law and order, and so tell us about first, the initiative and the desire to have park Dietz as an expert psychiatrist. Doctor
would testify at the trial and also we want to mention- and we spoke to this before about some people- have a criticism of these kinds of people, especially when his price tag is five hundred dollars an hour and we're talking about fifty thousand dollars for his paycheck. So talk about explain why they chose park Dietz what they thought they were going to or what they felt. They were going to prove with his testimony, tell us a little bit about park. Dietz and his testimony. Mister celebrity walk. Then this ten and his fancy clothes and ties and sits down. And the witness chair, locket said a lounge chair at a Miami Beach. You know swimming pool like bring me my umbrella drink and you all are all my subjects and maybe I'll tip you and maybe not. I and that's, probably- may be over reactive. As you can tell, I was unimpressed with the man because
he is so impressed with himself and also when he, but he is a great expert witness and that he gets every testimony in at least three times he would say it. He would put it up on a you know the video or overhead projector the power point. You know he would and then he would sum it up or whatever, and he got it in every time three times and the defense was only allowed there stuff in once and the He would edit the video that heat, because Interviewed Andrea quite a bit and then edit it into video clips and he would leave out pertinent parts so that made her well, it didn't tell the true story.
And this defense would come in and would try to fill in the parts of the story that he left out. But again, when you're hearing at once compared to the three times. It's it's just totally biased and by the way the the judge on the case is now with the DA's office, which probably where she belonged, but obviously you can tell I'm not fond of the judge. She. My press credentials unbiased, but at one point Rusty was asked. If Andrea, like the tv, show, law and order- and he looked confused and said yes and he said we watched it together and the park dates. As you said, he was a consultant for law and order. I said that there was an the of a woman as tv
so of a woman who drowned her kids. And got away got off on an insanity plea and then in the closing arguments. The prosecution said that Andrea Use- this is a blueprint for murder. Now, my friend Suzanne O'Malley, guess I'm giving a plug for her book her mind. But I really want you to read my faq she and is my book as a Mention came out before the trial Suzanne, one after and Suzanne and I were at dinner after this testimony and Suzanne to write for law and order, and she on the phone, while we were having mexican food with the producer of law and order and said, was there ever an episode like this, and he said absolutely not.
Says Suzanne then went to the defense and said this is false testimony. This never happened. She took them up with the prosecutor, I mean with the the lawn or order producer. They took this to the court to the judge, and all she did was stipulate that you know. There had been no such episode and so course the defense act. From a mistrial. She would not allow it. She told me one word if I remember correctly, and one phrasing told the the jury to or that you know testimony, but then in the next sentence, like consider all the testimony so then they came back with a guilty verdict.
And then later on years later, it ended up that the the conviction was overturned because of the false testimony that part deeds today Now, let's explain a little bit more, why that is: let's I'll I'll go back to sort of my interpretation of this in terms of park? Dietz was on there to do the almost the on on speaker ball as as a psychiatrist claim that, of course, was psychotic or at some point, but, however, she sang in order episode, which again, he did more than alludes and intimates that that was a can, driving cycle, pathic planning kind of person that would take that program. Going to be influenced to kill her own children and he kept they kept getting him to answer questions,
in his cross examination or his direct examination to to speak to the wrongfulness of her actions. Despite her mental illness, so was very in and you captured in the book. How really have to straddle a sort of a ridiculous line and from that trial. That was not done well at all. Their was grounds for appeal and, of course, the defense. I learned from that first trial and learned some very valuable lessons which assisted them great in the second trial Disney. Oh, yes, and, like you were saying part dates when those are you know, test, find one day he's like yeah he was not mentally ill. She was blah blah blah, you know, and she was not psychotic, everything and then the next day he's like well will yeah and he sort of hinted that, yes, she was, you know we're suffering, psychosis,
but that was a few minutes later. You know one when she was actually drowning, the kids it was a few minutes later and like there would be things where had say if, if she you truly were you know, we're trying to save the children, she would have been praying for them, and so, then he cuts out the the video where she says what were you doing and she said praying for them, but he cuts that out soon, because her answers would change from time to time, because one a mentally ill person suffering psychosis, and the videos were taken at different dates. There were videos made by one psychiatrist in Giuly, others made in November by then, her psychosis is declaw, meaning. You know, they're getting it under more control. So her answers are going to change. So it didn't ever make sense that he was trying to apply November answers to
actions back in in June and you're right right, the the prosecuting the defense learn from this one, they said that park. Dietz was never the same when they came back to trial, the other expert, goodness they brought in was a little too slick and the city had learn from that plus all these years later, the county Harris County where Houston is had learned and understood: postpartum, depression psychosis mental illness better and, as you said, their own witnesses who had never been you know not none of 'em, but many of them had never testified before learn is a little bit better about what to expect and knew what had a handle things better and, like you say to the name,
Shin had involved in a short period of time. I spend this case was a catalyst for that, because this was on Newsweek and, like you say, I sixty minutes this dominated mainstream media and and captivated and and fascinated the american society and and like you say that, because of this case, in other cases, but especially this case that it really galvanized this issue in America by that time The thing that I want to ask in this is, I think this is mind boggling to me. I couldn't even believe I was reading this- that there was some sideration by the prosecution of charging. Russell Yates tell us on how on, First, they could even imagine, and what would they charge Russell Yates for and well? That's why they didn't. Is they couldn't think of anything? I really think that was a pr ploy.
