Andrea Yates, the convicted murder of her five children, committed the brutal crime because of the effects that mental illness had on her.
Working Hypothesis 2
Andrea Yates was fully aware of the circumstances of her actions in murdering her children, but used mental illness to get away with it.
Academic sources- purposeful summaries
Ask the expert: The case of Andrea Yates
Andrea Yates murdered her five children by drowning them each one by one in the bathtub of their home on June 20th, 2001. Prior to the murders, she had a history of mental illness, including major depression, psychotic tendencies, and suicide attempts. In 2002, she was only charged with 2 of the murders, which she was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. Due to Dr. Park Dietz’s claiming that Yates “could have gotten the idea to kill her children and feign mental illness from an episode of Law and Order,” the case was overturned. His claim was made to be false because it was found that the episode never aired, and the claim could have swayed the jury’s decision. When re-tried, she was found not guilty by reason of insanity, due to postpartum depression/psychosis. Knowing right and wrong is a major factor in determining if not guilty by reason of insanity is a proper verdict, and determining if Yates new this is the real struggle.
Kesling, G. (2006, September 1). Ask the expert: The Case of Andrea Yates. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=5&sid=fe9d653a-63d8-4d3b-b270-20f26b85b43b%40sessionmgr102
Andrea Yates admitted to her killing her children with the defense that she had failed them as a mother. Since her many suicide attempts did not work, killing all five of her children was the only way to get what she deserved for being the mother she thought she was. Andrea said that it had to be done because “The way [she] was raising them they could never be saved.” (Roche 2002). Yates’ diagnosis of psychosis was said to lead her to believe she was being controlled by satan. These thoughts led her to think that her children could no longer be saved by God.
Roche, T. (2002, March 18). Andrea Yates: More To The Story. Retrieved from http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,218445,00.html
Sympathy for the Devil
Andrea Yates’ story gets told throughout the article, while explaining her various mental illnesses. The main focus of the case was determining whether Yates had a mental illness at the time of the crime, and if it had such an affect on her that it led to her murdering her five children. She was diagnosed with postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis, and schizophrenia. The schizophrenia and psychosis was believed to be the source of her hallucinations and thoughts of the devil telling her to kill her children.
Diamond, S.A., (2008, May 2). Sympathy for the Devil. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evil-deeds/200805/sympathy-the-devil
Effects of exercise‐based interventions on postpartum depression: A meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials
Postpartum depression can occur after complications with birth. This mental illness can takeover the mother’s life, and affect her in so many ways, including affecting the relationship with the child. In this article, the physicians describe some of the effects of this mental illness which includes “…anxiety about parenthood and caring for an infant, identity crisis, a feeling of loss of control over life, and anxiety because of lack of support from a romantic or sexual partner.” This study shows how mothers suffering from this can then suffer from extreme anxiety about how their kids are growing up, and can therefor lead to major depressive disorder. In the case of Andrea Yates, this is exactly what the defense claims happened to her whens he murdered her children because she felt it was the only way to save them.
Poyatos-Leon, R.; Garcia-Hermoso, A.; Sanabria-Martinez, G.; Alvarez-Bueno, C; Cavero-Redondo, I.; Martinez-Vizcaino, V. (2017, June 6). Effects of exercise‐based interventions on postpartum depression: A meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/birt.12294
Murder and Psychosis: Neuropsychological Profiles of Homicide Offenders with Schizophrenia
Patients diagnosed with schizophrenia can be succumbed to violence depending on the severity of their illness. In many cases of homicide, schizophrenia has been found to be a diagnosis of the convicted murderers. The article states that many patients can have suicidal tendencies, delusions, hallucinations, “…and satan/antichrist/demon- or God- themed delusions.” This can include having delusions that the devil is inside of you and the only way to fix what you have wronged is to commit a murder. This leads to extremely violent tendencies, as found in many homicide cases.
Stratton, J.; Brook, M.; Hanlon, R.E. (2016, February 10). Murder and Psychosis: Neuropsychological Profiles of Homicide Offenders with Schizophrenia. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=10&sid=b13e729e-d665-41b4-9734-94c9ecff5647%40pdc-v-sessmgr03
Topics for smaller papers
- defense of insanity for Andrea Yates: was she really mentally ill or was it a cover up?
- Postpartum depression and its effects on the mother suffering from it: Did it lead Andrea Yates to murder her children because she thought she was saving them?
- Schizophrenia: how can Andrea Yates’ diagnoses win her case (the symptoms listed closely relate to the situations described in court)
- Andrea Yates’ story: what she felt she was doing, and why
Current State of Research Paper
I have collected a sufficient amount of evidence to complete my final research paper. I have written three parts to my paper, and all that is left is to go through each and add any other research that I have found. My hypothesis was able to be contradicted, but also proven to have some evidence to support it.