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Interview With Karin Kennedy, Brian Kennedy

Aired January 11, 2005 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, five dead, 13 confirmed missing in southern California as historic rainfall brings killer mudslides and raging floods while rescue workers desperately search under mud as deep as 30 feet. So far, ten people pulled out of alive. We've got the latest from the disaster zone with reporters, emergency officials and a single mom whose house got washed away. Then a primetime exclusive. What kind of woman drowns her own five children? Andrea Yates did just that. Now that her conviction was overturned a few days ago, her mother Karin Kennedy and her brother Brian Kennedy share intimate emotional insights in their first primetime interview, all next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: We begin with the weather situation in California. A series of storms has turned southern California into a giant flood zone and triggered killer mudslides. Take a look at one example.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of here! No, I am not! It's coming down!


KING: Joining us in La Conchita, California is Ted Rowlands, CNN correspondent. In Sacramento is Brandi Rigsby, single mom whose cabin was destroyed by a flash flood mudslide Sunday night and in La Conchita is Chief Bob Roper of the Ventura County Fire Department. Ted, what happened?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Larry, this mudslide that you saw the video of just gave way. This hillside just gave way and created an avalanche of mud that literally consumed 15 homes and trapped dozens of people and now a day and a half later, the search and rescue continues here. The hope is starting to wane as time goes by. They are hoping that they can find a miracle. They're working around the clock. They have made some dramatic rescues. Three people spent a considerable amount of time in air pockets, they were able to find them using listening devices and pull them out alive.

It was really miraculous. They're hoping they can do the same thing here. As I can say, the optimism is starting to wane as time goes by. The stories are getting more depressing as they come to fruition. We heard from a neighbor that there is a single father, who is missing, one of the 13 missing, leaving behind three children. Another heartbreaking story of a man that left his home just moments before the slide to go get ice cream for his children. He turned, watched the mud come down and consume his house. His wife, his father and his three daughters all inside the house. He has been looking desperately to no avail for the last two days for his family.

KING: Chief Bob Roper of the Ventura County Fire Department, with all the rain that was occurring, was there anybody thinking this could happen?

CHIEF BOB ROPER, VENTURA COUNTRY FIRE DEPT.: Constantly, in this area, it's prone to slippage. But we had the same slippage in 1995, lower on the mountain. At that time, there was devices put up to monitor, if there was any slippage occurring. None was detected. This slide happened outside of that zone, at the very top of the mountain, about 600 feet above the prior slide. There was no indication, no crack in the earth that this was happening.

KING: Brandi, where was your cabin, what happened and where were you?

BRANDI RIGSBY, SINGLE MOM LOST HOME IN MUDSLIDE SUNDAY NIGHT: My cabin is in Crestline, southern California, in the San Bernardino mountains. Fortunately, my son and I were in Reading at the time, and apparently, it rained so heavily over a two day period, about 30 inches, I guess the hill behind my residence caved in and inundated my house with about 15 feet of mud. Basically, I don't have a home anymore.

KING: Have you seen any pictures or shots of it?

RIGSBY: I have not yet. I'm not so sure that I'm ready. That's my entire livelihood. Other than my son, that is the greatest possession that I have. I'm not quite ready to see it.

KING: You didn't live there?

RIGSBY: It is my residence.

KING: It is?

RIGSBY: I live there, however, I've been living in northern California. I am a student also and I work full time so I was trying to make a better life for my son and myself. At the time, fortunately, it was vacant, nobody was living in it.

KING: Any valuable possessions in it?

RIGSBY: Everything I own.

KING: Other than what you had with you in northern California is gone?

RIGSBY: Yes. All my furniture, all my family pictures, all of my paperwork, everything. I don't have much in northern California. I'm staying with my parents now. I just brought up what I needed. I had planned to return and pick up more of my belongings, but I never had that chance.

KING: Did you realize the treacherous nature of that area, with regard to weather?

RIGSBY: Yes. I've lived there for about eight years. I'm used to the snow. It never really bothered me. I'm used to the rain. We've never had that amount of rain in such a short period of time. We also suffered the fires a year and a half ago. I think that just changed the whole outlook of the mountain.

KING: What do you do now?

RIGSBY: Pick up and -- I don't know. That's everything that I have, and I am just thankful I have my son. I want to rebuild. That is my hometown. I have many friends and family there. I do want to rebuild. I'm not sure how that's going to happen. I'm having difficulty with the insurance company. I don't know. It may be a total loss. I'm not sure what will happen.

KING: Chief Roper, firemen are trained for fire. Are they trained for this?

ROPER: Yes, Larry. What we have is our special urban search and rescue teams specifically trained for collapsed rescues to deal mainly with earthquakes. This is something we have been training for for a long time along with the mutual aid agencies out of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles City and Long Beach here today. This is an earthquake-type situation but caused by a landslide.

