HOUSTON – Andrea Yates' attorney rejected a plea offer Monday that would have sent her to prison for 35 years for drowning her children and avoided a retrial.
Defense attorney George Parnham said he rejected the plea offer because it doesn't guarantee Yates would receive mental health treatment.
The prosecution said the offer would remain on the table until March 10 — 10 days before Yates' capital murder retrial was to begin for the deaths of three of the five children who were drowned in 2001 in the family's bathtub.
Yates has again pleaded innocent by reason of insanity. The plea offer would require her to plead guilty or no contest to the lesser charge of murder.
Yates was convicted of capital murder in 2002, but the conviction was overturned because a forensic psychiatrist gave false testimony. Park Dietz had said an episode of television's "Law & Order" about a woman with postpartum depression drowning her children was aired shortly before the Yates children died; the episode didn't exist.
During her 2002 trial, psychiatrists testified Yates suffered from schizophrenia and postpartum depression, but expert witnesses disagreed over the severity of her illness and whether it prevented her from knowing that drowning her children was wrong.
Meanwhile, state Judge Belinda Hill ruled that Yates' attorney failed to prove any prosecutorial misconduct in the first trial. The defense had sought to prove misconduct and argue it would mean double jeopardy for Yates.
Hill said she will rule Tuesday on whether a retrial should proceed as scheduled in March in the event Parnham appeals her ruling, which the attorney indicated he would do.