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Texas Mom Killed Kids One
By One, Chased Oldest
By C. Bryson Hull
6-22-1

 
 
HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Texas mother who confessed to killing her five children got a court-appointed lawyer on Friday, after reportedly telling investigators she drowned her kids one-by-one and had to chase down her frightened eldest son to finish the job.
 
Andrea Yates, 36, gave short answers in a brief hearing before State District Judge Belinda Hill, during which she was granted indigent status and given an attorney.
 
Hill postponed the hearing to an undetermined date so Yates, who is being held without bail and facing a charge that could bring her the death penalty, would have time to consult with her lawyer.
 
Yates killed her children on Wednesday, making her heart-rending confession to police just moments after drowning the oldest of her five children.
 
A report in Friday's Houston Chronicle said Yates drowned her youngest children one by one in a bathtub, but had to chase her frightened oldest son through the house and drag him to the bathroom after he saw what she was doing.
 
"This is the most horrendous thing I have ever seen," Harris County Assistant District Attorney Joe Owmby said after the hearing.
 
Owmby declined to say whether prosecutors would seek the death penalty, which under Texas law is the maximum punishment for capital murder.
 
Yates' court-appointed attorney, Bob Scott, was to meet Friday with his client at the Harris County Jail Friday. He did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
 
Owmby said prosecutors would next call a grand jury to indict Yates, after reviewing the police file and discussing the case with investigators. He would not, however, discuss details of the killings in the Chronicle's report.
 
The newspaper, citing an unnamed police officer who watched Yates' videotaped statement to investigators, said the mother and former registered nurse recounted the events in a "zombie-like fashion."
 
"What's wrong with Mary?" 7-year-old Noah Yates asked his mother when he saw her placing 6-month-old Mary in the tub.
 
Yates said her son ran from her, but she chased him through the house, dragged him back to the bathroom and drowned him alongside his infant sister, the report said.
 
Before that, Yates said she killed, in order, Luke, 2, Paul, 3, and John, 5. After each child was drowned, she carried their bodies onto a bed and covered them with a sheet, where police said all but one body, Noah's, was found.
 
She left Noah in the tub before calling police and husband Russell Yates, who was at his job as a computer engineer at the nearby Johnson Space Center.
 
The Harris County Medical Examiner's Office ruled on Thursday night that the children died of asphyxia from drowning.
 
No motive for the killings was reported, but Russell Yates on Thursday blamed the tragedy on his wife's severe case of postpartum depression, for which she had been taking medication.

 
 
 
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