KING: Any hope for more survivors?

ROPER: Every hour the chances diminish but right now the rescuers are still finding some voids in the rubble piles that as they look at them, if somebody was in there, they could have survived. So with that we still will hold out hope and we're still going to keep this in a rescue effort at least for the next 24 hours.

KING: Ted, any danger of more bad weather?

ROWLANDS: Well, it doesn't look like there's going to be any more significant precipitation in terms of the next few days which is a key component to this. In fact, during this rescue operation, because of heavy rains, geologists basically cleared the entire area because they thought that firefighters and other rescue personnel were in harm's way, possibly. There really was some concern about this hillside. Now, with the dry weather, at least for now, that threat has gone away. As the chief said, they're going to work around the clock until they switch modes here in this operation.

KING: Brandi, are you insured?

RIGSBY: I have insurance, however, I've been told that I do not have flood insurance, which is not something those of us in the mountains would have normally purchased. This is not a normal occurrence. So I don't know at this point. I don't believe so.

KING: We wish you the best of luck. We'll be following up on this. Ted Rowlands and Chief Roper, thank you. Chief, keep up the good work. Ted Rowlands in La Conchita. Brandi Rigsby in Sacramento and Chief Bob Roper in La Conchita. We'll take a break and come back and meet Karin Kennedy and Brian Kennedy the mother and sister (sic) respectively of Andrea Yates. Don't go away.


KING: Welcome back. Just to get you caught up to speed, last week the Texas First Court of Appeals reversed Andrea Yates murder convictions for the 2001 deaths by drowning of three of her children. Prosecutors said they'll seek a rehearing or appeal it. Thus far, Andrea's attorneys are not seeking to have her released from prison. On June 20th, 2001, Andrea Yates called police to her home, showed them the bodies of her drowned children, Noah 7, John 5, Paul, 3, Luke 2 and Mary six months. In March of 2002, a Houston jury rejected her insanity defense, convicted her of capital murder in the three deaths for she was charged. Andrea subsequently sentenced to life in prison.

Karin, did you know Andrea was having problems?

Yes, we did.

KING: For a long time?

KARIN KENNEDY, MOTHER OF ANDREA YATES: Well, ever since, I think she was sick with each child.

KING: Postpartum?

K. KENNEDY: Postpartum, yes.

KING: How did you hear about what happened?

K. KENNEDY: On the news, was it?

BRIAN KENNEDY, BROTHER OF ANDREA YATES: Of the tragedy -- from me.

KING: How did you hear, Brian?

B. KENNEDY: Debbie Homes (ph) phoned -- called me up at the house and I happened to turn it on and there was a helicopter over the house. Didn't identify the house or the address, just said the house. But when they said of the street, the street name of Beachcomber, put one and one together and came up with the conclusion, especially when they said there was several children there.

KING: Did you ever fear your niece and nephews were in trouble?

B. KENNEDY: No. Not any physical danger. I think that after Andrea tried to commit suicide a few times, I thought that maybe -- maybe she'd try to hurt herself if somebody wasn't watching her, but with never the children. Never the children.

KING: And you, Karin?

K. KENNEDY: No. No. It wasn't planned or anything, because several weeks before that, we had gone and she had bought some school desks for the children. I think she bought three.

KING: So, you just think she just flipped out?

K. KENNEDY: Yes. Yes.

KING: Have you seen her recently?

K. KENNEDY: Last Saturday.

KING: So after the conviction was overturned.


KING: Tell us what -- how she's doing and what did she say?

K. KENNEDY: She's doing fine. And she doesn't know what's going to happen, and we can't tell her anything, because we're not sure either. They -- I think they're trying to measure her for clothes to get her ready to ship her to Houston.

KING: For another trial? Or to a mental institute.

K. KENNEDY: I guess. For whatever -- no -- whatever decision they're going to have.

B. KENNEDY: I think -- I think, that since it was overturned, that, really, I guess they're having to start from scratch. So -- so I guess she doesn't really -- I'm not sure if she's eligible to be there.

KING: Technically -- not technically, she's a not convicted person?

B. KENNEDY: Correct. Right. So everything that they've got her assigned to right now, I'm not sure if they're able legally able to do that.

KING: So, she should be in a jail pending trial, right?

B. KENNEDY: Right. Right. So, they're probably -- maybe transfer -- maybe transfer back to Houston.

KING: And the prosecution is trying to get that overruled?

B. KENNEDY: Yes, they're going to take their steps to go ahead and do the same process that Mr. Barlum (ph) did. So, they didn't agree with that decision, so they're going to go to the same court or the one higher above and try to ask them to overturn it.

KING: Were you surprised it was overturned? B. KENNEDY: No, sir, I wasn't. But I think that probably the short amount of time it took to make the decision did surprise me.

