Russell Yates Faces Life After His Wife's Conviction

His wife could spend the rest of her life behind bars and his five children have long been buried.

Russell Yates isn't sure what his future holds.

"I'll always support Andrea," he said Friday after jurors sentenced wife Andrea to life in prison. "I believe in Andrea. She is the kindest, sweetest, gentlest person I've ever met."

Russell Yates has stood by his mentally ill wife ever since she drowned their children in the bathtub June 20. When he arrived home that day and a police officer told him what happened, he fell to the ground and sobbed.

He said the family was disappointed by Tuesday's guilty verdict and that the life sentence wasn't much better than lethal injection. Andrea Yates won't be eligible for parole until 2041.

Her husband said he is not angry with her but wonders why she never mentioned she had thought about harming the youngsters for years. If he'd known that, he said, the couple would have stopped having kids.

After Andrea Yates' two suicide attempts in 1999, a doctor told the couple she likely would suffer from postpartum depression again if she had another child.

But Russell Yates said the couple loved children, wanted more and thought they could "nip it in the bud" by getting the same treatment if Andrea started feeling depressed again after childbirth.

He blames doctors for not prescribing the same medicine that helped after her suicide attempts. He said he knew she was depressed and sought help for her but never thought she was a danger to the youngsters.

Andrea Yates was hospitalized again last spring but was taken off anti-psychotic drugs a few weeks before she drowned her children.

"How could she have been so ill and the medical community not diagnose her, not treat her, not protect our family from her?" Russell Yates asked. "They miserably failed us."

He said he is considering suing some of her doctors.

Some have criticized Russell Yates for not helping his wife, who home-schooled the children and had little time to herself. But he said the tragedy occurred because no one recognized the severity of her mental illness.

He also said he doesn't know whether he will remain married to Andrea or how often he will visit her in prison. He said he misses the companionship of a wife and may like to have more children.

Yates also has thought about changing careers, doing something to help people. He said his job a computer specialist at NASA doesn't seem as significant anymore.

He thinks often of his lost children: Noah, 7; John, 5; Paul, 3; Luke, 2; and Mary, 6 months. Yates, who delivered the eulogy at his children's funeral, said he talks to them sometimes.

"Tonight I'll pray for the kids, talk to the kids a little bit. I'll say hello and ask them to pray for Andrea," he said. "They loved their mommy. I know they don't hold this against her. They know she was sick, and they know she loved them."