Trouble for Andrea Yates' Prosecutors

In most murder cases, I'm the first analyst out there begging anyone who will listen or even pretend to that you can never tell much about the early hours or days of jury deliberations. But in the Andrea Yates case, where the former mother from Houston is on trial again for killing all five of her children, it's pretty clear after the first full day of deliberations came and went without a verdict that things are not going the way that prosecutors had hoped. In Yates I, back in 2002, it took jurors about four hours to unanimously convict. That mark already has been doubled with no apparent end in sight.

Just before lunch on Tuesday, jurors asked to review the testimony of a prosecution expert witness who told jurors that there were dozens and dozens of reasons why they should believe that Yates knew right from wrong and therefore wasn't legally insane when she drowned her kids, one by one, in the bathtub of their home. Clearly, the members of this panel are weighing Yates' insanity defense with a level of intensity that the first jury lacked. Clearly, prosecutors figured that by now, with the jury sequestered and all, they would have their guilty. It still might come, as early as tomorrow, but it's nice to know that the serious and substantial defense that Yates got is at least causing a bit of a stir inside that jury room.

By Andrew Cohen |  July 25, 2006; 8:15 PM ET
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