KING: Were you surprised they didn't find her guilty by insanity, Karin.

K. KENNEDY: That they did not find her not guilty?

KING: Not guilty by insanity. Were you surprised at the decision of the jury?

K. KENNEDY: Yes. And they -- one of the jurors had mentioned in the paper that until she saw the movie -- when was it -- Detes (ph) when he said about the movie being shown...

KING: "Law & Order."

K. KENNEDY: Yes. And she said, until then, she had decided to just say not guilty. But then, when she heard that statement, she decided to change her mind. So the other juror, I don't know. I mean...

KING: How do you feel about the Detes thing?

B. KENNEDY: How do I feel about it? I don't know. Just depends on which way you want me to answer that question.

KING: How do you feel?

B. KENNEDY: I don't know any -- to me, I can't think of any sane municipality that will actually pay an individual 100 and what $10,000 to do what he did. And then turn around and -- I know that what he did was to try to prove a certain point. I guess some of the credibility that he provided to the prosecutors wasn't exactly totally accurate, so...

KING: It seems obvious, Brian, without us putting an opinion, that your sister was -- is mentally ill? You'd have to be a stretch to think that this was a planned heinous criminal act, right?

B. KENNEDY: You're looking at somebody that didn't have any -- any -- I mean, what did they say at the courthouse, she had maybe one speeding ticket, no prior arrests, anything like that. No calls to law enforcement. Was a caregiver in a hospital, cancer nurse. So, something went drastically wrong.

KING: Should she have stopped having children, Karin?

K. KENNEDY: Yes. Considering that she got ill a after each one, yes.

KING: She would get more depressed after each one was born?

K. KENNEDY: Yes. Always within maybe four or five weeks.

KING: This was classic postpartum as it's termed? K. KENNEDY: Yes.

B. KENNEDY: I think that was the beginning of it, but once it got -- medical attention wasn't paid it to, I think that it probably progressed into the next illness, depression and then probably just exploded from there.

KING: Now, you visited her last week -- did you go, too? How's she -- how's her...

B. KENNEDY: Disposition is good. I mean, she's obviously a little cautious and a little concerned about maybe feeling excited about this being overturned, but I think she's always worried, too, about what may happen if another trial comes up. She really doesn't want to recount what she went through the first time. She doesn't necessarily want to move on, butt she probably thinks about it most of the time during the day.

KING: How could you not?


K. KENNEDY: She didn't want to leave. She wants to stay there.

KING: She wants to stay in the prison?

B. KENNEDY: No, no. I mean, what I think...

K. KENNEDY: I mean, where she's at now.

KING: Where is she at right now?

B. KENNEDY: Well, she's at a Skyview (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- a Skyview unit in Rusk, which is out of Lufton (ph), Texas.

K. KENNEDY: It's a psychiatric...

KING: It's a psychiatric unit of a prison, right?


KING: So, therefore she's being treated?


KING: She gets medication.

B. KENNEDY: Exactly.

KING: Is she treated well?

K. KENNEDY: She is.

B. KENNEDY: Yes, very nice at that facility. Very nice.

K. KENNEDY: She volunteers for all the jobs. And now, they have to take the job away from her because she's in protective custody now.

KING: Because she's not a -- so this is a rock and hard place in a sense. She's getting pretty good attention, but now she's not a prisoner anymore technically.

B. KENNEDY: Right.

KING: She's...

B. KENNEDY: Well, she's still -- she's still basically a prisoner because she's actually probably still technically indicted on the charges, but then again, since the conviction overturned that she still

KING: Hasn't been convicted.

B. KENNEDY: Right.

KING: She is an innocent person today? In a sense right?

B. KENNEDY: That's probably a little strong...

KING: That's a stretch.

B. KENNEDY: Yes, a stretch. But -- I mean, she understands what she did. She knows it was wrong. But then again, you know, I think that just some type of stability would be kind of nice in her life right now. I think it would be.

KING: We'll take a break, right back with Karin Kennedy, Andrea Yates mother, Brian Kennedy her brother. We'll take your calls at the bottom of the hour, don't go away.


ANDREA YATES: What was I thinking? Why did I do it?


A. YATES: Because I didn't want them tormented by Satan like I was."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was Satan tormenting you then?

A. YATES: Yes, I believe so.


A. YATES: Just the thoughts, bad thoughts.



(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RUSSELL YATES, WIFE ANDREA'S CONVICTION OVERTURNED: Althought I forgive her for what she's done, in many respects, have never blamed her, she has hurt me tremendously through her actions and it's a -- kind of place I can't go back to. It's not really a logical thought.

KING: Couldn't live with her again if she were out.

R. YATES: It's too much pain, she caused me too much pain, through her actions. Even though I understand it, even though I want the best for Andrea, eventually, I'd like her to be free.


KING: We're back with Karin Kennedy and Brian Kennedy. They are getting divorced, aren't they, Karin?


