Wednesday, July 26, 2006

More Lessons Learned

Jury Finds Yates Not Guilty in Drownings

By ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press Writer
Wed Jul 26, 2006

HOUSTON - Andrea Yates was found not guilty by reason of insanity Wednesday in her second murder trial for the bathtub drownings of her young children.

Yates, 42, will now be committed to a state mental hospital, with periodic hearings before a judge to determine whether she should be released. An earlier jury had found her guilty of murder, but the verdict was overturned on appeal.

The defense never disputed that Yates drowned her five children one by one in the bathtub of their Houston-area home. But they said she suffered from severe postpartum psychosis and, in a delusional state, believed Satan was inside her and was trying to save them from hell.

Yates stared wide-eyed in court Wednesday as the verdict was read. She then bowed her head and wept quietly.

The children's father said the jury had reached the right conclusion.

"The jury looked past what happened and looked at why it happened," Rusty Yates told reporters outside the courthouse. "Prosecutors had the truth of the first day and stopped there. Yes, she was psychotic. That's the whole truth."

Rusty Yates divorced Andrea Yates after the children's June 2001 deaths and recently remarried. He said they are still "friends" and reminisce about the children.

The jury, split evenly men to women, deliberated for about 12 hours over three days before reaching its verdict. On Wednesday, the jurors listened again to the state definition of insanity and asked to see pictures of the five young children: baby Mary, 2-year-old Luke, 3-year-old Paul, 5-year-old John and 7-year-old Noah.

Prosecutors had maintained that Yates failed to meet the state's definition of insanity: that a severe mental illness prevents someone who is committing a crime from knowing that it is wrong.

The jury had not been told that if they found her insane that Yates would be committed to a mental institution for treatment. If found guilty of murder she would have faced life in prison.
"I'm very disappointed," prosecutor Kaylynn Williford said. "For five years, we've tried to seek justice for these children."

In her first trial, Yates was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison. An appeals court overturned the conviction last year because erroneous testimony about a "Law & Order" television episode that didn't exist could have influenced the jury.

Defense attorneys presented much of the same evidence as in the first trial, including half a dozen psychiatrists who testified that Yates was so psychotic that she didn't know her actions were wrong. They said that in her delusional mind, she thought killing the youngsters was right.

Some testified about her two hospitalizations after suicide attempts in 1999, not long after her fourth child was born. At the time, the family lived in a converted bus. Dr. Eileen Starbranch, a psychiatrist, again testified about how she warned Yates and her husband not to have more children because her postpartum psychosis would probably return.

Yates' stayed in a mental hospital for about two weeks in April and 10 days in May 2001. Psychiatrists testified that she was catatonic and wouldn't eat and that her postpartum condition from Mary's birth in November worsened after her father died in March.

Yates did not testify. But a few state and defense psychiatrists who evaluated Yates played some videotaped segments for jurors.

During a July 2001 jail interview, Yates told psychiatrist Lucy Puryear that her children had not been progressing normally because she was a bad mother, and that she killed them because "in their innocence, they would go to heaven."

The state's key witness was Dr. Michael Welner, a forensic psychiatrist who interviewed Yates for two days in May. He testified that Yates killed the youngsters because she felt overwhelmed and inadequate as a mother, not for altruistic reasons.

Welner said that although Yates may have been psychotic on the day of the murders, it wasn't until the next day in jail that she talked about Satan, wanting to be executed and saving her kids from hell. He said the hallucination may have been triggered by the stresses of being naked in a cell on suicide watch and realizing what she had done.

Welner said Yates knew her actions were wrong and showed it in multiple ways: waiting until her husband left for work to kill them, covering the bodies with a sheet and calling 911 soon after the crime.

Prosecutors also brought back a key witness from the first trial, Dr. Park Dietz, the forensic psychiatrist whose testimony led to her conviction being overturned. The judge barred attorneys in this trial from mentioning the earlier testimony problem.

Dietz again testified that Yates knew killing her children was wrong because she knew it was a sin.


Lessons Learned:

1. In Texas, Drowning your own five children is understandable if you are a woman... especially if you're also a raving psychotic.

2. If you want your children to go to Heaven, you should drown them in a bathtub as soon as possible so Satan cannot corrupt them when they get older.

3. After multiple suicide attempts, it's always a good idea to have another baby... even if you happen to be living in a bus.

4. When your wife kills your five children after you leave for work, you should divorce her. Then, you should remain "friends" with her and share good memories of those children.

