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Aug-17-2012 13:39printcomments

Diane Downs: Child Killer or Victim of Injustice?

Incarcerated for nearly 30 years, Downs maintains her innocence and a look at the case explains why.

Diane Downs then and now
Diane Downs, then and now

(SALEM) - Here's the first question: what kind of person would set out to Murder their own children, deny the crime, and then choose to spend the rest of their natural life in prison rather than simply admitting they did it and being released?

The second question is, what has happened in Oregon's courts to make facts become less than what they are? Jurisprudence is at the root of justice and the United States is a nation that treasures this concept, but I seriously question whether it is alive and well in this northwest state.

Let's get this out of the way; I am a journalist who has explored several convictions in the state of Oregon that I believe are false. One is Frank Gable; the man convicted in the Murder of former Oregon Corrections Chief Michael Francke, and another is a young African-American man from Eugene, Oregon, Darryl Sky Walker, who was convicted for killing a fellow university student; a Portland judge's son, even though another suspect bragged over throwing the fatal blow. Another is the man serving 19 years for Sex Abuse in a case that DNA proves impossible, his name is Terrence Kimble. Another is the former prison guard, William Coleman, who faced 40 years on false charges at one point, but was found not guilty of Oregon's charges by a unanimous jury verdict. His real 'crime' was blowing the whistle on racist hate crimes while employed at the state prison.

The list goes on.

Faces of some of the people Tim has written about; they are all recipients of injustice in Oregon.

I would like to make it clear to those reading this that I indulge many subjects as a writer and if there is one common theme, it is Human Rights. Much of my work centers around war crimes in far flung places like Sri Lanka and Crimes against Humanity in Burma and Balochistan and Palestine. I've worked as a photographer and reporter in Iraq, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan. My only personal 'beef' is with injustice and the impact it has on people, including those who have been flagrantly and sensationally exploited and wrongly convicted, people like the famous, albeit notorious, Diane Downs.

I know many things swirl around in the minds of those old enough to remember the case; you remember the name 'Diane Downs' and her conviction, perhaps you saw a movie about her starring the late Farah Fawcett titled 'Small Sacrifices' based on the book by Ann Rule, a highly dedicated writer with a lot of credibility and books to her credit. In spite of her incredible history, it is important to remember that Ann Rule is a former police officer and she has covered amazing, successful investigations of serial killers. I have read many of her books and I have met Ann and know her daughter Leslie. I think Ann Rule is a fantastic author; in fact one of the best, but I do not think 'Small Sacrifices' is a fair or just story, I think Ann was given information that caused the outcome to be what the police wanted it to be. When writers choose to convict people they become more powerful than the courts themselves.

Take for example, the book 'Fatal Vision' by Joe McGinniss; about the murder of the wife and children of former U.S. Army Green Beret Captain Jeffrey MacDonald. Evidence in that case, just like the Downs case, was buried by the prosecution at the time of the trial, which is scandalous and outlandish, yet neither of the defendants in these cases found relief when this critical legal blunder was later exposed.

That is a crying shame and there is no excuse in the world for it. I believe Oregon needs to have a higher authority examine the history if injustice in this state and the U.S. legal system needs to stick to established determiners, and not let the emotions and personal biases of judges be the order of the day.

I have been evaluating the Diane Downs case for the last several weeks and communicating with her family members who remain extremely concerned and troubled over her three decades of incarceration.

The evidence says she could not have committed the crime, but yet she was convicted. The judge in the case was clear in his determination to get a conviction. There are many statements from witnesses under oath, claiming that a man named Jim Haynes admitted having shot Diane Downs and her children. These individuals range from Haynes' former wife, to women he dated and personal friends and acquaintances. It is truly shocking.

Diane Downs is clearly a woman who has both commanded and demanded attention from other people in her lifetime. Her conviction seemed to have a lot to do with her lack of remorse, or the perception of it.

In the investigation following the shootings, she was asked to perform a reenactment of the crime. Anyone who searches for videos about Diane Downs, will inevitably locate these clips. The fact that she was lighthearted was her biggest mistake, and if that is indeed the case, then we can conclude that Oregon courts would always convict people who hide emotions rather than showing them at the precise time. I don't find that comforting.

I also wonder why we aren't provided clips of all investigative footage in all cases. It lends weight to the theory that these clips were released to a TV station that I used to work for, KATU in Portland, Oregon, specificlly to help the state convict Diane Downs.

Perhaps it is all about the showmanship, it seems courts expect it. Meeting the expectations of society as defined by the state's legal system, is what Downs failed to do when she didn't bawl her eyes out while performing a reenactment. I suggest that she was still in shock.

But the news reporters love to expand on her lack of critical emotion, they play into the hand of the prosecutor in a way that could be called almost perfect. Media was clearly used to convict Diane Downs.

Emotionally Speaking

From 'Restrepo

So are all people who fail to show the expected amount of emotion; specifically smiling at the wrong time while discussing crimes that robbed the lives of people they loved, actually guilty?

A 2008 psych evaluation of Ms. Downs authored by L. Williams, Ph.D., Chief of Mental Health at Valley State Prison for Women, confirms many of my suspicions about this lack of emotion and its relationship to her case.

There is no question that Ms. Downs handles emotion very differently from the expected norm; I find a striking similarity in another traumatized person; a soldier who gives testimony in the popular film Restrepo *, who smiles unexpectedly.

In recalling the losses of his friends, this young soldier who experienced so much during his tour of duty in Afghanistan, smiles and seemingly grins as he shares his experiences. He smiles while revealing truly painful details of how his buddies' lives were ripped away. Does this smile mean he enjoyed the thoughts and memories? Could it reveal that he is not actually bothered by these losses? Isn't it rude; even shameful as an American in particular, to even consider it? Based on the criteria used in the Downs case, Oregon courts would have to say yes. It seems illogical.

