Special Sub-Topic: Diane Downs: Small Sacrifices
|What are the names of Diane's three children?|
Christie, Danny, and Cheryl. Christie, Danny, and Cheryl are the names of Diane's three children. At the time of this crime Christie was 8 yrs. old, Danny was 3 yrs. old, and Cheryl was 7 yrs. old. Christie and Cheryl were full siblings, while Danny was their half brother. Danny's father was a 19 year old from Chandler, Arizona.
|In what state did this crime take place?|
Oregon. The crime took place in Springfield, Oregon. Diane moved to Oregon only a month and a half before the crime.
|When did the crime take place?|
May 19, 1983. On Thursday, May 19, 1983, Diane's children were brought to the hospital by their mother. Sadly, Cheryl had expired on arrival to the hospital.
|What was the name of the hospital that the children were brought to?|
McKenzie-Willamette Hospital. The children were brought to McKenzie-Willamette Hospital. Nothing had pre-armed the hospital staff before this happened. This was the staff's first time dealing with gunshot wounds to children.
|Who did Diane say shot her children?|
A bushy-haired stranger. Diane claimed that a bushy-haired stranger shot her children. As author Anne Rule ('Small Sacrifices') states: 'If the bushy-haired stranger is ever caught, everyone in prison would be released. The bushy-haired stranger is the man no one can describe correctly, and who is always in the right place at the right time'.
|Where was Diane shot?|
Left arm between the elbow and wrist. Diane was shot in her left arm between the elbow and the wrist. Diane said that she was shot as she tried to save her children.
|Who was the D.A. that prosecuted the case?|
Fred Hugi. Fred Hugi of the District Attorney's office was selected to prosecute the case. This was his first murder trial.
|What kind of gun did forensics say was most likely the murder weapon?|
.22 Ruger Mark IV. Forensics said the most likely weapon was a .22 Ruger Mark IV. Diane claims she never owned such a gun, but her ex-husband and her ex-lover claimed that she left Arizona with the gun in the trunk of her car.
|What was the name of Diane's married lover?|
Lew Lewiston. Lew Lewiston was a married man when he became involved with Diane. When she left Arizona he stayed with his wife, Nora. During Diane's trial, Lew showed the courtroom a tattoo of a rose with his wife's name underneath. This devastated Diane. It was because of her love for him that she shot her children. Diane claimed that children were 'pure love', and she states this to this day even after she killed the 'purest love' she could ever have known.
|What was the name of the witness who was driving behind Diane on the night she shot her children?|
Joseph Inman. Joseph Inman was driving behind Diane on the night she shot her children. He states 'the car wasn't being driven critically'. One wonders if Diane even saw the car behind her.
|When did the trial begin?|
May 10, 1984. On May 10, 1984, the trial began in earnest. The trial was held at the Lane County Courthouse in courtroom number 3, the largest room in the the building. One of the reasons for the huge turnout of spectators was because Diane was pregnant yet again.
|Who was Diane's criminal attorney?|
Jim Jagger. Diane had originally wanted Melvin Belli, but this was not to be because Belli was going to Europe during the time of the trial. He asked if the trial could be postponed, but the answer was no. Diane was forced to take Jim Jagger.
|Who was the judge for the trial?|
Judge Gregory Foote. Judge Foote was the judge for the trial. This trial was considered 'a young trial' because the D.A., the defense attorney, the defendent, and the judge were all young.
|Christie Downs testified against her mother.|
t. Christie Downs testified against her mother. For a nine year old she had more courage than most people combined. She testified that her mother did shoot her, her sister, and her brother.
|What was the verdict?|
Guilty. Diane was found guilty of attempted murder in the first degree. Guilty of a second account of attempted murder. Guilty of first degree assault. Guilty of a second account of first degree assault. Guilty of murder. After decreeing a life term plus fifty years for using a firearm, Judge Foote said 'The Court hopes the defendant will never again be free. I've come as close to that as possible'. Between the verdict and the sentencing, Diane gave birth to another daughter who was given up for adoption. In 1987, Diane briefly escaped from the Oregon's Women Correctional Center where she had been incarcerated. She is now being held in Clinton Correctional institution in New Jersey. Christie and Danny Downs have been adopted by Fred Hugi and his wife. They now know what it is to have a normal family.
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