Andrea Yates, a mother who drowned her five children in a bathtub in 2011, has requested to leave her mental facility periodically to attend church, according to her attorney.
The Clear Lake mother’s defense attorney, George Parnham, told the Houston Chronicle that Yates and her doctors have requested permission for her to take two hours leave weekly, in order to attend services at the local church.
“It is a recommendation of the doctors that she be permitted to attend, and of course she wants to,” attorney George Parnham said. “It would be both beneficial and mentally therapeutic for her. She has been accepted into a congregation. It is simply a baby step in the right direction toward acclimation into a community down the road of sorts.”
The state hospital has to first consider if the patient will be a risk to the community during their “therapeutic” leave period. If granted permission, Parnham hopes it will eventually lead to Yates’s freedom from state care.
“Yates has not been seen or been a part of any portion of society for the last 11 years,” Parnham said Thursday.
Yates first became religious when she started dating her former husband Russell Yates, according to MSNBC.com. He had introduced her to Michael Peter Woroniecki, an independent non-denominational Christian Missionary, who had persuaded the Yates family to move into a bus.
During Yates’s first trial in 2002, she was diagnosed with several mental conditions such as Schizophrenia and depression, according to CNN. Yates had told jurors that satan had sent her messages and by drowning her five children– Noah, 7; John, 5; Paul, 3; Luke, 2; and Mary, 6 months-she thought she was sending them to a safe place in heaven.
Initially, Yates was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison, but the ruling was appealed and overturned in 2006, when a second jury declared she was not guilty due to her insanity. She was later committed to a mental facility, where she has spent the past 11-years.
The first jury didn’t deny Yates’s insanity, but they said she could still differentiate ” right” from ” wrong,” which was demonstrated by the fact she waited for her husband to leave for work before she carried out the drowning, knowing he would try and stop her.