In the recent psychological evaluation from the California Penal System, this same character trait inevitably is discussed, 25 years later:

    "She keeps her emotions under tight control, presenting only socially acceptable feelings and burying other contradictory feelings."

Regardless of how she presents her case, the only possible answer for Diane Downs at this point demands throwing her hands up in the air and saying, "I did it" and no other answer is going to initiate the process of her possible release. I suppose assumptions are part of this psychological process, however non-scientific they may seem, but defining a persistent plea of innocence as "contradictory feelings" creates a hopeless scenario. It seems the only path for Ms. Downs involves the public exposure of the large number of inconsistencies in the state of Oregon's case against her. I would not engage if the evidence were not so overwhelming as it is. I told her father and her brother that I will help to expose the glaring facts that other journalists have chosen to leave buried.

My observation is that Ms. Downs is a person who has a unique level of control over what she does or does not display to others. In her case it led to a Murder conviction.

Again from L. Williams, Ph.D.:

    Ms. Downs makes every effort to avoid emotional stimuli in order to reduce the demands made on her. She functions best in highly structured environments where she has a sense of control. She may be highly vulnerable to losing control of her emotions in emotionally charged situations, creating faulty judgement and ineffective and inappropriate behavior.

Dr. Williams claims that Downs did not progress very much in the first 25 years of her incarceration. Downs counters, stating that survival in the penal system has been difficult.

The evaluation states:

    "While surviving prison without engaging in violence with other inmates is an accomplishment, it's not necessarily a reflection of personal growth."

It seems a large accomplishment to take lightly; I do not suspect that other prisoners are typically kind to convicted child killers. I believe Downs' ability to avoid violence speaks volumes about her character. What the author of the psych eval is really saying, is Diane Downs still won't admit she shot her three children and turned the gun on herself and there seems to be nothing else to it. Of course this Doctor does not have a magic wand to declare her innocence, but it seems her position itself deserved more attention.

The author also takes the time to reference Diane's gunshot wound at the time as 'superficial' when I have never met a gunshot victim who viewed their wound in that manner. I believe the evaluator is greatly underestimating what life has been like for Diane Downs.

Nuts and Bolts

There are enough holes in the 'official story' of the Diane Downs case to sink a battleship. This first article will not even begin to evaluate them, however I will give you an idea of what is to come.

  • The trajectory of the bullets fired at the children, and the blood splatter, or lack thereof, based on forensic testimony, only corroborates Downs' statements, not the state's.
  • It was widely accepted that it was her nine-year old daughter's testimony that convicted her, but was she an eyewitness or was she asleep when the shooting happened? The forensic analysis is astonishing. A few years later, the same girl questions what she recalls.
  • After the shootings, the wounded mother of three, Diane Downs, drove directly to a hospital emergency room with her injured children. Considered an intellectual, can we believe she never heard the term, 'Dead men tell no tales'?
  • Diane was convicted of shooting her three children with a 22 Caliber handgun. The state, in an effort to prove she had committed the crime, tested to see if she had held or fired a gun. A series of trace metal tests were conducted by Lane County deputies on the night of the shooting. The tests would prove if a person held a gun or even touched anything metallic. All came back negative, meaning Diane did not hold the murder weapon.
  • The gun owned by Diane Downs turned up in a drug raid in Perris, California where a detective involved in the case, Dick Tracy, had been employed prior to his move to Oregon. The gun did not match the ballistics from the shooting site. Ruger #14-76187; Diane's gun, was not the murder weapon
  • There was never a motive. Prosecutors alleged Ms. Downs shot her kids for the sake of a relationship with a man, but her family says this was not the case. Downs had recently left a relationship, and moved to Oregon from Arizona to move away from that unhealthy relationship.
  • Multiple parties confirmed in affidavits under oath that a man named Jim Haynes admitted having shot Diane Downs and her children. They range from Haynes' ex-wife and former mother-in-law, to his long-term friends.
  • A series of trace metal tests were conducted by Lane County deputies on the night of the shooting. The tests determine if a person held a gun or even touched anything metallic. All came back negative, meaning Diane did not hold the murder weapon.
  • The upper torso of the shooter would be covered with blood splatter and gun residue. Ms. Downs had no blood splatter or gun shot residue (GSR) according to extensive forensic testing conducted by the Oregon State Police Crime Detection Laboratory.
This is also from the psych evaluation from 2008:

    Ms. Downs vehemently maintains her innocence. This fact is best stated in her own words. She states, "I did not shoot my children and I can't say I did. It would not benefit you, my children, or society for me to perpetuate that lie. If I was of a mind to manipulate the Board by giving voice to the words they want me to utter, I'd have sold my soul two decades ago when the lies would have benefited me and my youth passed long ago. It's too late for me to call myself a murderer (when I am not) just to purchase my freedom. I did not shoot my children." Ms. Downs was asked to answer the following question.

And for those who truly question whether or not Diane Downs has remorse for what happened, the following paragraph from the psych eval seems to coherently address what it is that she most regrets:

    She goes on to say that she has deep regret and mourns the loss and death of her children' She states further, "I do regret responding to that phone call May 19, 1983, that lured me and my children to Old Mohawk Road. Would that I could turn back the hands of time and know then what I know now, but I can't."

This series will continue...

    * The documentary 'Restrepo' by Tim Hetherington, who later was tragically killed by a mortar blast in Libya, is about the struggle of U.S. soldiers to establish and maintain a remote combat base in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. The base was named for a member of their platoon who was KIA. It is available on YouTube.

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Christy March 27, 2019 9:20 am (Pacific time)

Emotions are not evidence, as soon as your judgment is based on how you feel or how you expect someone to behave it is no longer factual. Granted it raises questions, but it is not evidence. I am highly curious why little detail was mentioned of the man claiming to have followed her vehicle when she was going through back roads. I find that highly suspect that a male possibly on an otherwise empty road is not a suspect himself.

