Tags: Yates | Goes | Trial

Yates Goes on Trial

Monday, 07 January 2002 12:00 AM

A panel of 60 prospective jurors was called for questioning.

Yates, 37, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Jury selection was expected to take four to six weeks. The judge and lawyers will have time to question each prospective juror. Testimony was scheduled to begin Feb. 11.

If Yates is convicted of capital murder during the trial, the Harris County district attorney has said the jury will be asked to consider the death penalty or life in prison. If the jury finds Yates not guilty by reason of insanity, the judge could sentence her to a mental hospital or release her.

The prospective jurors were expected to get questions about their views on the death penalty and mental illness, among other issues. Yates' attorneys say she was suffering from postpartum depression at the time she killed her five children in their home.

State District Judge Belinda Hill heard pretrial motions regarding statements made by lawyers outside the courtroom and a request to allow Court TV coverage of the trial.

At one point after a vigorous exchange between the attorneys, Hill hinted at the long process ahead for the court in choosing a 12-member jury.

"We're going to be at this a long time," she said. "Lawyers will talk to me, not to each other."

In a competency hearing last August, another jury determined that Yates understood the charges against her and could assist her lawyers. The jury in the criminal trial will determine if she was legally insane at the time of the crime.

Yates has been under treatment in the mental health wing of the Harris County Jail since her arrest June 20. She called police to her home and said she had drowned Noah, 7; John, 5; Paul 3; Luke, 2; and Mary, 6 months; in the bathtub at their Clear Lake home.

Her husband, Russell Yates, revealed to reporters the next day that his wife was under treatment for postpartum depression and had attempted suicide twice. The NASA engineer, who was at work at the time of the deaths, has supported his wife throughout the ordeal.

In a side issue, Hill has appointed a special prosecutor to determine if her gag order was violated by Russell Yates and District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal in appearances on CBS's "60 Minutes." She has barred attorneys and other parties in the case from talking to the news media.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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A panel of 60 prospective jurors was called for questioning. Yates, 37, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Jury selection was expected to take four to six weeks. The judge and lawyers will have time to question each prospective juror. Testimony was scheduled to...
Yates,Goes,Trial
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2002-00-07
Monday, 07 January 2002 12:00 AM
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