The ex-husband of Andrea Yates, the Texas mother who drowned her five children in a bathtub in 2001 while battling postpartum depression, is speaking
The ex-husband of Andrea Yates, the Texas mother who drowned her five children in a bathtub in 2001 while battling postpartum depression, is speaking out again 22 years after their deaths to call for prosecutors to drop charges against Lindsay Clancy, a midwife mother who is now facing charges for killing her three kids.
Andrea drowned the five children she shared with Russell ‘Rusty’ Yates in Houston in 2001. She was battling postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis and schizophrenia. She was convicted of five counts of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison, but the verdict was overturned in 2006, when she was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
For the last 16 years, she has been receiving care in a mental hospital, and declines eligibility for release every year.
Russell – who divorced Andrea in 2015 but always said he had forgiven her, appeared on Chris Cuomo’s NewsNation show as Lindsay Clancy, 32, prepared for court.
He has long maintained that his wife’s criminal trial was the ‘cruelest thing’ he had ever witnessed.
Russell ‘Rusty’ Yates is speaking out 22 years after the deaths of his five kids to call for prosecutors to drop the charges against Lindsay Clancy, a Massachusetts mom now on trial for strangling her three kids while battling postpartum depression
Lindsay Clancy was arraigned from her hospital bed yesterday. She is paralyzed after trying to kill herself by jumping from a top floor window of her home
He says women who suffer with postpartum depression should not face criminal prosecution, because it’s a sickness.
‘If I were driving our Suburban down the street and had a heart attack and swerved into oncoming traffic and everyone in the car died but me, would they prosecute me for capital murder and rub my face in crime scene photos? Of my children?
‘I don’t think so. But to me, it’s 100% exactly the same.’
Yates went on to explain how the psychosis had been explained to him by psychiatrists.
‘It’s much like having a dream or nightmare overlaid on reality so that a person sees things that aren’t real, hears voices that aren’t real, believes things to be true that aren’t true and they act on that.
‘It’s every bit a part of their reality as everything else – they can’t distinguish between those thoughts and images and voices and anything else,’ he said, explaining the psychosis that overtook his wife.
‘Andrea was a wonderful mother. When someone acts so out of character like that it’s a flag that something else is going on. As far as forgiveness goes, it’s kind of the start.
‘If something is completely out of character, this can’t be right.
‘At the time, I did not know that she’d been psychotic, I did not know what psychosis even was or what the symptoms were.
He also rejected the idea that husbands or partners can protect their children from harm, saying: ‘You can do all you can but you really can’t protect yourself from a psychotic person at home.
‘They can get up in the middle of the night and light the house on fire or poison everyone.
The Yates family portrait (before baby Mary was born), left, and husband Russell ‘Rusty’ Yates outside his home the day after his children were murdered
The Yates’ boys, from left: Paul, three, John, five, Noah, seven, and Luke, two, dressed up for Halloween the year before they were drowned in the bathtub by their mother
Six-months-old Mary Yates, killed by her mother along with her four older brothers. Andrea Yates was said to be suffering from postpartum depression when she drowned her children in 2001
Andrea Yates, now 57, was first convicted of murder but this was overturned on appeal in 2006. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity and has since been in a psychiatric hospital. Last year, she turned down early release, opting to stay in hospital
‘The next step of forgiveness (for other people), I’d say, is understanding it’s a sickness, that but for her sickness, she would never, ever, ever would have harmed our children.’
Andrea was found guilty of capital murder and was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole following the 2001 deaths of her children.
That verdict was overturned following appeals from her lawyers and at a new trial in 2006, she was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.
The following year, she was sent to the Kerrville State Hospital. She has remained there ever since.
Every year, she is eligible for review to determine whether she should be released.
She waives that review annually, choosing instead to stay in treatment.
In 2015, she and Rusty finalized their divorce.
Her only conditions were that she be given the right to be buried near her children, and that she receive a nursing chair she used when the kids were alive and young.
Clancy, 32, strangled her three children, Cora, five, Dawson, three, and Callan, eight months, at the family home on January 29. She then cut her own wrists and jumped from a window on the top floor of the house.
Her husband Patrick, who she had sent out to collect takeout food, returned to find her lying in the backyard, and the kids dead in the basement.
Lindsay Clancy with her husband Patrick and their oldest children, Cora, five, and Dawson, three. She
After strangling the kids, Lindsay tried to cut her own wrists. She then jumped from a window at the family home. Baby Callan, eight months, died in the hospital. Cora and Dawson died at home
Patrick, Lindsay’s husband, has forgiven her. He is shown with the children, Cora, five, Dawson, three, and Callan, eight months
The Clancy home in Duxbury, Massachusetts, where the children were killed in the basement
Lindsay is now paralyzed in the hospital. Her attorneys say that she’d been prescribed a crippling cocktail of medication in the last eight months, and that they robbed her of her personality and feelings.
Merciless Massachusetts prosecutors claimed in court that the attack on the children was premeditated, and that she deliberately sent her husband out of the house far enough away to allow her time to kill them.
Her husband, Patrick, has forgiven her, and is asking others to do the same.
In a GoFundMe page set up after the tragedy, he said his wife loved their children, and had succumb to a mental illness.
Lindsay’s attorney yesterday begged a judge not to send her to prison, citing her ongoing need for extensive medical attention.
‘She is not OK, at all. She suffered several, severe spine fractions. She is not expected to recover meaningful function below that level of the spinal chord.
‘She’s paraplegic, unable to move her legs or feel sensation. She is paralyzed.
‘She needs significant medical treatment,’ he said, begging the court not to jail her and instead allow her to be sent to a medical rehab center.
The judge also acknowledged that she has no criminal record – never even incurring a speeding ticket – and that she’d received a groundswell of support.
He ordered that she be allowed to remain in the hospital until doctors deem her fit enough to leave, but that she should then likely go to a 24/7 medical rehab facility.
Clancy’s attorney entered a not guilty plea on her behalf.
He does not dispute that she strangled the children, but says her deteriorated mental health and the influence of the drugs she’d been taking are to blame – not her.
‘Our society fails miserably in treating women with post partum depression or post partum psychosis.
‘It’s “medicate, medicate, medicate”.
‘Throw the pills at you and see how it works,’ he said. She will return to court on May 2.
A sea of tributes for the children were left outside the home following their deaths