Sylvia January 31, 2019 8:14 pm (Pacific time)

Tim, I don't understand where you are getting that if Diane had admitted to killing her daughter and shooting her 2 kids she would have been released. If that were the case, then Andrea Yates who admitted to drowning her 5 kids in the bathtub wouldn't still be in prison. I am a Mother and if someone had shot my three kids I would have been hysterical. The fact that she never shed a tear is not the behavior of a normal Mother under those conditions. She was not convicted on the basis alone of showing no emotions over the shooting of her children. She also showed no emotion when they took her 4th child away from her after she gave birth. That is NOT normal behavior.

Anonymous October 14, 2018 9:31 pm (Pacific time)

This feels like "making a murderer" what would another trial hurt....with today's technology

Deb Dwyer June 1, 2017 3:39 am (Pacific time)

She is where she deserves to be...............she murdered her child with intentions of killing them all. Those are the facts

Mary March 23, 2017 8:31 pm (Pacific time)

My problem is i studied this case why wasn't there any wild bullets also why wasn't her injury fatal she was more of a threat andcit is a fact fore arm gunshot wounds are yhe most common self inflected wounds so answer at least that first question why wasn't there any wild bullets

Anonymous August 31, 2016 12:51 am (Pacific time)

The gun is addressed in Mrs. Rule's book as well, the orginal gun serial # 14-76187 was bought by a man and then traded a day later for the other Ruger that Steve Downs stole from him and into Diane's possession. Serial #14-57485. So this is misleading people as well. I was only a toddler when this happened but as an adult have read, watched and re-read everything I can on this because it baffles me how a mother could shoot her children killing one of them and disabling the other 2. The one thing that makes me believe Diane Downs shot her children... her ever changing stories. And this is not taking an authors word for it, this is watching her parole videos, interviews, etc. Also let's not forget the fact that she wrote her own daughter letters threatening her

Christina smith April 14, 2015 1:57 am (Pacific time)

The man that said he drove behind Diane did anyone think that maybe that's the point she wrapped the towel around her arm n that she slowed down because of that n didn't notice the other car as her focus wasn't on anything but her and her children's safety people are quick to judge but we weren't there then and the system failed her she had mental health problems that people wrongly judged her for and didn't Christie later say she lied so she would get left alone! If there is anyway possible Diane's case should be looked into again with all evidence available including the man who admitted shooting her n the kids and the place where the gun supposedly is by his account before he died should be drained out to check if he did tell the truth cause everyone would owe Diane a massive apology if she's found innocent

Chrissie smith April 14, 2015 1:46 am (Pacific time)

Is there still investigations ongoing by her family into her innocence n has her case been picked up yet by the innocence project

James Haynes April 3, 2015 5:01 am (Pacific time)

My father (James C. Haynes) did NOT shoot those poor children. Besides, He passed away recently...... so what'sthe point?(other than trying to prove a guilty woman is innocent)

Lisa March 20, 2015 5:04 pm (Pacific time)

I find it interesting that everyone seems to know exactly what happened when they were not at the scene of the crime. Amanda notes that Diane was driving slow, she had been shot in the arm and not superficially,she required surgery and bones were shattered. Evidence was suppressed in this case, over 4000 pages of it. I am not here to say Diane is innocent or guilty because I don't know. I think she should have been granted a new trial due to suppressed evidence. I also cannot believe that the prosecutor who tried her case was allowed to adopt her kids. Those of you with religious ramblings, try to be intelligent. Her appeal for a new trial was denied because "no reasonable juror would have come to a different conclusion" I as a reasonable juror want to know why she was convicted using a gun that did not exist and if she shot the children at close range why didn't she test positive for GSR and why didn't she have any blood spatter on her? There is also her attorney who said he didn't receive much of the exculpatory information. Wake up people, before you judge make sure you know the facts. None of us know all the facts in this case. Ann Rule is a great writer, I have read her books myself but I don't think she did a good job with this one. Just because Diane Downs reacts differently than YOU want her to does not a murderer make. Why would she take her children to the hospital right after the shooting when they may survive. The surviving daughter Christie testified her mother shot her but has said for years she doesn't know, she was told her mother did it again and again, and remember, the PROSECUTOR of the case adopted her!!! This case needs to be looked at again but by impartial people who actually want to see the facts and then make a decision, not holier than thou idiots.

Amanda Brown January 27, 2015 5:47 pm (Pacific time)


Anonymous September 5, 2014 5:21 pm (Pacific time)

Aside from the inconsistencies and lack of evidence in this article, I actually found this more surprising - "Tim King: Yes the book helped convict here (sic) and this is a shoddy state at best with its false conviction record." What? Ann Rule's book was published after her conviction.

Condoleeza September 5, 2014 12:33 pm (Pacific time)

It is said that eventually, we all get the face we deserve. Exhibit A, Diane Downs. I hope that the author has moved on from this sad sack loon of a mother to more worthy, non-predatory humans craving exoneration. It really is okay to let the tinfoil hat crowd run with scissors without allowing your journalistic integrity to get impaled on the ragged blades of their conspiracies.

ask wes August 28, 2014 9:14 pm (Pacific time)

The players are dying off. Is Dick Tracy still around? He and Phillip Van Atter were PI's in W.V. before they moved to California. That's how the Leeza Gibbons interview came about. In retrospect all of the dedicated work of those believing in justice in this world should realize that there are no innocent. To leave this world is to find the real justice. Stop chasing a story and feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, and visit those in prison. That's how He is going to separate the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the chaff, and the saved from the lost. He can bring anyone to their knees better than you with empty words about things that you know nothing about. God wanted to show man that he couldn't govern himself. He is in the heavens laughing at our derision.

foote in the mouth August 28, 2014 8:53 pm (Pacific time)