KING: What do you think of your son-in-law?

KING: Well the non-answer is an answer.

K. KENNEDY: Oh, it is.

KING: Brian, what do you think of your brother-in-law?

B. KENNEDY: Well, I wish him the best as well.

KING: Do people want him to be more emotional? What do people want, do you think, from Russell, that he didn't give them?

B. KENNEDY: What do they want from him?

KING: The public, for some reason didn't like him, media got mad at him. I'm trying to figure out what they wanted him to do? Did they want him to be angrier, did they want him to jump up? What did they want him to do?

K. KENNEDY: Well, maybe they thought he should have helped his wife more with the children.

B. KENNEDY: Probably be a little bit more attentive. I'm not sure if he's your typical or atypical type husband or man. I just personally don't think that he was there.

KING: He could have done more?

B. KENNEDY: Absolutely. Absolutely. I remember there was a time we actually -- I helped to put Andrea into the suburban of their home in Texas...

K. KENNEDY: We were the ones that took her -- Rusty drove after we put Andrea into the van to take her to the hospital.

B. KENNEDY: But it was about 20 minutes to the facility, and I was trying to explain to him about -- about depression and people suffering from depression, you know. He basically told me I was wasting his time. People with depression need a swift kick in the pants?

KING: He really said that because now he seems to have a...

B. KENNEDY: It's amazing that after the trial that it's basically come to he's a proponent of mental health issues. Many, many times, I tried to explain -- I saw what my sister was going through. Mom and I did everything short of intervention to try to get him to take her. We didn't want her life to be ended. We never thought that the children would ever be involved. After they were involved, obviously, our disappointment and anger just really swelled, because we saw her possibly trying to take her own life again. And something worse ended up happening.

KING: So you don't have a relationship with him?


KING: Did you watch him on this show?

K. KENNEDY: Yes, I did.


K. KENNEDY: I think I saw the end.

KING: Is it hard for you to watch him?


KING: Does he visit Andrea?

B. KENNEDY: Uh-huh.

K. KENNEDY: He cut it down to one Saturday a month now.

KING: How often can you see your daughter?

K. KENNEDY: Every weekend, but she gets three physical contact visits and Rusty cut it down to the first Saturday of the month now, so that's all he visits her.

KING: And you go how often?

B. KENNEDY: I usually take mom about every two weeks. I sometimes alternate with my other brother, Andrew.

KING: Does he go a lot, too?

B. KENNEDY: He goes most of the time but sometimes he's unable to make it.

KING: Karin, what was it like, though, to lose your grandchildren?

K. KENNEDY: It was a nightmare.

KING: I don't even know how we can understand what you went through when your daughter, whom you love, kills your grandchildren, who you love.

K. KENNEDY: I think my husband's death two months before had a little to do with it. Andrea was in deep depression, and she got worse when my husband died.

KING: She was very close to him?

K. KENNEDY: Oh, yes, yes. Very close.

KING: He didn't get to live to see his grandchildren killed?

K. KENNEDY: No. Thank God.

KING: How do you cope? Do you have faith?


KING: I notice you're wearing a cross. Are you a very religious person?

K. KENNEDY: No. Just normal.

KING: But you have faith that there's a God?

K. KENNEDY: Oh, yes.

KING: You, too?

B. KENNEDY: Oh, absolutely. Mom goes church every Sunday, to a Catholic church. She's probably one of the strongest people I've ever seen in my life. To lose her husband and then the children and then her daughter in a period of six months.

KING: What was andrea like growing up? What was she like as a teenager, kid?

K. KENNEDY: Always good. I mean she didn't believe in make up...

B. KENNEDY: Excelled.

K. KENNEDY: Didn't believe in smoking, drinking or anything. She was sometimes we thought a little too fussy.

KING: Was she good in school?

B. KENNEDY: Valedictorian.

KING: Did she date a lot?


B. KENNEDY: She was pretty strict. She stuck to her guns and just excelled at everything.

KING: How old is she there?

B. KENNEDY: What, about 17, 16, 17, something?

K. KENNEDY: When she went to college, wasn't it?

KING: Look at that. Now, what happened to that face, that girl?

K. KENNEDY: Warenecky (ph).

KING: Warenecky (ph)?

K. KENNEDY: Warenecky. Satan.

KING: That's your name for satan?

K. KENNEDY: No, no.

B. KENNEDY: He's a, he's a...

K. KENNEDY: You haven't heard about him?

B. KENNEDY: A preacher that -- Andrea was introduced to him through Russell?

K. KENNEDY: No, no. Russell introduced her to...

KING: He had an effect on her?

B. KENNEDY: Apparently he had some type of ways, quite a bit (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Actually he's the one that actually sold them the bus that they lived in, too.

KING: Where is he now?

