Higgs guilty in Augustine’s death | NevadaAppeal.com

Higgs guilty in Augustine’s death

Staff and wire reports

Chaz Higgs testifies during cross-examination in his murder trial Thursday, June 28, 2007, in Reno, Nev. Higgs, a critical care nurse, is accused of injecting Augustine with a paralyzing drug July 8th. She died three days later. (AP Photo/Marilyn Newton, Pool)

RENO ” The husband of the late Nevada controller Kathy Augustine was found guilty today of murdering her by injecting her with a paralyzing drug that FBI experts detected in her system months after her death.

Chaz Higgs, a critical care nurse, was convicted of first-degree murder two days after attempting suicide for the second time since Augustine’s death last July. He faces up to life in prison without parole.

Higgs showed no reaction as the guilty verdict was read. He stood still, hands clasped in front of him, eyes toward the floor.

The Washoe District Court jury made up of eight women and four men deliberated for more than four hours Thursday night. They resumed deliberations at 9 a.m. Friday and reached the verdict within three hours.

Under cross-examination Thursday, Higgs testified that he had slit his wrists early Tuesday because he thought he had cleared his name in earlier testimony about his innocence and wanted to be with his late wife.

He had been free on $250,000 bail until the latest attempt to kill himself, then was jailed under suicide watch.

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Police said Higgs injected Augustine with the drug before calling 911 from their Reno home on July 8. Thanks to a tip from another nurse, forensic scientists at an FBI lab in Quantico, Va., confirmed the presence in Augustine’s urine of succinylcholine ” a drug used to temporarily paralyze patients before inserting a breathing tube down the throat.