State News

Feb 17, 2014 5:20 AM by Associated Press

Doctors Seek Outings for Texas Mom Who Killed Kids

HOUSTON (AP) - Doctors who have been treating a Texas mother who drowned her five children in 2001 are seeking permission for her to attend group outings with other patients in the psychiatric hospital, a newspaper reports.

Andrea Yates, who killed her five children aged six months to 7, is the only patient that has never been allowed to attend group outings with others at Kerrville State Hospital since 2006, when she was found innocent by reason of insanity for the deaths, her attorney, George Parnham, said.

A conference call between a judge, Parnham and hospital staff had been scheduled for Friday, but was cancelled because Parnham said he was not available, the Houston Chronicle reported (http://bit.ly/1oCDJEE ). The call will likely not be rescheduled before Yates' annual evaluation in the fall, he said.

"The doctors recommended (Yates) could benefit from passes for a couple of hours to attend picnics with other patients," Parnham told the newspaper.

The outings would be part of Yates' rehabilitation and she would be accompanied by staff and guards at all time, Parnham said.

Initially, Yates had been convicted in 2002 of capital murder in the drowning deaths of her five young children, Noah, 7; John, 5; Paul, 3; Luke, 2; and Mary, 6 months old. She was sentenced to life in prison. She was later granted a retrial and found innocent by reason of insanity.

In May 2012, a judge denied Parnham's request that Yates be allowed to attend church services outside the hospital.

The attorney did not give many details on Yates' life in the hospital, but said she has made greeting cards and aprons, which are sold anonymously at craft shows. The proceeds go to the Yates Children Memorial Fund, a group founded in 2002 to improve the mental health of mothers in the region.

"She wants to help build a legacy for those children to help prevent future tragedies like hers," Parnham said. "Every kid deserves to be raised by a mother free of mental illness."

Yates' husband, Rusty Yates, divorced her in 2004. He has since remarried.

___

Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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