Judge Grants Bond For Yates

Andrea Yates could soon be on her way to a mental hospital and out of state custody pending her upcoming retrial after a local judge set her bond at $200,000 today. Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports.

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State District Judge Belinda Hill set the bond under the condition that Yates be taken from the Harris County jail directly to the State Mental Hospital in Rusk until her March 20th trial begins. Her attorney, George Parnham, is looking for ways to raise the $20,000 it would take to bail her out. Meanwhile, her ex-husband, Russell Yates, says Yates is doing better.

"They've found a good combination of medicines for her that have kept her pretty stable now for a little over a year, so that's been real encouraging. There was a time there where everytime I'd visit, it was like a roller coster ride. I had no idea who I was going to meet that week. Now she's pretty stable on the whole. Still pretty heavily medicated, but pretty stable."

Yates says he's against a retrial for his ex-wife and says society needs to find a different way of dealing with mentally ill people who commit crimes.

"We have to look as a society what's the most appropriate response to these types of offenses. When a mentally ill person harms someone only because they're mentally ill, what's our most appropriate response as a society? Is it the death penalty like the State sought in the first case or is it to send the person to a mental hospital and learn what we can from them to prevent future such tragedies."

Last year, an appeals court overturned Yates 2002 conviction because of faulty testimony from a prosecution witness. Both sides are still considering a plea deal, but her attorneys say any deal would have to include mental health care.

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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...