B. KENNEDY: The last I heard, in Oregon.

KING: You paint him as part of the villain of the piece?

B. KENNEDY: Absolutely. I've seen some of his literature in the newsletters that were sent to the house and in all of them it seemed like they were focused downstairs instead of upstairs. He claims to be some type of religious individual but everything seemed like it focuses downstairs. He's always talking about the devil, everybody's going to hell, everybody's a sinner.

KING: And he preached to Andrea?

B. KENNEDY: He's got some type of cult following. I believe that he...

KING: Was she in that cult?

K. KENNEDY: Russell was.

KING: Russell was in...

K. KENNEDY: Well, he listened to him all the time, when they came to the colleges, to do their dance.

KING: Russell introduced him to Andrea?


K. KENNEDY: Then he said, you take over.

KING: We'll take a break and -- was that introduced at trial?

K. KENNEDY: No. I don't think so.

B. KENNEDY: I think they may have touched base on some of the religious beliefs and stuff that they were doing as part of the evidence.

KING: But he didn't testify?

B. KENNEDY: No, sir.

KING: We'll take a break and come back. We'll include your phone calls as well with Karin Kennedy and Brian Kennedy, the mother and brother respectively of Andrea Yates. Don't go away.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How would that be a way out?

A. YATES: For the children?


A. YATES: They would go to heaven and be safe up there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How would that happen?

A. YATES: After I -- after I killed them, they went up to heaven and be with God and be safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you figured that was a way out of what?

A. YATES: It's not a way out, it's just something I was told to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who told you to do that?

A. YATES: Satan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Satan told you to send your children to heaven?

A. YATES: No, to kill them. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Karin Kennedy and Brian Kennedy, the mother and brother respectively, of Andrea Yates. We're going to go to your phone calls. Do you ever feel, Karin, any guilt? Do you ever say to yourself, maybe I should have done something that I didn't do?

K. KENNEDY: Well, sometimes I feel like I should have helped them more with the children. But then I had my husband at home.

KING: Anything in growing up?


KING: So none of this happened until the first child was born, right? She showed no signs of depression or...


KING: ... until the first child? What about you, Brian, you're the brother? What do you think...

B. KENNEDY: As far as doing more?

KING: Yeah, could we have -- do you ever say to yourself, could we have done more?

B. KENNEDY: Well, I guess to a certain degree. Like I said earlier, just short of intervention, you know, push him out of the way and taking Andrea, which I think mom and I probably considered for a while, but Andrea was growing up with some very good morals. And I think that he just basically let her know where her place was at. And I think in the process, right there toward the end there, actually he was trying to maybe put some distance between the family and Andrea.

KING: Russell?

B. KENNEDY: Right. I mean, I think that maybe he didn't think that we were fitting into his line of vision, so he just kind of basically cut through -- maybe closed in or something like that, and kept her away from any type of outside influence.

KING: Let's go to some calls. Bakersfield, California. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, hello.


CALLER: When Andrea exhibited signs of depression after the birth of her children, did her mother or her brothers directly approach her husband and say exactly what they were seeing? And if so, what did he say?

KING: Good question. Brian?

B. KENNEDY: OK. Do you mind -- the last part of the question again?

KING: She said, when you saw the signs of this, did you approach her husband?

B. KENNEDY: Right.

KING: And tell him of your concerns?

B. KENNEDY: Yes. I think in some direct ways, but sometimes people are actually unapproachable and have their own views and their own ideas.

KING: Did you ever say to him, there's something wrong with Andrea?

B. KENNEDY: Absolutely. And we didn't...

KING: And what did he say?

B. KENNEDY: ... actually didn't say -- we told him. But I guess he was always thinking that she was going to snap out of it, you know, swift kick or something like that, and she was going to get better.

KING: Karin?

K. KENNEDY: No. We could never tell much.

KING: You couldn't talk to him?

K. KENNEDY: Not about Andrea or anything.

KING: Did you talk to Andrea? After the first child is born, she starts to exhibit these signs of depression.

K. KENNEDY: Yes. Yes.

KING: Did you talk to her?

K. KENNEDY: She was in Florida. No, that was John that was in Florida, that she had...

KING: He was with the space program there?

K. KENNEDY: Yes. Yes. And...

KING: Did you talk to her, Brian?

B. KENNEDY: Not after the first or the second child. I became involved after the birth of Luke, the Lukester.

KING: The Lukester?

B. KENNEDY: The Lukester, because I was kind of...

K. KENNEDY: We took care of him. B. KENNEDY: ... I had my own son, but I taught him how to smile and bounced him on the bed, because he was still actually breast- feeding with Andrea when she went into the First Hospital of Methodists. She was very depressed and down and out, and basically not communicating with the world. So we had to change his diapers, because they stayed at mom's house, and I helped take care of the children. So he always had a smile on his face when he came into the room with me.

