Prosecution psychiatrist says Yates was sane
HOUSTON, Texas (CNN) -- The prosecution's key witness in the Andrea Yates trial was back on the stand Friday to challenge the defense's assertion that the Houston-area woman was legally insane when she drowned her five children last June.
Psychiatrist Park Dietz told jurors Thursday that he agreed with defense witnesses who said Yates was depressed, dysfunctional and schizophrenic, but said she still knew that what she was doing was wrong. He reiterated this claim in his testimony Friday.
Under Texas law, if jurors believe Yates knew right from wrong at the time of the killings, they cannot find her legally insane.
"She doesn't think it's a good idea that comes from God," Dietz said of Yates' view of the killings. "She thinks it's an evil idea that comes from Satan."
Yates is being tried on two counts of capital murder, one covering the deaths of Noah, 7, and John, 5, and the other covering the death of Mary, 6 months. She is not on trial for the drownings of Luke, 3, and Paul, 2.
The two capital murder charges were based on provisions in Texas statutes. One charge covers the intentional deaths of two people in the same event or scheme; the other covers the death of a child under 6.
Yates describes drownings in taped interview
On Friday, Dietz showed the court a video of an interview he conducted with Yates in November.
The video showed Yates crying when asked to describe how she started drowning the children. She said Paul came into the bathroom and asked, "Mommy, are we going to take a bath today."
When asked if the children struggled, Yates replied, "Not Mary. She wasn't strong enough."
Yates said she drowned the children in cold water.
Yates has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. The case is expected to go to the jury next week.
The trial has recessed for the day, but more testimony may come over the weekend. A Harris County Sheriff's deputy, who overheard one of Yates' initial interviews with a jail psychiatrist, is expected to take the stand Saturday.
Dietz, a psychiatrist at UCLA School of Medicine, said Yates' decision to home school her children and other lifestyle choices added to her stress and made her feel more overwhelmed.
Dietz: Killings were planned
In the videotape shown Friday, the mother of five said, "I killed them because I wanted to save them."
But Dietz said that statement was contradicted by another one in which Yates told him she had told no one of her plans because she believed doing so would lead her to carry out the plan. "If I talked about it, it (the killings) would happen," she told the psychiatrist on the tape.
Dietz then told the court, "If it's true she believed killing the children would save them, then why wouldn't she want it (the killings) to happen?"
Of the plan to kill her children, he added, "I conclude she kept it secret because she knew it was wrong."
Dietz has consulted on a number of high-profile cases, including those of Susan Smith, who in 1994 buckled her two sons in their car seats and rolled her car into a South Carolina lake, letting them drown; Unabomber Ted Kaczynski; serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer; and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
Yates' attorneys are expressed to cross-examine Dietz on Saturday.
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