The True Story of Diane Downs: How a Mother Shot Her 3 Kids for Her Lover
6:32 AM PDT, March 22, 2019 - Inside Edition Staff
“Diane is the type of woman, I think, could cut your throat and then sit down and have lunch next to your body,” — Lane County Det. Doug Welch to Inside Edition in 1989
On May 19, 1983, Diane Downs drove herself and her three children to an emergency room in Springfield, Oregon, saying she had been shot by a “bushy-haired man" who had tried to steal her car on a desolate road that rainy evening.
Downs claimed the man had shot her three kids as well, Christie, 8; Cheryl, 7; and Danny, 3. Cheryl died upon arriving at the hospital, while the other two were clinging to life. Downs herself said she had been shot in the arm.
What is thought to have actually happened was much worse.
Both authorities and hospital employees felt Downs was too calm for someone who had just gone through something so horrific and her story changed as she was questioned by investigators.
There were physical clues something was amiss as well. Investigators also said there was no blood splatter on the interior or exterior of the driver’s side, casting further doubt on Downs' account.
“From the beginning it was wrong,” then-Lane County Det. Doug Welch told Inside Edition in 1989. “Here was a woman who was completely apathetic about the welfare of her kids.
"She was just emotionally flat and preoccupied with something else."
Downs was eventually arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder in the shootings. Investigators said she wanted to get rid of them so she could be with her lover. She was convicted in 1984 and sentenced to life in prison, where she remains to this day.
But Downs says she didn't do it. Her story will be featured on this week's episode of ABC’s “20/20,” airing Friday at 9 p.m. ET. Back in 1989, Downs spoke to Inside Edition for its first-ever episode, five years after she was sentenced to prison.
Diane Downs always wanted to be a mom, she told Inside Edition in its first-ever episode in 1989.
She wed Steve Downs in 1973 when she was just 17 and the couple had two children together — Christie and Cheryl.
Diane claimed that Steve wasn't thrilled when she first told him she was expecting.
“I got pregnant when I wasn’t allowed to," Diane said. "I am not going to say he forbade me to get pregnant, but I didn’t consult him. I wanted to have children so I got pregnant without asking permission.”
But Steve told Inside Edition in 1989 that Diane was a terrible parent and treated the kids "like crap."
When Diane got pregnant with Danny, the result of an affair, that was the end for Steve. The pair divorced soon after his birth.
After their split, Diane, who worked as a letter carrier at the local post office, began an intimate relationship with her married former co-worker, Robert Knickerbocker.
According to Diane, Knickerbocker — who lived in Arizona, where Diane was original from, with his wife — didn’t like children. She had three of them. Desperate to be with Knickerbocker, prosecutors said, Diane tried to get rid of her own children.
“This was a real obstacle as far as Diane was concerned, those kids were a burden, and there was no way, that she could see, she was going to get this guy up to Oregon as long as she had the kids,” Welch said.
Building a Case
Diane, according to investigators, became obsessed with Knickerbocker. She would write him letters every day, but they would be returned unopened. Knickerbocker, who Diane said had told her he was planning to leave his wife and move to Oregon, claimed she was stalking him.
As investigators learned about her relationship with Knickerbocker, Diane increasingly fell under suspicion in the shootings of her children. Meanwhile, Diane herself kept giving interviews about what had happened, always denying she had anything to do with it.
“The more she talked, and she talked a lot and frequently, the more she talked, the more things didn't make any sense. It was as if she thought that if she kept talking enough, that you would believe her,” Anne Bradley Jaeger, local reporter for ABC affiliate KEZI, told “20/20.”
Her story to authorities changed, too, investigators said — the man who was at first a stranger had actually called her by name, they said Diane told them. She, however, denied ever changing her account.
But no evidence was found to support Diane's story. What was found, though, was a .22 caliber pistol in Diane's possession, the same type of gun used to shoot the children. Steve, her ex, and Knickerbocker had both told authorities that she owned the gun, a fact that Diane did not disclose, investigators said.
In February 1984, Diane was arrested. At the time, she was pregnant with another man’s child. The baby was later put up for adoption.
“She knew that if she got pregnant, that people would look at her and say, ‘How could a woman who loves children this much and got pregnant have killed her children? Look at her,’" Jaeger told “20/20.”
But Diane disputes that.
"I got pregnant because I miss Christie and I miss Danny and I miss Cheryl so much," she told reporters at the time. "I'm never going to see Cheryl on Earth again and I just, you can't replace children, but you can replace the effect they give you.
"And they give me love, they give me satisfaction, they give me stability, they give me a reason to live and a reason to be happy, and that's gone, they took it from me, but children are so easy to conceive."
What sealed the case against Diane, though, was her own daughter's testimony.
Christie, who survived the shooting, was the prosecution's only eyewitness as her brother was sleeping during the shooting and her other sibling was murdered.
