Yates Attorney Says She's a Different Person Now

The attorney who represented Andrea Yates through several trials says he's confident she's fit to leave a state mental hospital to attend church services. Jack Williams has the latest on Yates' request to take trips outside a mental hospital.  

George Parnham was Yates' criminal defense lawyer after she killed her five children in a Clear Lake bathtub in 2001. He also handled her retrial in 2006 when she was found not-guilty by reason of insanity.

"Andrea wouldn't harm a fly and individuals are permitted to have passes, with the approval of the court. Obviously, if a person is not well and if a person can't adapt and accommodate to a pass, the person is not going to get a pass, is not going to be recommended for a pass."

Yates has been at a low security mental hospital in Kerrville since 2007. Parnham says her church visits would include a mental health care worker and be the first step toward more outpatient care. He says he looks at Yates as a completely different person.

"We have conversations that are almost father-daughter type conversations. I sit back and I see the Andrea Yates that I knew back in '01 and '02 and '03 and how she has progressed to the point where she can make the best of her situation as restricted as it is, but be positive."

Parnham says Yates will likely never be completely free of a mental health facility. He says he considers the proposed church visits at "baby steps" in her continuing recovery."

Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...