K. KENNEDY: We had to train him to drink from the bottle, because he was breast-feeding before. And...

KING: Were they fun kids?

K. KENNEDY: Oh, yes. Yes.

B. KENNEDY: They were, but it seems like they didn't laugh as much. They were very, very highly intelligent for their age. Of course, you know, Andrea was teaching them. But I think they could have laughed more. I really do.

KING: Was she home teaching?

B. KENNEDY: Absolutely.

KING: To Las Vegas, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. I love your show.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: My question is for Mrs. Kennedy. I'd like to know what she thinks should happen to Andrea now.

KING: Karin?

K. KENNEDY: Postpartum depression.

KING: What should be done -- what should happen with her? What -- should she go to a hospital? Should she...

K. KENNEDY: Oh, now?

KING: Yeah.

K. KENNEDY: Well, she needs to be in a medical institution. Because she has been fine for the last three months, but she's had four setbacks.

KING: She still has setbacks?

K. KENNEDY: No. Not now. She went to UTNB in Galveston, that's the prison hospital there where they treat patients. And she had lost 30 pounds. She refused to eat. So they shipped her over there. And she stayed there for nine days. And it was bad, because when we came to visit her, she didn't know us. And she asked me where the children were, who was taking care of them. And then Brian asked her, he said, look out the window, you can see the beach. And she said, there's no beach in Rusk. So, she was in pretty bad shape.

KING: They -- a lot of medication she'd take, Brian?

B. KENNEDY: Yes, sir. It seems like they're switching them around quite a bit. I'm sure they know what they're doing, but they would take her off one type of medication and maybe introduce another one. And I'm not sure if it reacted the same with the other ones, but she's been doing good here lately. She has been.

K. KENNEDY: She's only on two now, isn't she?

B. KENNEDY: I can't remember.

KING: Do you think she is curable?

B. KENNEDY: Absolutely. You know, I was going to say, I don't know if I'm speaking for my mother or not, but in my heart, my family does look at the horrendous nature of the crime itself like the typical American public does, and maybe they're looking at it from the Bible point of view, an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth. But in my heart, I firmly believe that my sister is one of God's special people. It's this crime is actually terrible, and we think about it every day. But she is a very, very special person. And she has -- all of her life, she has given, she's given, given, was a cancer nurse. Why this happened to her or how it happened, we're really not completely sure. But I think -- I know in my heart that she's always going to be a giver. I mean, she feels remorse right now, but I think that if she could be medically treated and live out what's left of her life and to smell -- smell something, but I guess some people actually think that maybe she should be punished obviously for the rest of her life and then some more. But she's a very special person.

KING: How is she treated there in prison?

B. KENNEDY: Very well. Very well.

KING: The orderlies, the guards treat her well?

B. KENNEDY: The whole facility.

K. KENNEDY: The ward likes her.

B. KENNEDY: The whole facility is extremely nice. Extremely nice.

KING: How about the other prisoners?

B. KENNEDY: Well, up until recently, she was interacting and doing some work there at the prison. But I think that since the verdict was overturned, that they put her back into protective custody, just for her safe being.

KING: Because she's in a special case now, she's stuck between a rock and a hard place. B. KENNEDY: Right. But you know, when I read the papers and I read -- watch the news shows, you know, the different phases that Andrea's gone through -- Andrea wasn't born a sick mentally psycho. She wasn't. She went through this period. Andrea was a valedictorian of her school, she's highly intelligent, has extremely high IQ. But you know, the crime that she did, Andrea, when the papers project her is like some kind of psycho sicko. She's probably one of the most normal persons that you'd ever see; it's just that at a certain timeframe that she had a little difficulty. You know, I mean, some people...

KING: After the birth of children?

B. KENNEDY: Well, how about we just cordon it off between the marriage, the beginning of the marriage and whatever. Like I said before, you don't see anything in the criminal records, there's nothing. She got what, one speeding ticket. So why don't we go and just get into a timeframe. I mean, she wasn't born with...

KING: So it happened with the start of the marriage, then the birth of children?

B. KENNEDY: Well, I mean, let's go ahead and cordon it off to there. You know, like I said, when people want to sit and focus on things, why don't we get down to the nitty-gritty. You know what I'm saying? I mean, she didn't have any problems prior to that, and all of a sudden she gets married, and somewhere in that type of thing, her personality changed. I don't know why.

KING: What do the doctors say is her disease?

B. KENNEDY: Well, the latest I think is bipolar. You get a little down, you get a little bit up. You know, everybody...

KING: She's still a suicide threat?

B. KENNEDY: I don't believe so. I don't believe so. But I think that, you know, I think that anybody in this world -- they're probably not going to admit to it, some people wouldn't -- they have a bad week, they get a little down, they get a little depressed. They're probably not going to be man or woman enough to admit it, but I forget how many millions of people in this world actually suffer from depression.

