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Andrea Yates, Accused of Killing Her Five Children, Appointed Lawyer

Aired June 22, 2001 - 08:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES)

COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN ANCHOR: ... about five minutes. She, of course, is accused of killing her five children, drowning them in a bathtub. The headline in the Houston paper this morning is that she has confessed to police that she has given a videotaped statement describing, in rather excruciating detail, how she drowned the children one by one.

Again, Andrea Yates appearing before a judge. The probable cause hearing is expected to take about five minutes, dealing with issue of probable cause and to hold her legal representations and other issues.

CNN's Jeff Flock is there and has been covering this story for us -- Jeff.

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Colleen, not yet under way. The two prosecutors -- just so you know who the players will be once this all begins -- are Joe Owmby, who we talked about earlier, and Caitlin Wilford (ph). They will be appearing before Judge Belinda Hill this morning.

Again, as we reported earlier, we don't expect there to be a whole lot of action this morning -- probably about a five-minute appearance.

We're starting, so let's go ahead and listen inside.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

JUDGE BELINDA HILL: ... that might be used to secure entering. The court is going to find that you're indigent, and the court is going to appoint an attorney for you, who will speak with you this morning.

It's my understanding that you did appear before magistrate earlier, and you received your magistrate warning. Is that correct?

ANDREA YATES: That is correct.

HILL: Then the court is going to reset this case, to give you an opportunity to visit with the attorney that the court is going to appoint for you this morning, and this case be the reset to a future date.

YATES: Thank you.

MCEDWARDS: Andrea Yates leaving the courtroom now, the judge having said to her that she will receive a court-appointed attorney. The case will be reset to a future date, to give her time to visit with that attorney, again, a court-appointed attorney for Andrea Yates, who appeared in court, just briefly in Houston.

Jeff Flock is there covering the story for us -- Jeff.

FLOCK: Well, that, Colleen, sort of confirms what we had some suspicion of. We were not able to determine who Andrea Yates' attorney was, and it's apparently because she still does not have an attorney. As you heard the judge there indicate, an attorney will be provided for her. What they're going to do is take a short break while she has an opportunity to meet with that attorney for the first time. Any of these statements, the ones that we've been reporting on this morning, the statements given to police have been given to police without benefit of an attorney.

And we hope to hear from her attorney. I'm just eyeballing down the street whether I see that attorney out or not, or the prosecutors out. I don't see them yet. We will bring any comments that they have to you live.

At this point, Ms. Yates not with an attorney. She's going to meet with that attorney now. And perhaps we'll have another session back here in the district court before this day is out -- Colleen.

MCEDWARDS: That could change, Jeff, correct? It's not unusual for people to receive a count-appointed attorney early on in a case, and then, after being given time, eventually get their own attorney.

FLOCK: That's absolutely correct. That's not uncommon. I guess it is something of a surprise, though, that at this point, still not having her own attorney. We understood that her family had been in consultation with at least one attorney yesterday, but at this point, apparently, no one is settled on.

MCEDWARDS: Jeff Flock, understood. Thanks very much.

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