Diane Downs Father wrote a letter: the quintessence of these lines is.
-PLEASE, let MY DAUGHTER FREE AFTER 30 YEARS IN PRISON!
SIX REASONS WHY DIANE DOWNS COULD NOT HAVE SHOT HER CHILDREN
1. Blood Spatter:
According to police records, the shooter held the gun from 0 to 6 inches from each child. That means the shooter was well within the car and would be covered with blood spatter. Diane had no blood spatter on her clothes, in her hair or on her skin and according to James Pex, the blood spatter would go two directions, back toward the gun (towards the shooter) and another direction, depending on the angle of the gun.
2. Gun Shot Residue:
According to the prosecution, the gun was held from 0 to 6 inches from each child when the shots were fired. The upper torso of the shooter would be covered with blood spatter and “Gunshot Residue“, Diane was not. You might wash your hands, but you can’t wash it out of your hair and off your clothes. Gun Shot Residue is more commonly known as GSR or Antimony and Barium. The Antimony and Barium report came back:
04/10/98 FRI 15:30 FAX 15033265524FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDERS -.–.FPD EUGENE
Department of State Police
CRIME DETECTION LABORATORY
650 ROYAL AVENUE SUITE #11. MEDFORD OREGON 97501
May 27, 1983
David N. Burks, Sheriff
Lane County Sheriff’s Department
125 E. 8th Ave.
Eugene, Oregon 97401
DOWNS, CHERYL LXNN (VICTIM)
DOWNS, DIANE ELIZABETH (SUSPECT)
AGENCY CASE 183-3268
ATTENTION: Sergeant Peckels
On May 23, 1983 this laboratory received from John Whiddon, Deputy,
Lane County Sheriff’s Department, Eugene the following:
A sealed GSR-AA kit reportedly containing hand swabs from Downs,
No significant amounts of Antimony and Barium were detected on these
swabs. Therefore, it could not be determined if the subject had recently discharged a firearm.
John C. Williams. Superintendent
Bradford C. Telyea, Lieutenant
cc: Lane County District Attorney,, Eugene
Oregon State Police Crime Lab, Eugene
This Is certified to be a true’ copy of
the original report prepared by the undersigned.
3. Trace Metal Test:
To shoot someone, you have to hold the gun. Diane remarked that the police sprayed her hands with a substance on the night of the shooting. She said she had a small cut on her hand and the spray burned a little bit. She said they sprayed her hands until the substance dripped onto the floor. This is called a Trace Metal Test and the purpose is to determine whether or not you have held a gun or even touched anything metallic. The Trace Metal Tests came back negative. Diane did not hold the murder weapon. She did not shoot her children.
Police Officer Robert J. Antoine under direct examination said: “I didn’t find any discoloration.” Read his brief testimony beginning at page #1362:
R. Antoine – D 1362
THE COURT: Take the stand, please.
13 BY MR. HUGI:
14 Q. Tell us your full name, sir?
15 A. Robert J. Antoine.
16 Q. Your occupation?
17 A. Police officer for the City of Springfield.
18 Q. I forgot to have you spell your name for the
19 court reporter.
20 A. A-n-t-o-i-n-e.
21 Q. And were you working for the Springfield
22 Police Department as a detective back on May 19th,
24 A. Yes, I was.
25 Q. And did you go to the McKenzie-Willamette
R. Antoine – D 1363
1 Hospital in connection with the shooting on that
3 A. Yes, I did.
4 Q. ‘While there, did you contact the defendant
5 Elizabeth Diane Downs?
6 A. Yes, I did.
7 Q. And did you perform on her hands what’s
8 known as a trace metal test?
9 A. Yes I did.
10 Q. Tell us how you did that and what the
11 results were?
12 A. I had sometime earlier obtained a chemical
13 from the Oregon state Police crime Lab the purpose of
14 which is to spray skin to detect the presence of trace
15 metals left after someone has touched or held
16 something metallic.
17 The spray that I used causes a discoloration
18 of the skin, having a different color for different
19 types of metals.
