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Reaction to the Yates sentence

The following are reactions to Friday's sentencing of Andrea Yates to life imprisonment for the killings of her children:

"I thank God I was blessed with such a loving family"

Andrea Yates  

After the verdict, defense attorney George Parnham read a note that was given to him by Andrea Yates:

"She notes that she regrets that this illness brought her to a place to where she was capable of killing her own children. 'Noah, he was my first born. He was so inquisitive and his favorite thing to do was hatching monarch butterflies. John, with his cute grin, he loved to do crafts and was very enthusiastic. Precious Paul, nurturing and loving, he sought to please us and be special friends to his brother. Beautiful Luke, trying to keep up with his brothers, he also was nurturing, especially to his baby sister. The beautiful Mary, such a loving baby with the big blue eyes. I thank God I was blessed with such a loving family.' "

Russell Yates, husband  

'All of us ... stand behind Andrea'

"We're obviously very disappointed in the verdict of guilty. All of us, her family, stand behind Andrea. None of us wanted her to be found guilty. In fact, most of us were offended that she was even prosecuted. Obviously, it could be worse if she'd been given the death penalty, but it wouldn't have been that much worse." ( Full story)

George Parnham, Defense Attorney  

'... Prevent similar acts in the future'

"The most positive outcome of this case is that Americans have witnessed firsthand a most extreme and painful example of the plight of the mentally ill. I encourage anyone whose heart aches for Andrea Yates and her family and her deceased children to go beyond your feelings of pain, anger and frustration and instead take the time and effort to write your elected official requesting a fair and compassionate treatment for those who suffer from mental illness."

Patrick Kennedy, Andrea Yates' brother  

'A sick person is being sent to prison'

"We don't, as a family, believe that justice was accomplished here, because we believe a sick person is being sent to prison for 40 years. We hope that in the future, because of the attention that this trial has received, that other defendants that are in her condition will receive the compassion that she has received from some of you --but that they will receive the justice we think she deserves. We don't believe that 40 years in prison is an alternative to treatment that she needs."

Joseph Owmby, Prosecutor  

'Justice was done'

"We took no pleasure in prosecuting Mrs. Yates, and we take no joy in this result or any result that may have occurred. In a perfect world, the children would be alive and thriving in the midst of a loving family. But in this imperfect world, the best we could do was to see that justice was done for them as victims of a horrendous crime. Justice was done today."

Lucy Puryear, Psychiatrist  

'This was a tragedy that never should have happened'

"This is an issue about mental illness. I feel very passionately about the treatment of the mentally ill. I feel very passionately about changing laws in Texas and about educating the public about the effects of mental illness. This was a tragedy that never should have happened ... The Texas prison system can, from everything I hear, can be a scary place. I can only hope that she's going to go to a unit where there are psychiatrists that know about taking care of people with mental illness and she'll get adequate treatment."




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