Life is either about the blood that flows through your vessles or the blood of Jesus that covers you, one carries protection by faith, and the blue blood has no oxygen. It's all in the names and his tory. if we were created for His purpose and His pleasure what's to complain about. Bob Dylan's "The Tempest" says "low cards I could have gotten , but i'll play this hands whether I like it or not" Eloquence has no place in the face of ignorance. A herd mentality is all it takes. Her mood was impaired by the drugs given for the injury. A famous trick for the unsuspecting trusting this judiciary. This world is filled with violence. Diane's eternity will be with her Lord & Savior, Jesus. James is wherever his faith put him. He confused to me a total stranger to both he and Diane. I told him about Jesus so he didn't leave without knowing. Clayton called and told me what had happened. I have the entire transcript from Wes and a picture of James Haynes. I was put in place by God to reveal to James the consequences of his actions not challenge the world. We all die, but then some of us live.

patrick August 3, 2014 5:18 pm (Pacific time)

Let's review the evidence. She's driving her kids to the middle of nowhere. Sees a Strange guy on the road in the middle of the night. Stops her car. Let's him shoot her three kids in the chest. While she only got a flesh wound to the wrist.she then according to witnesses drives slowly to the hospital. Any person who would be dumb enough to believe that story deserves to be in a jail right next to Diane Downs. She's a sick woman who deserves to burn in hell. A person like her would never confess. She was likely wearing gloves so no gun powder. Also her own daughter testified not only about being shot by her mother but also what a despicable person she was. Please get the facts straight

Susan July 16, 2014 8:18 pm (Pacific time)

Why wait for another article to grab me; I'm reading this now, not later. You may or may not be right about Ms. Downs but I would not change the verdict for what you wrote here. If this is for her, do it again.

catster May 30, 2014 8:26 pm (Pacific time)

You presented no scientific "evidence" in this report. You made claims that you did not back up with anything other than, "This agency says...", or "Diane says...." I have no reason to disbelieve what you're saying, but until you provide your sources and back up your so-called "evidence" with the actual evidence you're referencing, America is legally going to have to go with the facts as they have been described in court. And as far as I've researched, the bullet trajectory, blood SPATTER (not "splatter"), and her own testimony are pretty solid. I'm finding a shocking number of articles lately claiming to present "proof" of someone's innocence, when a you're really doing is making up sentences and demanding we accept them as true. Give us the reports; give us the photos and the transcripts.
As a journalistic tip, you have a real issue with taking people at their word. People lie - a LOT, especially to cover for a family member, or when they don't want to believe something, or when they want to get out of jail. Any time you write, "This evidence isn't true because the family says otherwise," stop and realize that this is the most invalid statement ever made in journalism. 

SL March 25, 2014 10:57 am (Pacific time)

I think the author in this case is being HAD.

Since I present scientific material refuting Oregon and Ann Rule's position on this, I can't figure out your point, feel free to explain, thanks.

Anonymous October 27, 2013 11:54 pm (Pacific time)

Please sign my BOTH Petitions and share it with as many people as possible. Don't worry, if you are NOT an American citizen; it's OK for any one to sign it. Thanks! 1: with 2: with

Badly Drawn Phalanges October 11, 2013 5:50 pm (Pacific time)

Franz May, psychopathy and sociopathy is basically the same thing. All that fussing and arguing amongst themselves is redundant. Sociopathy started being used as a way to not confuse society between the words "psychotic" and "psychosis". Neither have a moral compass, conscience, and are unable to experience empathy for others. They both think they can outsmart others and do not experience high levels if any level of fear. Major risk takers. The list goes on....

Kim October 2, 2013 2:07 pm (Pacific time)

I would like to know why the Huigi's were allowed to adopt the remaining children. As a grandma, I would think Stephen Downs, his family or Diane's family would take the children. I don't understand how the father could sign away parental rights without giving the kids to family.

Anonymous August 16, 2013 11:11 am (Pacific time)

seems as though everyone says she could not do anything to hurt her children , people who have the munchausen by proxy disorder were thought they could not hurt their own children either..also look at the people who have put their children and wife in a suitcases and threw them in the ocean until you are in their heads you can not claim their guilt or innocence

Franz May 15, 2013 12:37 am (Pacific time)

But three actual contributions may substitute and answer on old drool. “Different psychological and psychiatric experts differ on whether there's a difference between psychopaths and sociopaths. But we know that there are about a million psychopaths and eight million sociopaths in the US, at the least. The dumb ones, the more maladapted and most brutal ones sometimes get caught. But the high functioning ones roam the world as predators without consciences or empathy, hunting for prey to exploit or just hurt. They operate in corporations, in government on websites, in non-profit organizations, as bullies in playgrounds, as stalkers of celebrities and cyber-stalkers in chat rooms.” OpEdNews 5/14/2013 “Murder is our national sport. We murder tens of thousands with our industrial killing machines in Afghanistan and Iraq. We murder thousands more from the skies over Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen with our pilotless drones. We murder each other with reckless abandon. And, as if we were not drenched in enough human blood, we murder prisoners -- most of them poor people of color who have been locked up for more than a decade. The United States believes in regeneration through violence.” OpEdNews 5/13/2013 “There are many signs of gangster state America.” OpEdNews 5/13/2013

MZ March 15, 2013 6:47 pm (Pacific time)

I think you've been taken in by this intelligent and cunning woman, as have many men that have known her. She is a narcissistic sociopath, sociopaths DO NOT confess, she will take her guilt to the grave, wake up.

terry wagar January 9, 2013 8:50 pm (Pacific time)

Terry, your comment is too long for this story, readers... Terry does have an interesting story to tell, see the story and the new extended comment that was left on this story here: Portland Man Claims He Was Victim of Poison Plot

Franz December 28, 2012 7:09 am (Pacific time)