KING: Of course.

B. KENNEDY: You know.

KING: We'll take a break and be right back with more of Karin Kennedy and Brian Kennedy. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yates left the house last Wednesday morning. He was already looking forward to seeing the kids after work. His last moments with the children are still frames in time he'll never forget.

R. YATES: I hugged and kissed everybody goodbye before I went to work that day. And that's how I want to remember them.




R. YATES: I think the fact that we really steadfastly supported Andrea through all this has made a big difference, you know, in terms of raising public awareness of the illness.

KING: What do you want to have happen? You want her to go to a mental institution?

R. YATES: I'd like to see them -- I'd like to see them drop the charges against her, and I'd like to see her go to a state mental hospital until she is well, and safe.


KING: Is that what you want, Brian? Do you want her moved to a state mental hospital now? That was before it was overturned. Now, it's been overturned. Would you like the prosecution to say, OK, we'll make a plea bargain with you. She's out of prison and she goes to a mental institution?

B. KENNEDY: I'm not sure what type of procedures that they actually have to follow in the state of Texas. I mean, she seems like she's doing adequate.

KING: That's the quandary here.

B. KENNEDY: Right.

KING: Is she doing well where she is? Does she like where she is? Are they nice to her where she is? So in winning this case, did they win and lose, in a sense?

B. KENNEDY: Well, it's hard to tell, because I really don't think comfort is actually one of their concerns, you know, you're supposed to be paying for your crime. So -- but it seems like the individuals, with the exception of that one -- one lapse when she stopped eating or whatever for a while, they have been more than courteous, and it seems like it's very well over there, and then all of a sudden, you know, with this -- the conviction being overturned, that they are going to have to now go back and start...

KING: But are you glad it was overturned?

B. KENNEDY: Yes, I am. And I hope that's something...

KING: Just for the record. B. KENNEDY: I mean, we're not going to sit here and say, OK, you know, run back in the street and you're free again. I mean, obviously, Andrea knows that she has to pay for what she did. But I think that Andrea -- and maybe a lot of people will not agree with that -- I think that Andrea may have -- I hope she has a chance to be out in the free world just even for a short while.

KING: The warden liked her, right? Likes her?


KING: Told you that, right?

K. KENNEDY: Pardon?

KING: He said that, didn't he?

K. KENNEDY: He said it. It was in the paper, wasn't it? If every prisoner was like Andrea, he wouldn't have anything to worry about.

KING: Wheeling, West Virginia, for Karin Kennedy and Brian Kennedy. Hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Larry.


CALLER: Ms. Yates, Brian.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: I understand postpartum depression, but after the first killing, how do you explain Andrea's pulling each and every child thereafter into the bathtub and killing them one by one? As a parent, don't you believe at one point she should have or could have snapped out of it?

KING: That's trying to ask laymen here to understand a mental illness. Do you ask yourself that question?

B. KENNEDY: Yes, sir. But I'd say we -- I wasn't around that much for the birth of the first three children. But I did see that sort of thing in the last two. And then again, that goes back to what I said earlier, that sometimes when you speak to deaf ears, it's hard to get any type of change done. And once again, he wasn't, he wasn't -- prior to the tragedy -- a proponent of mental illness or help for it, but then...

KING: But you can't understand why she would do it one by one?

B. KENNEDY: No, I can't. No, I cannot.

KING: We may never understand that?

B. KENNEDY: Absolutely. K. KENNEDY: When she killed them, there was no way she could snap out of it. I mean, she would have known what she was doing. And she didn't.

KING: Steubenville, Ohio. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Larry, love your show.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: I'm calling, I have a question for the mother and the brother.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: If by any chance Andrea would ever get released back out into society, do you think she should be allowed to have anymore children, and why?

K. KENNEDY: No. No. It would be best not to.

KING: Brian?

B. KENNEDY: You know, Andrea's probably one of the best, just like yourself, probably, one of the best mothers with children I've ever seen. She loved all those children. Why this happened, we don't have any idea. And maybe we shouldn't want to know. But no, I think that probably, it would be best that she didn't. I don't think that she'd probably ever hurt any other child or anybody else's children, but, no, I think probably it would be best.

KING: Laguna Hills, California. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. I just wanted to make a brief comment, and that was the fact that no one understands what happened. And my personal opinion is that the medical field is always putting our adult medications and they switch these medications. And what they're not understanding are these medications are adding to depression.

KING: A lot of people believe that. Do you think that sometimes the medication is the problem?

K. KENNEDY: Yes. Yes, I think so. And Andrea was bad about taking medication. She didn't want to -- she didn't really believe in drugs. That was it.

