Houston Chronicle

June 24, 2001

Attorney: Insanity defense likely

Houston Chronicle

The insanity defense will probably be the legal strategy for the woman accused of drowning her five children last week, her attorney said Saturday.

"I've accumulated evidence in the last 24 hours that strongly suggests that the mental status of my client will be the issue, which means entering a not guilty plea by reason of insanity," said George Parnham, who represents Andrea Pia Yates.

Parnham said he talked Saturday with psychiatrists treating the 36-year-old Yates at the Harris County Jail.

The attorney declined to say what evidence indicated she was insane when she admittedly killed the children Wednesday morning at her Clear Lake home in the 900 block of Beachcomber.

Funeral services for the children, who ranged from 6 months to 7 years old, have been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Clear Lake Church of Christ.

Parnham also declined to say anything about the current mental state of Yates, who has been charged with capital murder.

However, he did say her husband, Russell Yates, is holding up well with the loss of his family.

"He is strong," Parnham said. "He desires only the best for his wife. He loves her."

Copyright 2001 Houston Chronicle