5. If you are a mother who feels "overwhelmed and inadequate", you can easily get rid of your kids by drowning and "saving" them. Afterwards, all you have to do is talk about Satan a lot, cry a bit and claim insanity. At the most, you'll just have to talk to some psychiatrists and take a few pills.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Today at about 3:30pm, I got a sudden overwhelming feeling that something bad is going to happen soon. Something big. Perhaps some kind of natural disaster...?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Hello Goodbye

I am always aware of my tendency to overanalyze every minor event in everyday life. I have learned to accept that about myself. It's just what I do; it's who I am. Yet I try not to go overboard with it as often as I have the urge to. However, I have recently been noticing something happening around me. Something that has begun to concern me...

Many of my friends don't seem to be interested in associating with me any longer. It's almost as if I was added to the universal shitlist recently without my knowledge. I can feel many people making casual excuses, taking steps back, and cutting me from their lives one snip at a time. Perhaps they're trying to erase me completely from the albums of their lives. It's as if they are fed up and annoyed with me and anything I stand for. And the worse part about all this... I have no clue what I did to deserve it. If I could find out just what went wrong, I might be able to fix it...

Then again, how can I change what I am? And honestly, why should I have to?

Monday, July 17, 2006

All You Need

"I love you."

This, they often say, is what you should tell those you love every chance you get. But somehow, I'm still not quite convinced. It seems to me the more you say it, the more generic - and therefore meaningless - it becomes. Allow me to explain...

Let's say there are two [male/female] couples. Let's also say that both couples are very much the same... Man A loves Woman A. He reminds her of his love every time they meet for dinner. Everytime they kiss or escape to the lake for a swim. This is convenient for Woman A, like it's her own personal Disney movie. But soon enough, she begins to find it somewhat annoying. Man A picks up on this. So he begins to say it even more often, thinking it will convince her of his love. She eventually gets even more annoyed, and their feelings towards each other start to change. She begins feeling trapped in this "love". He feels her slowly slipping away, and doesn't know what else he can do to express himself to her. They eventually drift apart and end the relationship on a sour note.

Man B. He has been dating Woman B for a couple months now, and he's really beginning to fall for her. However, he doesn't want to rush along too hastily and risk losing what they have. So he decides to keep his feelings locked away for awhile, all the while analyzing and sorting them out in his head. She begins to wonder if he cares for her the same way she does for him. He appears to be in love with her, but he hasn't admitted to it yet. Why won't he say it?! Is she not beautiful enough? Is he having second thoughts? She just wants to hear the magical words spill from his mouth. Even if just once...

An irrelevant amount of time passes. Their feelings have only grown stronger for each other. So one random night, as they're walking through the park, Man B decides to stop and look out over the bright city lights. This is what Woman B secretly likes so much about him. He's not scripted. There is no Hallmark card dictating his every move. He remains somewhat of a mystery to her. Then suddenly, it happens... He takes her hand and stares into her eyes. With a slight but affectionate schoolboy crack in his voice he softly tells her, "I'm in love with you. ........ I fucking love you." He then kisses the top of her hand.

So my question to you is this: Woman A or Woman B... who do you think appreciates her "I love you"'s more?

Just for the record, I'd much rather be Man B.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006