20 That night I sprayed the defendant’s hands
21 or one hand and had a negative result. I didn’t find
22 any discoloration.
23 Q. What time did you do that, do you remember?
24 A. A guesstimate, approximately 1:00, between
25 1:00 and 1:15.
R. Antoine – X 1364
1 Q. And would this spray cause any pain to a
2 person or any reaction to normal skin?
3 A. Not to normal skin, no.
4 Q. ‘Did you ever indicate to the defendant that
5 there was any positive result?
6 A. No.
7 Q. You mentioned that different metals would
8 produce different colors. Can you give us an example
9 of what some of these colors might be?
10 A. I believe iron will produce a reddish color.
11 I believe copper produces a greenish color.
12 I’m not sure on the other ones. There’s I
13 think four or five different colors that will show up.
14 MR. HUGI: Your witness.
18 BY MR. JAGGER:
19 Q. You don’t recall seeing any coloration
20 change on any part of the hand?
21 A. No.
22 MR. JAGGER: No further questions.
23 THE COURT! Anything further?
24 MR. HUGI: May this witness be excused?
25 MR. JAGGER: Fine.
4. No Gun!!!
Beginning the day after the shooting and for seven days, Lane County, Oregon spent 1,149 hours looking for Ruger #14-76187, the gun Diane Downs had been accused of using to shoot her children and herself. Their search, which included 70 feet on both sides of the roadway and in the water, was unsuccessful so they determined that she took the gun out of the area and hid it. They covered the area like a blanket and found no gun. Diane was convicted of using a gun they couldn’t find.
They searched the car thoroughly at the hospital and found no gun. This could only mean that she either drove in her car or walked somewhere to hide it. Joseph Inman, a witness for the prosecution was very careful to point out how he followed Diane as she drove down a country road (Old Mohawk), which is the route Diane said she traveled. He not only fixed the time, but the location, which confirms that she came down Old Mohawk Road to the hospital and didn’t stop.
Diane moved from Arizona to Oregon in early April 1983 and the shooting was on May 19, 1983. The State said Diane used Steve Downs’ gun to shoot her children. Diane said the gun was in Arizona with her ex-husband. She said she didn’t have the gun, so I ran an ad in the Arizona Republic newspaper for a week in 1984, offering a reward for Ruger #14-76187. This ad resulted in a letter from Prescott, Arizona from a man saying he had the gun:
PO Box 96
Prescott, AZ. 86313
To Whom It May Concern:
I have a RUGER 22 cal. semi-automatic pistol with serial number 14-76187.
I saw your ad in the 8-8-84 issue of The Arizona Republic. If you wish to contact me in regards to the purchase of this pistol, write to me with short explanation of the high price you are willing to pay, plus proof of sincerity. In this manner, I will write you back with my phone number and further specifics in regards to the sale of my gun to you.
WANTED 22 caliber Roger
Semi automatic Pistol,,will
pay $1000 cash. Serial # must
be 14-76187. Write to Gun. PO
Box 303, Springfield, OR 97477
PO Box 96
Prescott, AZ. 86313
The Grayson County Sheriff’s Office sent Detective Richard Blaine Tracy to retrieve the weapon. The Sheriff’s Office in Oregon eventually gave a press release that the report was a hoax. The newspaper article said that Detective Diffendaffer of the Prescott, Arizona police department had conducted the investigation. It was learned later that the man who sent the letter claiming he had the gun, worked as a security guard at Fort Whipple, just outside of Prescott.
A few years later Detective Diffendaffer was contacted to discuss his investigation of the case. According to Detective Diffendaffer, Detective Dick Tracy, from Eugene, Oregon conducted the investigation alone. He did not go with Detective Tracy on the investigation. A few months later the gun was found in a drug raid in Perris, California. This is the area where Detective Tracy had been employed before moving to Oregon. Lane County, Oregon recovered the weapon and ran tests to determine if it was the gun used in the shooting. The ballistics from the shooting site didn’t match Ruger #14-76187. The gun Diane had been convicted of using to shoot her children, was not the murder weapon. The State’s theory that Diane had used that pistol in the shooting of her children was in jeopardy, so the State then decided she must have used another gun.