Some answers on Dolly’s statements.
- “argument on the innocence”
At no court the accused has to proof his innocence. The accuser has to in a fair trial following standards of civilized nations.
However, the State’s star witness was well rehearsed. Some further anomalies for this Oregon trial:
- Judge Foote misdirected the jury
- The Prosecutor entered inadmissible evidence
- State witness testimony was different from original statements
- Defense Attorney ignored vital evidence that would have exculpated his client
- Scientific evidence was grossly flawed
- Champagne-and-strawberry festival right after trial end, ready kept cold for a victory ceremony within schedule for an unknown jury verdict
- Continuously postponed or delayed appeals, a continuing kind cooperation between court and attorney General's Office
“What kind of a legal system is this where we're going to design our rules to encourage guilty people to plead - or innocent people to plead guilty? It's crazy.” Justice Scalia

- 'i cannot remember exactly the sequence of events of that horrific night'
Ever heard of Shock?
The medical term shock refers to the organs and tissues of the body not receiving a sufficient flow of blood. As a result of the imbalance of oxygen supply and demand, a buildup of waste products occurs and can cause damage to the organs. This type of shock is known as physiological shock and can result in collapse, coma or even death if it is not treated immediately.
Often when people hear disturbing news about a loved one or have endured a traumatic experience, they also suffer from shock. This type of shock is usually referred to as psychological shock and occurs after a physically or emotionally harrowing incident. The state of mind is affected and in more severe cases, professional help may be required. - Recommend reading further.

- “have to change her statements”
before, after trial or after generation of imprisonment?
What about withholding evidence by the state?
Defending the Brady rule - Reforms are needed to make sure prosecutors share all evidence that could be helpful to defendants. November 21, 2011,0,2813423.story

- Created motive: free from her children to enjoy unlimited love affairs while standing, again pregnant, before the bar one year later
- Incomplete act of murder: Diane drove her injured children to the hospital still noticeable alive

- Ammunition "manifesting" itself in the defendant’s home
- Inconclusive ballistics
- State's forensic scientists with conflicting reports
- Left-handed shooter; right-handed defendant
- Unused .38 handgun in the trunk not opened
- Fingerprints at the crime scene, discovered and suppressed by the State, not compared from driver's door and trunk, though state agents knew male attacker passed through the driver's door
- Police witness reports of stranger and confessions suppressed or not pursued
- 10 years after trial seven witnesses’ affidavits told of one man's continuous confession as the shooter of the Downs family. The confessor strongly resembling composite's and sketches by mother and daughter of their attacker
- Confessor identified as affiliate member of a criminal biker gang
- Retired from office DA Pat Horton can be seen as a defense attorney for the confessor's biker gang "Free Souls" one year later
- James Haynes and District Attorney, Pat Horton, seen (and photographed) attending the same drug parties.

- “Diane Downs, she is guilty as hell” while “even the devil is better”. I’m not familiar with hell and the devil’s capabilities. Please inform.

- “think and believe that Diane Downs is not guilty”
We must not think and believe, we are convinced after this very Oregon Trial and all following miscarriage of justice.

Editor: Thank you Franz

Dolly December 21, 2012 3:08 pm (Pacific time)

Ok i have read many responses on here....different opinions and views are expressed at personal level and emotion. If you think and believe that Diane Downs is not guilty why did she have to change her statements from one block of ice to another?Let us put emotion aside for a minute, i mean in reality, what kind of a mother says 'i cannot remember exactly the sequence of events of that horrific night', considering that very night marks the time in a mother's life which has come to mean everything in her life from then onwards. would you forget your child's birthday?that answer alone changed a lot on both sides. it is this very answer which led the detectives to want to know what else could she have had forgot on that day again? maybe she shot them because she forgot they were her own kids. come on at this point i dont expect anybody to believe or raise an argument on the innocence of Diane Downs. she is guilty as hell, as evil as a vampire. even the devil is better because he at least make us win lottos even though he knows at the end we will lose everything we ever won.

Sherry Lee December 18, 2012 3:54 pm (Pacific time)

I cannot believe what I am reading. This sounds like a complete conspiracy website if ever I heard one. Have you every thought about what those children went through that night? Are you ready to exclude that in light of Diane's inappropriate affect? Good God, man, you can get attention in other ways than defending a woman who is undeniably guilty. I would love to hear your opinion on Charles Manson.

Editor: You must not have read the story.  It is a terrible piece of Oregon's corrupt judicial history.

Christina in Yellowknife November 6, 2012 3:27 pm (Pacific time)

I too just finished Ann Rules book Small Sacrifices. Afterwards I felt it was a biased book and perhaps there's more to the story than being told. I hope the Downs family has justice and how unfortunate that the Hugis blocked the Grandparents from contact with their grandchildren. Great site!

Wesley Frederickson October 17, 2012 8:35 am (Pacific time)

Editor: Wesley, your comment came through blank, please resend, thanks!

Dottie K. Johnson October 13, 2012 10:46 am (Pacific time)

Tim, when is your next article expected to be in print?

Tim King: Very  soon Dottie, thanks for asking.

Ingrid October 3, 2012 8:35 am (Pacific time)

Re JJ Psychologist Deborah Frisch commented on this as follows: “The only non-circumstantial evidence in support of the allegation that Ms. Downs shot her children was the testimony of Christie Downs, who was coached for almost a year by former Lane County District Attorney Fred Hugi. [Note: It is not clear why Mr. Hugi continued to prosecute Ms. Downs on behalf of Lane County District Attorney Harcleroad after he decided he wanted to adopt Christie and Danny Downs. The unbelievable conflict of interest that existed when former Lane County Deputy District Attorney Hugi prosecuted the mother of the children he wanted to adopt is beyond the scope of this letter.] “The unreliability of children’s testimony has been documented by cognitive psychologists such as Elizabeth Loftus of the University of Washington, Stephen Ceci of Cornell, and others… The harm done to families by unscrupulous district attorneys who bully children into falsely testifying against their parents has recently been documented in a documentary called “Witch Hunt” by Sean Penn about Kern County, CA District Attorney Ed Jagels. There is no way that a jury would convict Ms. Downs today, based on the clearly coached testimony of Christie Downs (by a man who wanted to adopt her). Source:

JJ September 22, 2012 12:57 am (Pacific time)