  • My license tabs are due to be renewed this month. So I go to get it taken care of online... but no. It gives me some shit about an emissions test not being on file. So I find out I have to go into another town, try to find the emissions place, get the test done during the week (when I'm supposed to be working of course), pay them for it, turn around and come back to my town, try to find the liscensing place here, have them put my new emissions test on file, and pay them even more to get my new stupid fucking little bullshit tabs... And apparently I have to do it within the next two weeks.
  • My computer is still fucked up. I'm so happy that I just renewed my Norton Antivirus Security; barely two months ago. Especially since it didn't bother to protect my computer from the worm/virus/trojan horse I now have. Thank you, Norton. I finally found an email address for customer service and wrote them a few paragraphs. A couple days later I get a note back saying how they can't help me and I need to talk with someone else. So after another wasted hour or so of digging for a different place to write to, I finally find one. So I just wrote it all out again. And I can't wait until I hear how they can't help either...
  • Some of you know that we went up and jammed both days last weekend. We sounded pretty good and did a whole bunch of interesting stuff. We've been really looking forward to hearing the mixes because we think we have some keepers in there. Well, I find out today that the mix was fucked up, even though it checked out fine while we were recording. The bass did not record. The drums are too hot... Basically, nothing turned out good enough to even listen to. Major drag. Next time, perhaps.
  • If you didn't know, Steely Dan is playing in the area later this month. I found out a few weeks back and have really wanted to go. However, it was short notice, and the tickets are $125+. Now normally I'd still go, but I just can't afford that right now. Bad timing. So I held off this time and reminded myself that at least I'll get to see John [Mayer] in late September... Well, tickets for John's show went on sale this morning....... yes, a WEDNESDAY ......... at about 9:00 am.......... which of course is exactly when I start work. Right away, there goes any possibility of me getting a good seat. Why they can't go on sale on a Saturday like they usually do, I'm not sure. But you know what, it doesn't even matter that much anymore. I can't even afford to spend that $100 or so this week either. And now it looks like I won't get to see John this time at all.
  • The Forth of July -- thought of as my favorite day -- was the worst one I can ever remember. Traditionally, I go up to my grandparents' house on the lake to watch the fireworks. Everyone around the lake throws parties and tries to out-do everyone else with the size of their... show. But I didn't even go this year. There's no point when I have to work the next morning. We all know the show doesn't even begin until it gets dark... so how the hell can people actually enjoy it when they're supposed to be going to bed early? I have a personal message for the government: "Hey, how about we give people the Fifth off as well so they can actually enjoy and celebrate the Fourth?!? Oh, and also.... you guys fucking suck sometimes! ... Make that most of the time. But then again, what do you really care? You're getting paid. That's all that matters, right?". *In Money We Trust*

I stress out about things like this all the time. And on top of all of that, I've just been feeling really bad lately. I feel like I did back in April, when everything seemed to fall apart at the same time. It's happening again, and I don't know how to stop it. Maybe it's all in my head. Maybe it's due to the fact that I don't even feel like drinking anymore. Maybe it's in my void of a career and lack of desire to be stuck doing any one thing. Or maybe it just has to do with the way I routinely cut myself off from the world and fail to understand its people. It's what I do best.

I don't know.

But one thing I do know is that sometimes I'm really fucking tired of life and everything associated with it. It's not supposed to be this complex and tedious.

Monday, July 3, 2006

Random Shit (Vol 102)

Okay, so I stumbled across my last entry...... and decided that I really ought to lay off the Yukon Jack for awhile.

I had a nice weekend. Went up to Everett to jam both days. We think we got some good recordings, but we haven't gotten to check them out yet. Soon...

I signed back up with BMG Music to get some more "free" CDs. Don't worry, I understand they're not actually free. I am well aware of all the catches. I know what I'm doing. And $19 (for shipping) is not bad for seven brand-new CDs I've been wanting:
  • "Human After All" - Daft Punk
  • "Riot On An Empty Street" - Kings Of Convenience
  • "Whatever And Ever Amen (Expanded Edition)" - Ben Folds Five
  • "Kaleidoscope" - Kelis
  • "Aja" - Steely Dan
  • "The Royal Scam" - Steely Dan
  • "Can't Buy A Thrill" - Steely Dan

So I'm looking forward to adding those to my collection. I would have also ordered Pinback's self-titled album, but it's not available. It remains near the top of my list. Oh, and that reminds me, I also rented Elizabethtown. I haven't watched it yet, but I've really been wanting to. I just love Cameron Crowe's work...

Sunday, July 2, 2006


She is alive. More alive than she ever imagined she could be. This is what it's all about.

She walks among the chosen. Shaking hands with Aaliyah. Thanking her for some great tunes. Laughing with Phil. Expressing her apprecation for the "sarcastic-slow-clapping-family" skit that she liked so much. In their previous lives, it made her laugh so hard. Oh look, here comes John, in all his imaginative glory... She sits in front of a milky grande, taking lessons from the Man himself. He shows her which keys to touch. She shows him the lyrics in her mind. They collaborate...

It's about time to meet up with Mitch. Giggling and ranting on about the tribulations of everyday life. Why was it really so fucked up? What was the point? And why did they have to share the same useless existance? What a joke it all seemed to be...

Suddenly it all makes sense. A lifetime of wondering, ended. Nothing left but answers. She knows everything she always wondered. The great beyond, nothing more than a flick of her finger. She now holds the key to the safe of our collective curiosity. If only I could speak with her. If only she could enlighten me from beyond. If only we could share a knowledge unlike anything seen before. If only...