Andrea Yates has been found not guilty by reason of insanity in her retrial.
The verdict upholding Yates’ insanity defense comes after the jury deliberated more than 12 hours and spent two nights sequestered at an area hotel . Yates appeared shocked and sat staring wide-eyed with her lips slightly parted as State District Judge Belinda Hill asked each juror individually whether they agreed with the verdict.
The acquittal in Yates’ second capital murder trial follows nearly a month’s worth of exhaustive testimony, capped by four hours of emotional closing arguments Monday, during which Yates broke down in tears and her former husband, Russell Yates, abruptly left the courtroom.
The jury’s verdict means Yates, 42, will be sent to a state mental hospital for treatment, rather than be sentenced to life in prison.
Shortly before 10:30 this morning, the jury sent a note requesting exhibits showing a family portrait and a photo of the children before their deaths.
Over the past two days, the jury appeared to focus on medical expert testimony from both prosecution and defense witnesses.
Tuesday, they asked to see video tapes mental-health experts made of their interviews with Yates after the killings as well as testimony from Park Dietz, a prosecution expert witness, about Yates’ statements regarding Satan’s presence.
It is unknown how long Yates will be hospitalized, but she will be subject to periodic reviews by state District Judge Belinda Hill’s court.
To answer the question currently on the Chron homepage, I say yes, justice has been served. Judging from today’s letters to the editor, I’d also say that’s what most people in Houston would say as well. May Andrea Yates now finally get the help she so desperately needs.
UPDATE: I have more thoughts on this at Kuff’s World.