I I. I think that it was a pr ploy to go for the death penalty. It was a pr ploy to you know, satisfy the voters of Harris County to say we're looking into rusty eights because So many wanted him to burn and to this day still do so. I don't They ever had any intention of pursuing that it was just okay. You know we yeah we're going to tell the public that is my personal opinion and, as a journalist, I shouldn't expect express that, but That's my personal opinion. It is incredible to me as well the importance and the undo negative influence that politics has
In the judiciary, when you have sheriffs and district attorneys using cases to again pr public relations, you, you should be embarrassed at the public relations that you're doing when the husband is supportive of the of the woman and is totally against the death penalty, and the state usually gives lip service to the idea that they care about what the victims and this man is a victim. What the victim, would have to say in terms of how he thought his wife should be treated and he was totally against the death penalty. This is another slap in the face of Russell Yates and even can twitter that he might be charged based on again the input from the maybe ridiculous community. Getting around that yeah where I live in Travis County Texas, I have had prosecutors. Tell me we all,
Please consider the victims family and what they want and if they say don't go for the death penalty. We won't go for it, but that did matter there eat. You know you rest, the family wrote and bags to not go for the death penalty. Andreas family. There was not one person, not one family member, that wanted the death penalty, and you know I get a lot of people who jump on me wanting me to totally slam Rusty Yates, and I won't do it because I've never been the parent of five kids who died, and I that what he has gone through, and I am not going to slam a man who has lost five children and his wife. Let's just talk quickly, because we don't have that much time.
I wanna talk quickly about the reversal at the second trial and what was the result for Andrea Yates again. Do you capture it and paint an incredible portrait of what happened after that and what was her mental state? So tell us what happened at the second trial and as a result, what was your fave, well. They could not go for the death penalty again, because that would have been double jeopardy so that way they could not get a death qualified jury, because you know people who believe in the death penalty or more than likely, going to or more likely to convict. Then people who don't believe in the death penalty so that went for them. The education that we've already talked about about the nation that it's you know calm down about this- that part D Cuo, no longer credible The that the defense was more credible this time, I'm with their witnesses, and so
All of that worked out so that the end result is the ig. Zacks same result, the state would have had if they had never prosecuted her and sent her straight to a mental health facility, because she is now living at the Kerrville State Hospital which is a mental health facility. She will be there for the rest of her life, and this is the the Harris County. Taxpayers have been out millions of dollars for this trial and, if the DA's office had done what I believe would have been the right thing to send her straight to a mental health facility. They could have saved all that money and had the exam,
same result: you describe Andrea Yates in the hospital there's been progress, but what is her mental state. According to her attorney she's, now doing pretty well after she was convicted, it would be up and down up and down she would start getting healthier and then She would realize what she had done and she would go back. Psychosis and are trying to kill herself by perhaps starving herself to death. Then rusty, finally divorced her. I broke story that Rusty wanted to
do you know how to ask her for a divorce cuz. He did not want to look like the bad guy rusty, didn't quit speaking to me at that point, because he wanted Andrea to file for the divorce. So he wouldn't look like the bad guy and she refused, so they eventually divorced, which I think kind of freed her up over time that they say are still in touch. I got emphasized that he sees her and talk to her every so often, but she is to a point where her medications or eat are leveled out and that she is living in a somewhat productive life and that the staff and other inmates at the state hospital are basically her friends and family. She did