5. Withheld Evidence:
Attorney for the defense (James Jagger) gave an affidavit in 1998, fifteen years after the trial. In the affidavit, he said:
In 1983 and 1984, I represented Elizabeth Diane Downs in her criminal case,
Lane County Circuit Court case number 10-84-01377, and in the related juvenile matters, Lane County Juvenile Court case numbers 83-232 and 83-233.
“I felt I was at a great disadvantage to have been denied access to reports and notes corroborating Ms. Downs’ version of events.” On, Friday, April 10,1998, I met with Wendy Willis, the attorney appointed to represent Ms. Downs in her federal habeas corpus proceeding.
At that meeting, Ms. Willis provided me with a stack of reports she obtained from the Lane County Sheriffs Office. I reviewed those reports to determine whether I received them during discovery. I sorted these reports into three stacks: (1) reports and notes I definitely had not received during discovery; (2) reports and notes that did not look familiar, but I am not sure whether I received during discovery; and (3) reports and notes that I definitely was given access to before trial. Those reports have now been Bates stamped and are attached to this affidavit for reference. The reports I definitely did not receive are stamped with Bates Nos. 9120002 through 9120316; the reports I may not have received are stamped with Bates Nos. 9120317 through 9120386, and the reports I did receive are stamped with Bates Nos. 9120387 through 9120589.
If I had received the notes and reports regarding leads from members of the community and other law enforcement agencies, I would have followed up on every lead to locate witnesses to corroborate Ms. Downs’ version of events and to try to locate the actual assailant. I felt I was at a great disadvantage to have been denied access to reports and notes corroborating Ms. Downs’ version of events. I would have used any statements attributed to Ms. Downs in preparing for trial.
James C. Jagger
SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO
James C. Jagger.
day of June, 1998, by
Notary Public for Oregon
My Commission Expires: 6-17-0l
Trajectory is another thing that must be considered. Christie testified in Court that her mother shot her. She said she was sitting up when she was shot and that her mother kneeled down on the front seat and shot her. Consider the direction the bullet would travel with Christie sitting up and the shooter kneeling on the front seat and leaning over to fire two shots. According to police records, Christie was only 48 inches tall and Diane was and is 65 inches tall. The height from ground level to the back seating area of a 1983 Nissan Pulsar, a two door vehicle, is approximately eighteen and one half inches. Why don’t you try it? Put a 48 inch tall person on the back seat of a car and have a 65 inch person kneel on the front seat and point at the left breast area, just below and slightly to the left of the left nipple. You can try this same experiment using dining room chairs (they are approximately 17 to 18 inches tall). The seat backs of the car from the seat level to the top are approximately 19 to 20 inches high. Which way does the bullet go? Downward!! Christie was not sitting up. Look at the photo of the entry of the bullets. The trajectory had to be upward. Christie was not a witness, yet they taught her to believe she had witnessed the shooting.
There’s more if you are interested by going to www.dianedowns.com
Thanks for looking.
- Casus Diane Downs: after 3 decades in prison she maintains her innocence.. (inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com)
- Diane Downs Father wrote a letter; the quintessence of these lines is: PLEASE, LET MY DAUGHTER FREE AFTER 30 YEARS in PRISON (womeninjail.wordpress.com)
- Diane Downs Father wrote a letter; the quintessence of these lines is: PLEASE, LET MY DAUGHTER FREE AFTER 30 YEARS in PRISON (inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com)
BUT PLEASE; WAIT A MOMENT: IT´S NOT “ONLY” DIANE´S FATHER WHO IS CONVINCED, THAT HIS DAUGHTER IS INNOCENT, THERE IS ANOTHER MAN, TIM KING, a FIGHTER FOR HUMAN-RIGHTS, too! HE WROTE:
Salem-News.com (Aug-17-2012 13:39)
Diane Downs: Child Killer or Victim of Injustice?
Tim King Salem-News.com
Incarcerated for nearly 30 years, Downs maintains her innocence and a look at the case explains why.
(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.
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…