Andrea Yates Conviction Overturned - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/6/05-Tyler

Andrea Yates Conviction Overturned

Houston mother, Andrea Yates, found guilty of drowning her five children, has had her conviction overturned. The first court of appeals overturned the conviction today. They ruled an expert prosecution witness gave false testimony during the trial.

That witness was psychiatrist Dr. Park Dietz. The court ruled Dietz gave false testimony when he suggested Yates may have been influenced by an episode of NBC's "Law and Order." He cited an episode in which a woman suffered from postpartum depression, drowned her children in a bathtub, and was later ruled to be insane. But the defense discovered the episode did not exist.

Dietz was later a key witness in the trial of East Texan Deanna Laney, the mother accused of stoning her children to death. But unlike Yates, Deitz testified that Laney was insane at the time she killed her children. Yates attorney thinks an ongoing investigation into Deitz testimony was the reason he testified so differently in what some saw as similar cases.

"I think it was publicized that Dr. Dietz was the target of a grand jury investigation. I believe the grand jury investigation brought a certain sobering affect on Dr. Dietz. I also believe in conjunction with the peer pressure he has been under he has been forced to withstand in the psychiatric community brought a change of heart in testimony rendered in the Yates case verses the testimony in the Laney case," says George Parnham, Yates' Attorney.

Parnham also said this overturned conviction will not result in Yates being released from jail at the Sky View Unit in Rusk.

Prosecutors will now appeal this decision.

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