Along the Tracks

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

The mind of a killer, part 2 -

Russell’s responsibility

The actions of Andrea Yates killed her five children, and she rightly is being held responsible for those actions. But few such crimes take place in a vacuum. And this is wear Andrea’s mental illness should be considered.

By all accounts, Andrea was sick for a long time. She suffered from post-partem depression after giving birth to her children. She had attempted suicide. She had seen mental health experts and doctors in reference to her illness. She took medication.

According to Russell Yates, Andrea’s husband, she was not capable of caring for the children. She often needed assistance in completing even rather simple tasks.

It is this backdrop which fills in the scene of this horrible crime. And when this complete picture is viewed, it is hard to deny a large burden of responsibility to the person most able to have averted the crime: Russell Yates.

Russell claims Andrea was incapable of watching their five children, due to her illness. Yet he allowed this woman to be the only adult in the house while he went to the grocery. At a minimum, he was criminally negligent to his own children.

The full picture actually cries out for a more severe judgment of Russell. His wife’s problems were well known before most of the children were born. Each birth brought with it a rising tide of crippling depression. Yet he convinced (brainwashed?) Andrea time and again to become pregnant. His cruelty to his children, leaving them alone with Andrea that day they were murdered, was preceded by years of cruelty to his deeply-troubled wife. Those seeds of pain he so selfishly planted yielded a harvest of death.

Now Russell rides the talk-show circuit. His own evil and neglect have helped make him a star. Just as it was right for Andrea to be convicted of the murders, Russell should be prosecuted for his abuse and his negligence. His next victims remain at risk while he walks the streets.

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