I just finished the book "Small Sacrifices" and I thought: Wow, she really did it! But then I remembered something that happened to me involving a young child saying things about me to child services, things they had on written paper, things that I know I never said or did. I realized then (2002) just how easy it must be to make a child say just what they want. From reading the book S.S. alone, I thought she possibly did it (Shoot her kids). But then I was compelled to look online for reasons I cannot explain. Maybe I couldn't see a murderer in her eyes from her pictures. Sounds strange but I can usually see it in murderers from their pictures. Although Diane Downs is no angel, I would like to believe she is no killer of her own child. Another thing, if she did it, why would she keep trying to escape prison? She would just accept her fate I suspect and not try to escape. But she was in fact behaving as someone who is innocent, by trying to repeatedly escape from prison. Course, I'll feel horrible if she admits she did it while on her deathbed. I feel if she doesn't admit it then, then she didn't do it. Of course if they bring the other "real" killer in, the guy that many say claimed responsibility for the shootings, well, who knows? I just hope she didn't do it, and evidence seems to prove she DIDN'T do it. We live in a crazy and corrupt world. I hope her family finds real justice.

Tim King: Yes the book helped convict here and this is a shoddy state at best with its false conviction record.  

Franz August 28, 2012 5:33 am (Pacific time)

Administrative Review Request Form, Jan. 21, 09, shows a clear understanding of the purposes of the Board: - “There is no substantial evidence to support a finding of DANGEROUSNESS because Dr. Williams (Board-appointed psychiatrist) DETERMINED the above-named (Downs) was not a danger to herself or to society.” - “The Board action is inconsistent with its rules or policies and the inconsistency was not adequately explained in that ORS 1444 228 and OAR 255-38-005 rely ONLY on the PSYCH EVALUATION to determine DANGEROUSNESS. Mr. Powers said in his opinion, the Board had the authority to override the Psych. Eval. and retain the prisoner. This is incorrect. The law says the Board SHALL RELEASE the prisoner when the psych. determines the prisoner to be not dangerous.” - “The Board action is in violation of statutes and/or constitutions because all prisoners under ORS 161.725 shall be heard by the full 5-Members Panel. Only 3 Parole Board Members heard Downs on 12/9/08.” The Board hearing was conducted by video transmission and not in direct contact like Dr. Williams’ Evaluation. ~ As expected, release was denied. Truly OR justice from top to cop! ~

Sep August 26, 2012 3:57 am (Pacific time)

For those who are concerned about the conviction of Diane Downs. I would like to suggest that they contact the Gov of OR. 'Actions speak louder than words' as they say. Diane Downs has made it clear that she will never admit to any participation in the crime against her children, even though she is aware that if she did, or had,it would be a positive move towards consideration for her release. Her innocence requires 'action' by those who have the 'power' to do so, initiated by those who believe in true justice being served, no matter how long that may take. Thank you

Dottie K. St.John Johnson August 25, 2012 3:46 pm (Pacific time)

I have spent the last year studying the case of Diane Downs, and I am convinced more than enough substantial evidence exists to warrant reopening the investigation. For years I accepted Ann Rule's version as gospel, but after re-reading her book, I have come to a very different conclusion. It is a fact she made statements about people she had never met, let alone talked with, and yet she took unconscienceable liberties dispersing information about them, which had nothing to do with the truth, or lack thereof. They were salicious statements meant to sell books, and not things she would have never wanted revealed about herself. Her behavior is certainly not respectable. I think if someone has a mind to come to this case with an open mind, they will be surprised by how the facts speak to a different truth. Evidence which validates Diane's version of the events was hidden/destroyed/obfuscated. If the State of Oregon is so innocent why are they reluctant to come forward and reopen the investigation?
Many people have sworn on oath that Mr. James C. Haynes has admitted/boasted he committed the dastardly deed. Why does this not warrant investigation? This is only one of many questions which need to be answered. Another question: Diane said "I do regret responding to that phone call May 19, 1983, that lured me and my children to Old Mohawk Road." Who did she talk with, why did she feel she needed to leave her home at such a time on a school night, and who did she meed on Old Mohawk Road?May the truth come out, and God Bless the Frederickson Family who have spent the last 28 years seeking THE TRUTH - no matter what they found. With this attitude they have looked every fact, thought, feeling, and need square in the eye, regardless of where it took them. Vist Mr. Frederickson's website, and experince their journey. You may be very surprised.

Franz August 23, 2012 10:26 am (Pacific time)

Malcolm F. Marsh, District Judge, Argued and Submitted July 10, 2007, Portland, Oregon:”Notably, Downs has not accepted responsibility for her crimes of conviction, and maintains to this day that the state authorities framed her.” By this manorial view people outside OR associate simply blackmail. “What kind of a legal system is this where we're going to design our rules to encourage guilty people to plead - or innocent people to plead guilty? It's crazy.” Justice Scalia said. So we must not search further in Spain and 15/16th century.

Wes/Diane's father August 21, 2012 8:00 am (Pacific time)

Thanks Tim for getting to the root of all the lies that put Diane away and then having the courage to publish.

Innocene Project August 21, 2012 5:15 am (Pacific time)

To Coral Anika Theill. ... organisation was approached on more than one occasion and replied that they only deal where DNA is involved or, they lacked the resources. The authorities in Downs case claimed that all DNA evidence was destroyed or, 'lost' when Diane herself approached them for it. Not surprising when the authorities never pursued the unidentified (assumed male) hand/fingerprints discovered on the car at the crime scene. The car had been washed prior to the shooting and although Diane's prints were obviously there. So was someone else's.

Jennifer J. Bland August 20, 2012 7:24 am (Pacific time)

There is alot more to this story that has been given on the website It seems that the media has given "false" ideas to people, the same with the court room hearing of her trial - the facts prove Diane is innocent beyond a reasonable doubt. *See composite drawing - photo of suspect - and there is a MATCH to the suspect now, from pubic records MUG SHOTS - eugene oregon, James C. Haynes - the PHOTOS all MATCH the suspect - also there is statments to back these claims - by many witnesses close to him - in which you can also read on the website HERE YOU WILL FIND FACTS!


