Andrea Yates has checked into the Rusk State Mental Hospital in east Texas and will remain there until her March 20th re-trial. That after her release from the Harris County Jail on bond this morning, the first time she’s been out from behind bars since her 2002 conviction. Houston Public Radio’s Jack Williams reports.
Yates wore jeans and a stripped shirt as she slipped into the back seat of a car outside the downtown lock-up with her attorney and two private investigators who drove her to Rusk. She’ll receive mental health treatment at the facility, which is not part of the prison system but is secure. Attorney George Parnham says the fact that she’s been released on bond is a sign of progress.
“It means a great deal for mental health in the criminal justice system. This is virgin territory.”
Leslie Gerber is with the Mental Health Association of Great Houston and says instead of receiving treatment at a facility that is primarily a jail, Yates will be treated by mental health professionals in an actual hospital.
“She will be entering a facility which is intended to provide mental health care for people with serious mental illness and she will not be a prisoner although she will be in a secure facility. She will be getting more intensive care in a more therapeutic environment.”
Yates was convicted on two counts of capital murder, but those convictions were overturned last year by an appeals court. She’ll be returned to the Harris County Jail before her re-trial, which is expected to take about a month and a half.