Jewish World Review March 20, 2002 / 7 Nisan, 5762
Debra J. Saunders
And now, about Russell Yates . . .
Hey, I'm ready to start a Russell Yates Vasectomy
Fund. On Friday, a jury decided that Yates' wife
Andrea, 37, will serve a life sentence in prison for
drowning the couple's five children, Noah, John,
Paul, Luke and baby Mary. She won't be eligible
for parole until 2041.
Judging by her hubby's statements, Russell Yates
will spend the rest of his life in denial.
But he may not spend the rest of his life alone. On
Friday, reporters asked Yates if he planned to
remain married. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
quoted him as saying, "I'll always support Andrea. I
don't know practically what's next. It's difficult being
separated, being without the companionship. We
won't be able to have any more children . . . I don't
Oh goodie. Russell Yates is thinking of starting a
MSNBC devoted Monday to the question of
whether prosecutors should charge Russell Yates
for allowing these murders to happen. The answer is
no. He's morally culpable, not legally guilty.
He's morally guilty because he pushed for having
more kids, even after a doctor warned that having
more children could trigger another psychotic
episode for his wife. He figured that doctors could
just give his wife a pill and her troubles would go
away. And, if they didn't give her a pill, he could still
leave his on-the-edge, recently institutionalized wife
alone with five children.
Because doctors didn't cure her preventable (by
birth control) condition, he's now considering suing.
Yates also sees himself as a victim of a gag order
that the judge imposed during the trial. Actually, he
should thank the judge. He apparently never noticed
that every time he called his wife "the kindest,
sweetest, gentlest person I've ever met," responsible
people were outraged.
Andrea's mother, Jutta Karin Kennedy, told ABC
that after the birth of the couple's fourth child,
Russell told her that he had never changed a diaper.
Now we know why Russell called Andrea "sweet."
(Not to mention why she was having trouble
You'd think that with his five children dead, Yates
would be agonizing over what he could have done
differently. Wrong. He doesn't believe in second-
guessing, he told Katie Couric. He's clear on what
doctors could have done differently. He now
complains that his suicidal wife should have told him
she wanted to harm the kids. But the only thing he'd
change about himself is he would have taken his
wife to a different hospital.
No doubt "Today's" Couric won an exclusive
interview because she once admitted she felt
"overwhelming empathy" for Andrea Yates. Maybe
they should date -- they have something in common.
During the interview, Couric used her earnest,
lean-forward voice, not the angry voice she saves
for, say, tobacco- apologist Bob Dole.
The other folks at "Today" must love him, too.
Co-host Matt Lauer questioned three jurors as to
how they could take so little time -- three-and-
a-half hours -- to render a verdict against a
defendant who had admitted killing five kids.
When reporters asked Russell Yates what he
thought of the life sentence, he answered,
"Obviously, it could have been worse with the death
penalty, but not much worse." Death wouldn't be
much worse? The problem is that's easy for him to
Comment JWR contributor Debra J. Saunders's column by clicking here.
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© 2000, Creators Syndicate