1 Diane Downs – Victims: 1
The subject of true crime author Anne Rule’s best selling book, Small Sacrifices, Diane Downs, chose a romantic relationship over her own children. When her lover, Lew, made it clear that a life with children was not in his master plan, she began to create a twisted scheme in which she would destroy her offspring, who had become only obstacles to her own happiness. Her plot to kill her children was a desperate, last-ditch attempt to hold on to a man who wanted out.
Her children from a prior marriage, Christie, Cheryl, and Danny, were the “small sacrifices” in this terrible crime. On a macabre night drive, she tried to end the lives of her own children. Stopping the car along a deserted stretch of road, she killed Cheryl, her second child, aged 7, in cold blood. Christie and Danny were also shot. Her oldest daughter, Christie, who was eight, survived the attack, and so did 3-year old Danny Downs. However, her little son was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot at near point-blank range. Christie was also left with serious injuries, such as paralysis on one side of her body, and speech difficulties…but she was so very courageous.
In court, she found the words to explain to the judge and jury exactly what her mother had done. The bravery of this young girl, who wished to seek justice for her dead sister, was moving, and terribly sad. Anne Rule wrote about the pain and dignity of this little girl with great skill and compassion.
Diane Downs continues to proclaim her innocence. This former letter carrier for the State of Oregon now spends her days in prison – where she has been known to exchange lurid and sexually flirtatious letters with another tawdry inmate – serial rapist and killer Randy Woodfield – (the I-5 Killer).
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