Yoder, Canadian woman married at mental hospital

Southeast Missourian, Dec. 10, 2002

CHESTER, Ill. — It was a jailhouse wedding, but with a slightly different locale.

The nuptials took place Sunday at the Chester Mental Health Center, three days after a Randolph County jury decided that 12-year mental patient Rodney Yoder was mentally ill and too dangerous to be released.

“It wasn’t a typical marriage, but I’m in love with her and she’s in love with me,” Yoder said.

A Scientologist minister presided over the ceremony while three guards stood watch. The groom has written more than 100 letters to public officials threatening to kill them. The bride is Canadian Millie Strom, who has lobbied for Yoder’s release. Strom, 50, is a member of the anti-psychiatry movement and was married to legendary bluesman John Lee Hooker for five years.

Yoder attracted national media attention last week when he put “psychiatry on trial” during his commitment hearing in which he argued that there is no such thing as mental illness. The jury deliberated for just over an hour before reaching its verdict.

Working on transfer

“She’s my family now,” Yoder said. “She’s my son’s stepmother. She’s meeting with administrators this minute to see about getting me transferred to another facility.”

The wedding vows were slightly different, Yoder said.

“Originally, the minister was going to say we were gathered in a holy place,” he said. “But we took that out immediately. I wanted to say we were gathered in a psycho-prison, but we decided against it.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday December 12, 2002.
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