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Father of Slain Children Speaks

June 21, 2001

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HOUSTON (AP) _ The husband of the woman accused of drowning their five children said tearfully Thursday that he supports her because her severe depression had driven her to kill.

``One side of me blames her because she did it, but the other side of me says she didn’t. ... She wasn’t in the right frame of mind,″ Russell Yates told reporters.

Pointing to Andrea Pia Yates on a family picture, he said, ``The woman here is not the woman who killed my children.″

Ms. Yates, 36, was charged with murder Wednesday night in connection with the deaths of the children, all apparently drowned in a bathtub.

Authorities said she summoned police Wednesday and led an officer to a bed in a back bedroom. Found under a sheet were the wet bodies of Mary, 6 months; Luke, 2; Paul, 3; and John, 5. The fifth child, Noah, 7, was found in a bathtub.

Her husband, a computer specialist at NASA, arrived about the same time as police but was kept out of the home. His wife was later led away in handcuffs from the one-story Spanish-style home.

Thursday, Yates said his wife’s father died recently, and ``that really sent her spiraling down.″ Medication that had worked for her during an earlier bout of depression after their fourth child was born did not work as well, he said.

``She loves our kids,″ he said. ``Anybody who knew her knew that.″

``I want to help her through this,″ he said. ``I want to show her I love her and support her.″

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