Tags: Yates | Planned | for | 'Something | Bad'

Yates Planned for 'Something Bad'

Thursday, 28 February 2002 12:00 AM

Deborah Holmes, a nurse at University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, was called by defense attorneys as they continued to try to claim that the 37-year-old mother didn't know right from wrong when she drowned her five children.

"I was frustrated with the lack of care I felt she was receiving," she told the jury. "My sister said I should write all this down in case something bad happened."

Holmes, who met Mrs. Yates 16 years ago when they worked as nurses at M.D. Anderson, said she was preparing for her son's birthday party June 20 when a friend called to tell her to watch the television news and then told her what had happened.

"I fell to the floor and just screamed, 'My Andrea!'" she said. "My little girl just fell on the floor and collapsed. Those children were her best friends."

Holmes said she talked with Mrs. Yates about her postpartum depression and urged her to take her medication when she was pregnant with Mary, her last child. Yates refused, she said.

"She said that wasn't going to happen," the nurse said. "She and Rusty had discussed it, and she wasn't going to take medication."

Holmes said she often visited Andrea at the Yates home, sometimes finding her wandering the house, looking weak and dehydrated.

"She looked like a cancer patient," the nurse recalled.

Holmes said she called Russell Yates, Andrea's husband, on at least two occasions at work and urged him to get her immediate help. Once, she said, he promised to get her an appointment Tuesday.

"I told him, 'She's not going to make it through the weekend. She needs help now,'" she said, breaking down in tears.

The judge called a brief recess before Holmes continued her testimony. Mrs. Yates has pleaded innocent by reason of insanity. If convicted, she will face the death penalty or life in prison. If she is acquitted, the judge would probably commit her to a psychiatric hospital.

In emotional testimony Wednesday, Russell Yates described their life together, the day she called him at work to say she had killed their children, and how he had attempted over the past two years to get her medical treatment.

Yates and his wife were in tears when a videotape of their children, Noah, 7; John, 5; Paul, 3; Luke, 2; and Mary, 6 months; was shown in the courtroom.

Yates said his wife's mental illness began after the birth of their fourth child, Luke, in 1999. Four months later she attempted but failed to take her life, first with a drug overdose and then with a knife held at her throat. She was hospitalized four times at psychiatric hospitals. Yates said the postpartum depression returned about four months after Mary's birth, possibly brought on, in part, by the death of her father on March 12, 2001.

"After Andrea's dad died, she seemed to get more withdrawn," he said. Yates said he wanted her returned to the anti-depression drug Haldol, but her psychiatrist at the time wanted to get her off the drug. She was not on any anti-depressant medication on the morning of June 20 when she drowned the children.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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Deborah Holmes, a nurse at University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, was called by defense attorneys as they continued to try to claim that the 37-year-old mother didn't know right from wrong when she drowned her five children. I was frustrated with the lack of...
Yates,Planned,for,'Something,Bad'
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2002-00-28
Thursday, 28 February 2002 12:00 AM
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