Nevada murder trial suspended after defendant slashes wrist in suicide attempt
June 26, 2007
RENO ” The murder trial of the man accused of killing former Nevada Controller Kathy Augustine, his wife, was suspended today after the defendant slashed his wrists in a suicide attempt, authorities said.
Washoe County District Judge Steven Kosach suspended the trial after Higgs had been found early Tuesday in a Reno apartment he shared with his mother, Higgs’ lawyer David Houston said at court.
Houston said Higgs slit his wrists overnight with a knife. Higgs was taken to a Reno hospital, his condition was unknown but the injury did not appear life-threatening, Houston said.
Higgs, 43, had been expected to face tough questioning from prosecutors on Tuesday, after testifying Monday that he was innocent of the charges against him and that he loved Augustine even though he had decided to leave her.
Higgs is accused of killing Augustine last July by injecting her with succinylcholine ” a powerful muscle relaxant used to immobilize patients when breathing tubes are inserted.
The judge sent the jury home with instructions not to listen to media reports. He revoked Higgs’ $250,0000 bail and ordered both sides to return to court on Wednesday.
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Kosach did not immediately call a mistrial, but said he would not rule out the possibility if it took Higgs a long time to recover.
Three days after Augustine’s death, Higgs tried to commit suicide by slitting his wrists at his Las Vegas home. He was released from a hospital later that day, and didn’t attend his wife’s funeral the following day.