this craft that are sold anonymously at craft shows and there's a photo of some other crafts in the book? And then she takes that money and donates it to the eight children or the post Partum foundation that has been founded after all of this, so that she's, not keeping the money or anything she's, not getting rich or anything like that. She is just getting by, There was a time where she wanted to be a to get out, because your mother is very very ill and she wanted to take care of her mother and that did not I she wanted to be able to just go to church to leave the campus for a little bit to go to church. The church was ok with it. The hospital was ok with it, but other people weren't. So that's been, you know, just
I'm rambling all around to tell you it ain't been easy for because she realizes what she did and she can't handle it and she's trying to And she is trying to make amends and be a decent member of society as much of a society as she can in a state hospital. The interesting difference between Canada and say Britain and other countries to is that there is the possibility of a person team not criminally responsible for being dean sane. I guess what would be the the distinction, but they would be released from
for those that fear that man that's what this really is, rather than have somebody thrown into a hospital immediately. The public fears that this person may be released someday by some well meaning psychiatrist and answer. Sympathetic, somebody or other in charge parole board. What are the US abilities are the potential for Andrea, Yates of ever being released from the Well, the judge is the one who would sign off on this- and I don't think a judge- would ever do that and George Parnham Andrea's attorney told me that, after they the reaction of Andrea, just trying to get out to go to church and come back that they said. That's it there never going to try to get her released and that she, you know she
doesn't really have. Let me she has family, but I don't think any that she could go live with right now. Her mother is very, very ill. Her favorite brother Brian is deceased and so she feels safe and secure at the Kerrville Hospital, and so they I have no desire or intention of ever letting her even apply to the judge to get out again in this as we wrapped this up. Is there some concerned for the, as you put out as you point out in the book that this ten days psychiatric deadline, more people because of insurance that the insurance had run out. Is this really a big concern for people that are
listen to this story and now we're now hearing other stories is the reason. A reasonable person one day turns into a murder another day. Is there? Is this a valid issue? The the idea that that the that America deals with mental pay inadequately because of the insurance model that they have? Well, I I think part of it is the to do and the expense I wish. I were more knowledgeable on this about how things have changed with Obamacare and I'm I'm not, but I would like to dream and think that there's a little bit of more mental health understanding and I now, you're making me want to pull out my insurance policy and look at it to see what it exactly says. But yes, I think it it's it's. Still an issue because psychiatric care is expensive. Psychiatric medicines are expensive.
Um, you know yeah, I'm looking at you mention in the book that you talked about. I was surprised as well, because there's obviously different prices, but the medication that she was prescribed. The second time around was six to seven hundred dollars per month, if that was not just one medication, but it was six or seven hundred dollars is, is daunting for a lot of people that additional seven hundred dollars Well, not for fifteen years ago, that was nearly fifteen years ago. Can you imagine what it is today no yeah. I think We still have you know severe or prejudices against mental illness and how to treat it from an insurance point of view, as well as from a public point. I still have letters and emails from people primarily these days emails saying thank you for speaking out about.
