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Andrea Yates, mom who killed her 5 children, seeks psychiatric hospital pass to attend church, says lawyer

Andrea Yates arrives in court for closing arguments in her retrial
Andrea Yates arrives in court for closing arguments in her retrial July 24, 2006 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images/Brett Coomer

(CBS) HOUSTON - A lawyer for a Houston woman who killed her five children says she would like time away from a psychiatrist hospital to attend church.

Attorney George Parnham told the Houston Chronicle that he expects doctors at Kerrville State Hospital next month to ask a judge for a weekly two-hour pass for Andrea Yates, 47. He expects Yates' doctors to file a letter in the next week.

Parnham hopes that eventually she'll be allowed to leave the state's care for good. State hospital physicians consider a patient's possible risk to the community before recommending a "therapeutic" pass which is the first step toward a life beyond the hospital.

Parnham believes she has been ready for years to rejoin society, including getting a job and living on her own.

"I think she's ready for outpatient care," he said.

Prosecutors say Yates drowned her children in 2001. The former nurse and stay-at-home mom had a history of psychiatric hospitalizations and suicide attempts before the June 20, 2001 incident. That is when she drowned her children, one by one, in the family bathtub. Law enforcement officials would later testified that Yates had to chase the last child, her eldest, Noah, through the family home and drag him into the bathroom.

She was convicted of capital murder and received life in prison. An appeals court in 2005 overturned the conviction and in 2006 was found innocent by reason of insanity and sent to a mental hospital.

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