Sep August 20, 2012 5:56 am (Pacific time)

I have a question. Especially for those with the mentality of Dr Stone who worked for the Discovery channel on the Down's case and who commented about another inmate stating, 'well, the jury found her guilty so she must be guilty!'. The question is, have you ever known of a Prosecutor adopting the children of a person they convicted?. Well, it happened in the Downs case even when family members wanted custody of them. 'Why'. Because they were the Prosecutor's 'insurance' of course lest the truth be revealed. There is a taped conversation between Christie (Downs) and a school friend in which Christie clearly says when asked about her mom's involvement in the shooting. 'I don't know, I just said 'yes', so they would leave me alone', ('they' being the authorities).

Anonymous August 19, 2012 6:15 pm (Pacific time)

Congrats Tim, I see you have had your name introduced for a Nobel Prize. That is quite an honor. So when you fly over to get the award, how do you avoid the No Fly List,listing?

Tim King: So funny I forgot to laugh.  I guarantee I love my country more than you do sir, that based on the part of your comment that was flushed.

DARIA August 19, 2012 6:50 am (Pacific time)

Thank you for the article. This issue is big and the public seems to be so unaware of what is REALLY going on in the system and how one hand washes the other in the system. I enjoyed your article very much. It was very informative and my husband was convicted of something he did not do. So many unexplained records destroyed and lost to show the death threat my husband received in prison. I could go on and on. I thank you for educating people about issues THAT MATTER as this one is ruining so many people's lives and families, especially childrens. Keep writing and keep exposing and educating. Thanks

Coral Anika Theill August 19, 2012 6:19 am (Pacific time)

Tim, please mention the Innocent Project to Ms. Downs family and supporters. The Innocent Project assists inmates trying to prove their innocence whether or not the cases involve biological evidence.

INNOCENT PROJECT: Most of our clients are poor, forgotten, and have used up all legal avenues for relief.

DNA testing has been a major factor in changing the criminal justice system. It has provided scientific proof that our system convicts and sentences innocent people — and that wrongful convictions are not isolated or rare events. Most importantly, DNA testing has opened a window into wrongful convictions so that we may study the causes and propose remedies that may minimize the chances that more innocent people are convicted.

As forerunners in the field of wrongful convictions, the Innocence Project has grown to become much more than the “court of last resort” for inmates who have exhausted their appeals and their means. We are a founding member of The Innocence Network, a group of law schools, journalism schools and public defender offices across the country that assists inmates trying to prove their innocence whether or not the cases involve biological evidence which can be subjected to DNA testing. We consult with legislators and law enforcement officials on the state, local, and federal level, conduct research and training, produce scholarship and propose a wide range of remedies to prevent wrongful convictions while continuing our work to free innocent inmates through the use of post-conviction DNA testing.

We hope that our website will raise awareness and concern about the failings of our criminal justice system. It is a facet of our society that eventually touches all of its citizens. The prospect of innocents languishing in prison or, worse, being put to death for crimes that they did not commit, should be intolerable to every American, regardless of race, politics, sex, origin, or creed.

Innocence Project
40 Worth St., Suite 701
New York, NY 10013

Sep B Jobes August 19, 2012 5:08 am (Pacific time)

Thank you so much Tim for having the courage to expose the obscenity of this conviction. I have been trying to expose it myself from here in the UK alongside others for some years. When you get down to the nuts and bolts, as you say, of what they called 'evidence' and how the investigation pursued it. The conviction beggars belief. I mailed some questions to Ann Rule but never received any replies.

Tim King: I could not agree more, thanks.

Tim King August 18, 2012 7:58 pm (Pacific time)

I just deleted two extremely disrespectful comments and will do the same with others. If you object to my story, you can state your objections, but attacking with a string of profanity and personal insults will only have your comment rejected.

Make your point, be intelligent; thanks.

JamesFre August 18, 2012 7:07 pm (Pacific time)

Mr Anonymous who has a friend who was on the Jury, it is not your friend's fault he helped convicted an innocent woman. It was a true miscarriage of Justice. If your friend would have known there were 383 leads as to a confessed shooter that were not followed, and that were withheld by the prosecution that were never followed might they have thought differently?

Tim King: Thanks for adding that James.

Angie in Spfd OR August 18, 2012 2:41 pm (Pacific time)

Society ( the jury ) failed her... The state did not get a solid conviction from proven hard evidence, they instilled what they needed into a child's mind and got what they needed/ wanted... It sickens me...had I been on the jury " Daine would not be where she is ) I recall hearing one time that the justice system would rather release a hundred guilty than to lock up one innocent, come on society this is human life were talking about not an animal.... FREE DIANE DOWNS SHE'S NOT GUILTY !!!!!!! Keep fighting Diane and family

Steve August 18, 2012 1:42 pm (Pacific time)

There is actually a mountain of very compelling evidence that points toward Diane Downs innocence. When people start investigating why a group of Oregon government officials would want to railroad a young single mother with a murder rap, the real truth will come out. It's stuff that you usually only see in the movies but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Franz August 18, 2012 1:13 pm (Pacific time)

Hope this works re American Legal System Is Corrupt Beyond Recognition, Judge Tells Harvard Law School; By Geraldine Hawkins, March 7, 2003
From many two more examples:
Justice system fails on many fronts - Special to the Times, June 30, 2008
Defending the Brady rule - Reforms are needed to make sure prosecutors share all evidence that could be helpful to defendants. November 21, 2011,0,2813423.story
The Supreme Court recently heard a case in which prosecutors withheld from the defense information that might have acquitted a murder defendant. The court can rectify this one injustice by ruling for the defendant, but broader reforms are necessary to prevent prosecutors nationwide from concealing evidence.

Tim King: Great roundup of mainstream accounts of this point Franz, this is very helpful.