Mental illness, but cause I've suffered from horrible depression or I've said From this an I'm embarrassed to say this, because I talk about book cause of this case that I have been to assess diatrice, I have you, know, used medication, psychotropic drugs and everything because and I've always suffered depression, and after this case I did a probably- and I am far from the only journalist or either someone I know, people who were witnesses in the trial who had to go on antidepressants after this case because it got to a so badly. So anything I can do to get people to talk about this and not be ashamed of it I mean look at the tv show Nashville now and their post partum some storyline line and
that I'd. I never can't pronounce. Your last name starts with a p who plays Juliette Barnes how she has gone public right now, just in the past few weeks about her postpartum depression how Brooke Shields has talked about it. How Marie Osmond Ann as long as we can get people to talk about it, instead of being ashamed of it. And realize that it's not a matter of just buck up, pull yourself up by your bootstraps that this is a real illness that can be treated, that's what I, People will learn from this that one,
mental illness can happen in the best of families, the worst of families in the in between done matter, your education, your income level, you're smart. It can happen and if it does don't be ashamed, it's like cancer, the flu or whatever get to a doctor and get help. I think the thing isn't in just in closing to, though, is that with the differences in Say, Canada, for example. We also have to be cautious, and I think that's what some of the more the audience that's seems. Be savvy. You know: police, a law enforcement people, people in corrections, people into judiciary, that. I really are pessimistic because of their experience realized that the difference sometimes is the psychiatrist and the the attorneys
depiction of mental illness. So people are, I think, justifiably skeptical, because they do see cases in Canada and other jurisdictions where the mental illnesses is is used as an excuse for again it it's. It should not be included in. In with other valid mentally ill defendants- and so I think that's what some people are skeptical about how a again and unscrupulous psychiatrist paired with another unscrupulous attorney can use the same amount of information and these kinds of cases to represent their clients. Again, when they're not really mentally ill and and again, you might not see examples glaring examples in America, but if you were
go over the border and look at some interesting cases like the doctor Turcotte case in Montreal right now, where he is stabbed his kids forty nine times and was put into a mental. Institution and only serves six months in that institution was deemed mentally insane because of depression. So I think there is some validity to some of the skepticism, but as your book points out, this is isn't. Store it case where it seemed to be a clear cut case of a woman just going off the rails from postpartum depression and psychosis, while the mental health professional either look the other way in the insurance company and a confluence of events created this very, very tragic situation. That again, like you say, hopefully, hopefully this book will help people understand the situation and somehow, hopefully that this might be avoided just even once in the object.
That's the point that I would say this could have been prevented. If we're not so ashamed of mental health issues. This could have been prevented and in the United States, I think I'm sure that somebody could give me examples of someone who was you know, found not guilty by reason of insanity and got out. But I think It's going to be a lot harder to get out of a mental health facility and the united date just because of our attitudes. And I may be very wrong. Look at Robert Durst. It was obviously mentally ill as you know been charged with one. Time that he got off off the men charged with another crime, and it's going to be in thing to me to see. What's happens with that, because his attorney is Dick, Dick, friend, who was the attorney in another book. I wrote the fortune Hunter, which was about
Two people who met in a mental health facility and then killed someone you know planned it together and to me that on that case, his clients there, I said, if that's not a not not guilty by reason of insanity that one would have been one he could have done, uh with a woman named Celeste Beard, because in Texas the baseline is did they know the difference between right and wrong when they committed the crime. And Celeste Beard in that case the fortune hunter. I say she didn't because whatever Celeste wanted would like now that was her beliefs, and so It's going to be really interesting to me to see how Dick Kerr and handles the Robert Durst case out in Beverly Hills. Well, the again it's another issue too, because the jurors case is
is incredible. When you have a multi millionaire and the means to have the best lawyer in the country when that's arguable two of these, the best, but at least when you have the means, so that's a that's, almost a different dynamic just because of the money involved. But again that said you did allude to that. That is your. I guess we'll have to have you back on to talk about fortune Hunter as well. So tell us a little bit about fourteen a fortune hunter before we let you go So in anticipation of you coming back on and talking about that well, the fortune hunter is really interesting, because the judge and one of the defendants Tracy Charlton and I all went to the same summer. Camp and trade the Charlton again one of the defendants she worked? It was the manager at Bookpeople Bookstore, which we used to be may have probably still is the largest and best independent bookstore in Texas,
and Tracy has Donald did a lot to promote my first book wasted an and she met at a mental health facility, woman named Celeste Beard who Celeste was a young, attractive, charming, but yet vile woman who married, an old man or rich old man and couldn't wait for him to die so coaxed Tracy into trying to kill him an all. That happened just a few blocks from where I was living at the time, so it was a case that I have a lot of connections to close to home yeah absolutely well, it's been great Susie's talking about breaking point uh. This is turned into a real, true crime, classic, especially with the addition of this additional information and still the fascination with people trying to understand how somebody how anyone could do something like this
and how it can even be possible. So incredible story. Congratulations on the new edition of the book and thank you for coming on and talking about breaking point, and we look forward to talking to you in the near future. Thank you for all right. Thank you! Good night city, good night. And now I thought from Geico Motorcycle. It took fifteen minutes to take a spirit. Animal quiz online. Be the Cheetah these be the cheetah and your animal isn't the cheetah, but the far thus appealing blobfish, Come on to add insult to injury. You could have used those fifteen blobfish minutes to switch your motorcycle insurance to Geico Geico. Fifteen minutes could save you. Fifteen percent or more on motorcycle insurance left
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Transcript generated on 2019-11-05.