B. KENNEDY: We got -- we got to know some individuals with a group in Texas that basically monitor those -- all those drugs and their side effects. And actually, we did a lot of research into it. And some of the side effects that are actually advertised on the medications themselves, if anybody looks at it on the Internet or anywhere, on the actual side effects, it says to beware of some of the things that actually the medications are being prescribed for themselves.

KING: Like flu vaccine causing the flu? B. KENNEDY: Exactly. Aggressiveness, this and that. Sometimes they actually prescribe medications, but if you look at the side effects, it says, beware, this may actually cause these.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Karin Kennedy and Brian Kennedy. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you think that happened?

A. YATES: Satan?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just the way I behaved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, did anyone tell you that you had some Satan in you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you saw some clues?

A. YATES: I just felt like he was inside me giving me directions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What directions?

A. YATES: About harming my children.




R. YATES: The single cruelest thing I've ever seen is having them set Andrea down in a courtroom in front of all these people, show pictures of our children's bodies and point their finger at her. That's the cruelest thing I've ever seen. And I don't think any of us want to go through that again. I know our family doesn't want go through that again. And I don't think the state does either, so I'm not sure what they're going to do.


KING: Petrolia, Ontario, hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Larry.


CALLER: First of all, my heartfelt condolences to the Kennedy family. It truly was a tragedy. I followed the case and I've always felt that Andrea didn't receive the help she so desperately needed by her husband, obviously, but also by her doctor. He knew about her problems and he just didn't seem to do his job. I was wondering how Mrs. Kennedy and Brian feel about the doctor, and has anything been done about him?

KING: Brian.

B. KENNEDY: OK, before I answer that question, I thank you for your support. I think you're right on both accounts. Again, once again, it's kind of hard to speak to so many deaf ears, that does not believe -- did not believe at that time in mental illness, to get her -- him -- to have my sister treated. Again, if you recall the earlier portion of the program, I said that I actually was trying to explain depression to this individual to begin with, and he just basically thought those people needed a swift kick in the behind.

We did everything, like I say, except for physically loading Andrea into an ambulance, and when she got to the point that she was so bad that she -- I don't think she knew who we were. And...

KING: What about the doctor?

B. KENNEDY: The doctor? Well, them at that facility, I'm not sure what the current situation...

KING: Who was her original doctor?

B. KENNEDY: I believe it was -- well, the original one was at a hospital on the other side of Houston from where she was at, and I think that that doctor -- I think Andrea was happy with and...

K. KENNEDY: Dr. Starbranch (ph)?

B. KENNEDY: Starbranch (ph). And then they -- I think because the other facility was closer to their house, they switched to (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: When she tried to kill herself, she did what, pills?

B. KENNEDY: My dad's Trazodone.

KING: Trazodone?

B. KENNEDY: Trazodone. I believe it's a sleeping pill...


B. KENNEDY: But it was my father's.

KING: Was it at your house?

B. KENNEDY: Right.


KING: And you found her?

K. KENNEDY: I was trying to wake her up for two hours, because Luke needed feeding, and she was exhausted in the bed. And I couldn't wake her up. KING: New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Larry. How are you?

KING: Fine.

CALLER: My question to the family is, I'm just wondering if Andrea has come to grips with what she has done, and if she's shown any remorse to the killing of her children?

KING: Brian.

B. KENNEDY: Yes, sir, she has. She thinks about them obviously all day every day, and she felt remorse immediately after it happened, probably during while it happened. Yes, she does, and she is terribly sorry. And she is -- she loved those children very, very much. Again, I'm not sure why this happened or what exactly contributed to it. But yes, she does miss those children.

KING: When you visit her, what do you talk about?

K. KENNEDY: Usually about what we do. And I talk about our dog. It was her last Christmas present to us, a German shepherd. And...

KING: You tell her about the dog?


KING: Neighborhood stories?

K. KENNEDY: The dog sort of goes to the door when children walk by, wagging her tail, thinking it's Andrea's children coming.

KING: Thank you both very much. I know how hard this was. I appreciate you being here.

K. KENNEDY: Thank you.

KING: Sit, Karin. Karin Kennedy, Andrea Yates' mother. Brian Kennedy, Andrea Yates' older brother. We thank them both for being with us in this very difficult circumstance. And I'll be back in a couple of minutes and tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.


KING: Tomorrow night, we'll lighten things up. Joan and Melissa Rivers will be with us.

He's back, the anchor of "NEWSNIGHT." The effervescent Aaron Brown, after -- what was that like?

AARON BROWN, HOST, "NEWSNIGHT": Oh, man, honestly, Aceh, that's the worst single experience, the worst thing I've ever seen, the worst story I've ever written about. And at the same time, it produced some of the most memorable moments of life. It's weird that way. I mean, things that happened, people I met that I'll never forget, in a positive way, and things that I saw that I'll never forget in the worst of ways too.

KING: It's good to have you back, my friend.

BROWN: Thank you, sir. It's nice to see you.


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