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Andrea Yates Has Her Family's Support

Aired June 22, 2001 - 19:31   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.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: We will take you now to Harris county, Houston, Texas, lawyers now have just met with Andrea Yates at the detention center there. We shall listen in.

GEORGE PARNHAM, YATES DEFENSE ATTORNEY: ... Andrea, I know that you all are very interested in not only the circumstances, but how she is doing. As you can see, the members of her family do include her husband Rusty are behind me, she is doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances, which I know you understand are extreme.

We will not be making any further statements to you until after the services, which at this time are tentatively set for Wednesday, this coming Wednesday -- and I believe that is the 27th -- tentatively set at Clear Lake Church of Christ at 10:30, but the operative word here is the word "tentatively."

The family is in the process not only of dealing with the tragedy, but also in the process of making arrangements for the services. And I'm sure you can understand and respect their desire to remain silent until after the services are finished.

I don't have anything further, thank you.

QUESTION: Are you the attorney of record now?

PARNHAM: I'm the attorney of record.

QUESTION: Are you on retainer or you are working pro bono?

PARNHAM: Well, that is something I think is beyond the content of the statement I would like to make at this time, but this is not a pro bono case.

QUESTION: George, can you describe what the situation was like upstairs for us?

PARNHAM: The sheriffs department personnel were extremely courteous, very cooperative, and obviously very attuned to the complexities of the situation, and how -- and with a lot of sympathy toward the members of the family behind me, as well as to Andrea.

QUESTION: I think there are a lot of people watching who are trying to imagine what the situation must be like for Mr. Yates to have to confront his wife for the first time like this. Can you describe what was said?

PARNHAM: I -- I really can't get into it. Don't want to get into it. It is obviously a very personal meeting, and I don't want to in any way take away from the moment that took place.

All I can tell you is the family is extremely supportive. Rusty, the husband, the members of her family, her mother, her brothers who are here, and we will get through this with their assistance.

QUESTION: Mr. Parnham, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) with ABC 13 live on "Eyewitness News" now. There has been some speculation that there will be a plea of insanity because of the postpartum psychosis. Where are you with that?

PARNHAM: I'm not in a position at this moment to address any of those areas of defense. I want the services to be finished. I certainly don't want to detract from this moment, at least to permit this family to heal itself as best as they possibly can. I won't get into any of the details relative to the defense of this case.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) discuss strategy with Andrea yet?

PARNHAM: I really don't want to get into that, and can't get into it. Obviously, the moment is heightened up there on the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) floor with the various medical personnel that are attending to her, and you can imagine -- you can imagine what it's like. Thank you.

QUESTION: Can you just tell us how she is doing right now as...

PARNHAM: As well as can be expected, and of course that tosses the question back to you. I would, you know, what do you expect her to be -- how do you expect her to be reacting? And I think it's, yeah, I want to talk about this, and I will after the services.

QUESTION: Mr. Parnham, can you talk about the outpouring of support from the community in terms of -- are they helping pay for funeral arrangements as well?

PARNHAM: I'm sure that there will and has been a tremendous outpouring of support for this family. I obviously would encourage continued support for the family, and we will see where that takes us. I don't -- I can't speak to any individual circumstance that has occurred relative to the community support of the...

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE).

PARNHAM: Oh, I'm certain that there has been.

QUESTION: But you're not sure.

PARNHAM: No.

QUESTION: Well, she is under suicide watch. Did she express to the police or to the jailers or to anyone that she was thinking of killing herself? PARNHAM: Phil, I really can't even to -- I can't even begin to get into that by way of a response, you know. And I won't. And I want -- I want this service for these children to take place before any pronouncements, announcements, discussions take place relative to a defense, her current status. I don't think that it speaks to her ability to regain semblance of...

QUESTION: Tell us about the family support so far?

PARNHAM: The family is standing behind me, very supportive of Andrea. And this includes the father of those children, the husband of the mother. And they are unified in seeing her through this process.

QUESTION: George, did they have to conduct their business through Plexiglas or was it a contact visit?

PARNHAM: I have been requested not to discuss any of the circumstances surrounding the interview or conversations had with her.

QUESTION: What time did you find out you would be involved in the case? Was that after the hearing this morning?

PARNHAM: It probably was early in the morning, 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. OK, thank you all very much.

HEMMER: That is attorney George Parnham there, speaking in Houston, Texas, saying Andrea Yates, age 36, charged with killing her five young children on Wednesday this past week, is quote, "as well as can be expected."

Funerals are scheduled for Wednesday of next week. The arraignment that was supposed to take place today has been put off until Monday. Again, the tragedy in Houston continues to unravel at this time, more coming up top of the hour with Wolf Blitzer from Washington. I'll be back at 10:00 Eastern on "CNN TONIGHT."

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