Andrea Yates Retrial Postponed - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/20/06-Houston

Andrea Yates Retrial Postponed

A judge on Monday delayed Andrea Yates' murder retrial until June to allow two defense witnesses to testify.

Jury selection had been scheduled to begin Monday for the trial in the bathtub drowning deaths of Yates' five children, who ranged in age from 6 months to 7 years.

But late last week, Yates' attorneys asked state District Judge Belinda Hill to reschedule the trial because two defense experts wouldn't be able to testify if the trial began as scheduled.

Attorneys George Parnham and Wendell Odom said the psychiatric experts are extremely important to their defense and to try Yates without them would "deny her a fair trial."

On Monday, Hill set jury selection for June 22, with testimony to begin June 26.

Yates was convicted of murder in 2002, but the conviction was overturned because a forensic psychiatrist gave false testimony.

She again pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity for her second trial. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.

Yates' former husband, Rusty Yates, divorced her in March 2005, three years after she was sentenced to life in prison in the deaths of the five children.

Rusty Yates married Laura Arnold, 41, during a private ceremony Saturday at the church where they met.

The church minister said Yates chose to move on with his life while resisting temptation to pity himself.

On Monday, Parnham told CBS's "The Early Show" that doctors monitored Andrea Yates' mental state after she learned her ex-husband remarried.

"I spoke with the doctors yesterday when I saw the photographs in the paper," he said. "They took the proper measures to make certain that she would not decompensate."

Parnham said his client is "the best that I've ever seen her" due to "excellent care" in the state prison system and the state mental health system.

"Continued hospitalization for Andrea will help her withstand the pressures and rigors of one more time of going back to this situation in front of a jury and in front of the public," Parnham said.

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