Brett Coomer / AP
Andrea Yates, flanked by her lawyers, George Parnham, left, and Wendell Odom, stood as her murder conviction was overturned by reason of insanity. Yates, who murdered her five children, will ask a judge for a two-hour weekly therapeutic pass to attend church.
It has been 10 years since Andrea Yates was first convicted of drowning each of her five children in the bathtub in a Houston suburb. Since then, her murder conviction has been overturned, she has been found not guilty by reason of insanity on retrial, and she was placed in a state psychiatric hospital. Now her lawyer says that she will ask for a pass to leave the hospital two hours a week to attend church, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Her defense attorney, George Parnham, told the Chronicle that her doctors would write a judge asking Yates, 47, for a therapeutic pass. It was unclear what church she would attend or whether she would be escorted during these visits.
Parnham said he believes she is ready to leave the San Antonio hospital, get a job and live on her own.
"I think she’s ready for outpatient care," Parnham told the Chronicle.
Yates became religious when she was dating her husband, Rusty Yates, and he introduced her to Michael Peter Woroniecki, a nondenominational preacher who influenced them to shed their possessions and move into a bus.
Parnham told ABC News that the church she requested is "180 degrees different from the ramblings of that hell, fire and brimstone preacher. She would just like to get back into a stable church whereby God and Christianity become a role in her life. There's nothing nefarious about that."
Initially, Yates was convicted of capital murder for the 2002 deaths of her children – Noah, 7, John, 5, Paul, 3, Luke, 2, and Mary, 6 months. Prosecutors at the time said she chased her eldest around the house after he watched Yates kill the other four. Yates, who had struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts, had been released from a psychiatric hospital weeks before.
Rusty Yates, Yates' husband at the time, said in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning, America" that they exchange e-mails about once a week and speak by phone every month. He has since remarried and has a son, Mark, with his new wife. He has shown Yates pictures of him.
"She's like, 'He's so cute,'" Rusty Yates said. "She was pretty excited."
He said he didn't blame her for murdering his five children.
"Even though it was horribly wrong, it was horribly hurtful to me, my family, everybody, it's really the illness, you know, that caused this, not her," Rusty Yates said on ABC. "So I can't blame her."
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