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Andrea Yates Believed She Was Possessed

The Evil Inside

Report: Andrea Yates Believed She Was Possessed

ABC News, Jan. 21, 2002
http://abcnews.go.com/ Off-site Link
andrea yates, demon possession, demonology, religion news report provides news of interest to those who work in Christian apologetics and countercult ministries.  It includes information about religious cults, sects, new religious movements, and related issues, such as religious freedom, religious tolerance, and cult crimes.

Jan. 21 The Texas mother accused of drowning her five children in a bathtub last June told jail doctors she was possessed by the devil and that the sign of Satan, "666," was marked on her scalp, Time magazine reported.

A grand jury indicted Andrea Yates in July on capital murder charges in the deaths of her sons Noah, 7, and John, 5, and her 6-month-old daughter, Mary. The children, along with their siblings Paul, 3, and Luke, 2, were found dead in their home after Yates called police and allegedly confessed to drowning them.

Jury selection is continuing in her trial, with eight people five women and three men already seated. Defense lawyers are pursuing an insanity defense, and prosecutors are going to ask that Yates receive the death penalty.

According to a Time magazine investigation, Yates told police who first came to her house last June that she had just drowned her five children because "they weren't developing correctly."

Bombarded With Talk of Satan?

After her arrest, Yates reportedly told prison doctors that the death of her children was her punishment, not theirs. She said their deaths were a mother's final act of mercy, and told doctors that only her execution would rescue her from the evil inside.

Yates also said she wanted her hair shaved so she could see the number 666, the mark of the anti-Christ on her scalp.

Author Suzy Spencer, who has just written a book about the caseOff-site Link, told Good Morning America that Yates was profoundly influenced by a conservative minister, Michael Woroniecki, and his wife, Rachel, who had been close to the Yates' for years.

The minister teaches a very conservative form of Christianity that says that women should have a very subservient position in the home, and that Satan is constantly trying to drive people wrong, Spencer said. In correspondence, the couple bombarded the troubled and isolated mother with talk of Satan, and the idea that God can see people's wickedness, Spencer said.

In one letter, Rachel Woroniecki writes, "Life is so short. It is so very cruel. It is so lonely and empty. You must accept the reality that this life is under the curse of sin and death."

Spencer said she thinks that because of Yates' deteriorating mental condition, the mother of five may have taken the message more literally than she might have otherwise, somehow believing that her sadness and loneliness meant that she had been overtaken by evil.

"They constantly equate loneliness, depression, anything negative in your life is separation from God and alignment with Satan," said Spencer, the author of Breaking Point.

The trouble seemed to begin several years ago, she said.

"I think it goes back to the summer of 1998, when she and Rusty went to Florida to meet with the preacher and his wife, to look at a [motor home] they used to travel in and Rusty and Andrea were considering buying," she said.

Hammered About Faith

In talks with therapists later, Yates talked about the trip to Florida, and how at that time she first knew that the "devil had gotten into her," Spencer said. According to correspondence between Yates and the couple, they talked about Christianity and sent her religious pamphlets to help her embrace religion, and save herself.

"According to the letters that I have read and looked at and studied, they hammered her about her faith," Spencer said. "You know, it's now, you've got to do it now." Since the day of her arrest, Andrea Yates' husband, Russell Yates, has steadfastly come to his wife's defense, saying that she had been suffering from postpartum depression since the birth of their daughter last year.

Time says that Russell Yates was concerned about his wife's fixation on satanic influences but he also thought his wife was chemically weak and that her mental illness lowered her resistance to evil. He has said her depression was aggravated by the death of her father in March and that she was on antidepressant medication. She had been treated for depression, and attempted suicide after the birth of their fourth child in 1999, he added.
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» More about spiritual abuse (which is what Michael Woroniecki's teachings and practices amount to).

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