Coral Anika Theill August 18, 2012 11:54 am (Pacific time)

Thank you, Tim, for writing this article and raising many important questions. Has the family sought help from the Innocence Project? I look forward to your future articles on this matter. Psychologists who may be in charge of her evaluations may not be ethical. I have been abused by several therapists throughout the years, some who violated confidentiality laws, etc. One therapist confessed that before they had studied documents and affidavits when I sought help, they had believed my abuser/rapist. The therapist abused me and put me in further danger. It was too late by the time the doctor learned the truth.

Tim King: She certainly needs a lot of support, and there do seem to be parallels in the way you and she were treated, I will keep my eye open for these similarities, thanks so much.

Vicki Middlebrook August 18, 2012 11:38 am (Pacific time)

Thank you, Tim, for being willing to actually see the truth by examining the facts, instead of believing she is guilty via the false media and a movie. I formed the group of HELDD (Help Exonerate and Liberate Diane Downs), and my last name was Foreman at that time. We were all shocked by the actions of the prosecutor's office when we began investigating this case. I have some stories of my own about events that took place during that time. I looked carefully at the evidence, talked to Diane often (by phone) and have a tape of her daughter saying her mother didn't shoot her, but that tape was not allowed in court (personally I don't think anything was allowed in court that didn't point to her guilt. She needs to be released. Thank you again. I hope your article gets the attention it deserves and that the prison "powers to be" will wake up and realize that she will never admit she's guilty because she's NOT. I've cried over this case many days and nights and can only hope for justice. It's very sad to think that the Oregon justice system is so corrupt.

Tim King: Vicki, I am very glad to receive this, and look forward to working with you; there is much to be done and this type of injustice must be corrected, my email is, thanks again.

Phil Davis August 18, 2012 11:31 am (Pacific time)

I have met Diane and know her father quite well. I do believe she was not capable of these charges. All evidence should have been put forward at the time of the trial. Pure injustice from our so called system.

Franz August 18, 2012 11:15 am (Pacific time)

Does Innocence Matter? By James J Murtagh, M.D. More than 175 wrongly convicted persons have been set free since 1992. A landmark Department of Justice study estimates a 5% failure rate in the U.S. justice system, suggesting as many as 100,000 falsely convicted prisoners. Other reports place the estimate as high as 10%.
Grateful you take interest in wrongful convictions! First step to improve a American Legal System Is Corrupt Beyond Recognition; Judge Tells Harvard Law School; By Geraldine Hawkins, March 7, 2003

Tim King: Franz, thank you so much, the second link is not working, this one seemed similar, please tell me if I am wrong, thank you:

Anonymous August 18, 2012 10:22 am (Pacific time)

Tim, I have an associate who was on the Down's jury, and she was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt, as were all the other jury members of Down's guilt. Along with a multiple judicial process during her appeals. Since there exists a very small percentage of people who like to go against the grain, no matter what the subject matter is, these people simply demonstrate their juvenile approach to life. In regards to the German, Ron, I do not know of people you talk about as per paid shills, except those from the left, and of course union members. They get bused into political events all over America...

Tim King: Even if this were true, juries are fed bad information by the state, it is a big acting game and two sides are trying very hard to win.  Let me just remind this commenter that many people who were later exonerated for crimes they were convicted of committing, the jury verdict is not the end game, not always.

Ralph E. Stone August 18, 2012 7:03 am (Pacific time)

Interesting article. Was Ms . Downs represented by counsel? Was there appeal? Is anyone helping her now with her case?

Tim King: Yes there have been appeals, one fairly recently, but all attempts have failed.  One of the most disturbing pieces that I'll explore in this series,  is an affidavit filed by Downs' attorney about fifteen years after the conviction, stating that particular evidence, a good amount  of it, was withheld from him.  There seem to be many problems with this case.  Her family remains dedicated toward seeing her achieve freedom, I'm not sure if an attorney is assigned to the case at this point, I will ask, thanks Ralph.  

Ronald von Pirch August 17, 2012 9:34 pm (Pacific time)

Dear Tim, in Germany you will find these paid agents a lot in any well known media. You also find them in -WikiLiar- where they permanently re-write history. Add and / or erase things by giving sources which no user will check. May I add that a lot of your articles would never been printed in newspapers in Germany. And let me tell you that in case someone is using the therm -parasite- against an author, his comment would not be published, and if the Newspaper want to do so, that guy stands in front of a court. So just ignore them. They are fascist and we have had millions of them in Nazi Germany once. They are like flies on a hump of shit. rgds Ron

Tim King: Thank you Ronald, we have seen it before, I have gone back and forth about it, and will take your thought to heart.  I can always get rid of it also, thanks so much.

Anonymous August 17, 2012 6:17 pm (Pacific time)

Geez, the losers always find each other. Juries are not the final word, we also have an appeals process, but it is the juries that actually reflect citizen values and collective decisions on justice. King, you will always hitch up to people like you, it is pathological. The vast majority of people are smarter, more experienced, and simply more moral than you and your loser cohorts. You live in a country with people who have made considerable sacrifices so even you can exercise boundless buffoonery...I see you as a parasite, nothing more.

Tim King:  Namecalling 101?  I suspect you sir, who never uses a name, are part of the state of Oregon and that this is your job, patrolling my reports, so that you can always be the first to insult and debase them.  Well, I think people deserve a little more credit and have a right to examine the story and draw their own conclusions.  Remember that five hundred years ago people were convinced the world was flat.  Recall how racism was so ingrained into this country's beginning that we didn't even desegregate the military until 1947.  I expect people to react honestly, I believe you however are a paid agent of the powers to be and that you do not in any way represent the residents of this state who are members of the public and not police or judicial officers..  

Hal J. August 17, 2012 4:07 pm (Pacific time)

Wow, I don't know if people are ready for this, but I have to say after reading it that if I were in her family's position I would do the same, I did not see this coming.

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