In the tradition of In Cold Blood, The Executioner's Song,
and A Civil Action, Suzanne O'Malley exposes the human
mystery of the most horrifying crime in recent history and
the legal drama surrounding it.
As a journalist, Suzanne O'Malley began covering the
murders of Noah, John, Paul, Luke, and Mary Yates hours
after their mother, Andrea Yates, drowned them in their
suburban Houston home in June 2001. Over twenty-four
months, O'Malley interviewed or witnessed the sworn
testimony of more than a hundred participants in this
drama, including Yates herself; her husband, Rusty Yates;
their families; attorneys; the personnel of the Harris
County district attorney's and sheriff's offices; medical
staff; friends; acquaintances; and expert witnesses.
O'Malley argues persuasively that under less extraordinary
circumstances, a mentally ill woman would have been quietly
offered a plea bargain and sent to an institution under
court supervision. But on March 12, 2002, Andrea Yates was
found guilty of the murders of three of her five children.
She is currently serving a life sentence and will not be
eligible for parole until 2041.
O'Malley's exclusive personal communications with Andrea
Yates and her interviews with Rusty Yates allow her to
offer fully realized portrayals of people at the center of
this horrifying case.
In "Are You There Alone?" O'Malley makes a critical
contribution to our understanding of mental health issues
within the criminal justice system.