Andrea Yates had had 4 children previous to her last, with more severe post-partum depression and psychosis after each one. Due to her (and especially her husband's) religious beliefs, the Yates' did not use birth control. She was mostly unresponsive to medication and was under the care of a psychiatrist at the time of the murders - however, I believe that Haldol was causing improvement in her condition, but she stopped taking it just before the murders because she had intense suspicion and paranoia about taking psych meds. She believed that she was saving her children from Hell by killing them before they could be influenced by the devil. Between her intensely frightening delusions, suicidal depression, trying to take care of 5 kids which she was not mentally equiped to handle, a pretty condemning family and religious background, and under the particularly sinister influence of some radical home-made preacher, she didn't stand a chance. Some people that knew her said they were not surprised at what happened, except that most figured she would kill herself before she hurt anyone else. From what I read, her psychiatrist was pretty much completely incompetent and generally ignored her intense suicidal ideation and the fact that her condition was rapidly deteriorating.
Her first trial was a terrible travesty of justice wherein the judge disallowed almost any mention of her psych history as evidence. Andrea was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole after 40 years. Once she was put in jail, over a period of several years her mental condition improved greatly with the aid of medication and good psychiatric care. Thankfully, she won a new trial later on and was found not guilty by reason of insanity. After several years in a high-security MH unit, she is now in a low-security MH facility where she belongs -for now- and will probably gain her freedom one day in the future.
After reading a lot of info including some books by experts on the case, I realized that Andrea Yates was an intensely sick woman, surrounded by people that were completely inadequately prepared to help her. In her case she was suffering under real, diagnosable delusions of a paranoid and religious nature, and she truly, absolutely believed that by killing her kids she was saving them from eternal torment. Now that she is somewhat recovered, I cannot imagine how terrible her grief and guilt must be. She will never escape the knowledge of what she did - and the fact that it was avoidable. I have a lot of compassion for Andrea Yates. The final outcome of her ordeal was the best thing for both her and society.
Susan Smith, who caused her sleeping (she claims) kids to drown by driving her car into a lake in NC, is a whole different story. She wasn't sick, she was evil. One of the main indicators of this was her ability to conceal the car in the lake, and then falsely claim her kids were abducted at gunpoint. The icing on the cake? She said it was a black man, a sure way to distract even more attention from herself in the still racially-charged South. To me, Susan Smith's ability to act like a bereaved mother for weeks while her children were underwater out in a lake by her very own hand, marks her mind as being as sly as a fox. Not exactly a hallmark of a true psychotic state, which is defined in part by disorganization of thought and disregard for consequences. In contrast, Andrea Yates actually called 911 herself immediately after her kids died, and never denied that she did it. The 911 call was also a good indicator of her mental state - it was disjointed, disorganized, and sometimes incomprehensible. Susan Smith got life in prison which IMO is far more than what she deserved.
Just based on some of his life patterns and reactions to certain events leading up to this shooting, along with his behavior so far in court and jail, I believe that James Holmes could have a MH disorder. I suppose that he could be faking, but it's unlikely he will be able to pull it off. It's come out that he was seeing a psychiatrist, although it's unclear if that was voluntary. There are forensic psychiatrists dedicated to screening out people faking psychosis, along with tests of cognitive ability, etc., that are probably exceedingly difficult to fool. I guess the real problem is that both the defense and prosecution will be able to pay so-called psychiatric experts to testify that he is or isn't psychotic based solely on which side for which they are testifying. It's not going to be whether he is actually "crazy", it's going to be about whether the jury believes he is or not. But, again, IMO he was/is mentally ill.
Edited by egodystonic_james, 10 August 2012 - 05:17 PM.
-Cymbalta (duloxetine hydrochloride) 60 mg QAM
-Wellbutrin XL (bupropion hydrochloride) 300 mg QAM
-Saphris (asenapine maleate) 10-20 mg QHS
-trazodone hydrochloride (Desyrel) 150 mg QHS
-Vistaril (hydroxyzine pamoate) 50 mg QID (as needed)
-Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Luvox (fluvoxamine), Celexa (citalopram), Lexapro (escitalopram), Effexor XR (venlafaxine), Remeron (mirtazapine), Nardil (phenelzine), Parnate (tranylcypromine), Elavil (amitriptyline), Sinequan (doxepin), Pamelor (nortriptyline), Buspar (buspirone), Risperdal (risperidone), Zyprexa (olanzapine), Seroquel IR and XR (quetiapine), Geodon (ziprasidone), Abilify (aripiprazole), Latuda (lurasidone), Depakote (divalproex sodium), lithium, Lamictal (lamotrigine), Topamax (topiramate), Lunesta (eszopiclone), Ambien (zolpidem), Restoril (temazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam), Librium (chlordiazepoxide), Valium (diazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Artane (trihexyphenidyl), Cogentin (benztropine), Baclofen, Atarax (hydroxyzine pamoate)