Andrea Yates has confessed to drowning her children in a bathtub: 6-month-old Mary, 2-year-old Luke, 3-year-old Paul, 5-year-old John, and 7-year-old Noah.
Andrea Yates is a mass murderer.
Yates perpetrated this massacre in Texas. Under Texas law, a capital murder conviction where the death penalty is not sought carries a life sentence with parole eligibility after 40 years.
In the likelihood that Yates pleads not guilty by reason of insanity, she could be confined to a mental hospital and eventually released if a judge were to deem her non-dangerous to herself or others.
This infanticidal woman could enjoy freedom one day in either scenario.
That is unacceptable.
It cannot be overemphasized: Yates deliberately drowned these children. She hunted down 7 year-old Noah and drowned him with 6 month-old Mary when he tried to escape the massacre. In fact, a police official reports that Yates had been contemplating the massacre for several months.
Yates will likely attribute her savagery to postpartum depression. When this happens, we should remember that the overwhelming number of mothers suffering postpartum depression do not slaughter their children.
Yates is a 36 year-old woman whose victims' cumulative age was not even half of hers. This was a pusillanimous atrocity.
Yates' apologists will underscore her depression and father's death three months after Mary's birth.
This is what I want to underscore: a baby alive for less than 200 hundred days held down in a bathtub until her tiny lungs collapse, a 7 year-old boy running for his life, caught and dragged to his death, and three other children fatally submerged.
I cannot shake the image of Mary, Luke, Paul, John, and Noah asphyxiating in agony while Andrea Yates consciously claimed their lives. And that image convinces me that Andrea Yates must die.
June 25, 2001