Christie testified in court that her mother shot her and her siblings. She said that her mom stopped the car, walked to the trunk, got something out, and then reached inside the window and shot her and her siblings. Authorities believe that Diane shot herself in the arm after.
In June 1984, Diane was found guilty of murder and attempted murder, and sentenced to life in prison.
While in prison, three years after being locked up, she escaped by scaling a barbed wire fence and went on the run. She claims she was looking for the “bushy-haired stranger.”
“I wanted revenge at that time,” she told Inside Edition back in 1989. “I wanted to do obscene things to his body.”
Eleven days later, she was found inside the home of another cellmate’s husband.
“She has destroyed so many people and I think without one shred of regret," Steve said in 1989. "I don’t think there is any regret in her body. I don’t think she has ever come to grips with what has happened, the gravity of what has happened, the kids especially, she destroyed them — three perfectly innocent children, she destroyed them."
Diane remains in prison to this day and maintains her innocence.
“I can sit here and cry and be all upset and what is that going to prove? It proves nothing. I am who I am and I can’t be anyone other than who I am,” she told Inside Edition in 1989.
Added Diane, “... I am not saying anyone has to believe me. I can sit here with a clear conscience and know I didn’t shoot my kids.”
Michigan State head coach/psycho Tom Izzo briefly lost his mind yesterday, exploding at freshman forward Aaron Henry during a timeout—after a 10-0 Spartans run, by the way—in MSU’s eventual 76-65 first-round win over Bradley. This is nothing new for Izzo (which is an indictment rather than a defense), but considering the stage, it got more attention than his usual outbursts, to the point where he was forced to attempt to defend himself.
Here’s the blow-up, which continued into the commercial break:
And here’s Izzo addressing it in the press conference:
“I did get after him. He did respond. He did make a couple of big buckets,” Izzo said, in case you were holding out hope he might, if just for a moment, consider that yelling in a teen’s face might not be an effective coaching method.
Izzo then turned it around on a reporter. “If I was a head of a newspaper, and you didn’t do your job, you’d be held accountable,” he said. To which I’d note that if my boss screamed at me and had to be physically restrained, she’d be disciplined or potentially even fired. And to which I’d ask: What exactly is Aaron Henry’s “job,” and how much is he being paid?
Many coaches yell, but, crucially, not all coaches. Almost never pro coaches. Drew made this point (about football coaches) in a very good blog that is worth blockquoting here:
Most coaches yell, and most coaches get away with it because yelling is a cheap and easy form of leadership. If you want to grab a player’s attention quickly, and the stadium is already loud, raising your voice usually does the trick. In the short term, yelling works.
But in the long term, yelling is worthless. Yelling is a shortcut … a sugar rush of discipline for leaders who are too weak and/or too lacking in creativity when it comes to helping players improve. Go look at an NFL coach’s sideline demeanor and compare to a maniac like Kelly. In general, NFL coaches only yell if they truly need to be heard over the din, or if they have to bitch out a ref. Would Kelly have the gall to yell at his players if they were all 26 years old? Probably not, and that’s because Kelly is a fucking coward who knows he can only get away with that bullshit if he’s bossing around unpaid teenagers. As with corporal punishment, yelling represents a failure of imagination.
Another point is that college coaches don’t want players who can think for themselves. They want athletic automatons who will run their system. And the fastest way to make that happen to break down their psyches until there’s nothing left, and then build them back up the way the want them. The fastest way to break them down is to scream in their faces. That’s Tom Izzo basketball, and it’s worked for him, but there are costs.
Are Jeremy Renner and Lady Gaga Dating? They've Been "Spending a Lot of Time" Togetherby Rachel EpsteinMar 22, 2019
KEVIN MAZURGETTY IMAGES
Lady Gaga and Avengers actor Jeremy Renner have reportedly been "spending a lot of time together," sparking romance rumors.
The rumors surface only a month after the internet believed Gaga and Bradley Cooper were a thing.
Now that the internet has (somewhat) moved past the Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper romance rumors, it's now turning its focus to Lady Gaga and actor Jeremy Renner. According to US Weekly, the pair have been "hanging out" and "spending a lot of time together" after Gaga's breakup with ex-fiancé Christian Carino. However, a source from E! insists it's not romantic.
"She has been friends with Jeremy Renner for a while. They often hang out when they are both in town," says the source. "She's been spending time with him recently, but it's not romantic."
what is this about lady gaga and jeremy renner dating?????
Naturally, we're all curious about the dude who gets to spend quality time with Gaga. Here, five facts to know about Renner.
He's an Oscar-nominated actor.
Pretty big deal, no? He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in The Hurt Locker (2008) and for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in The Town (2010).
You probably know him as Hawkeye in the Avengers franchise. He'll be in the upcoming movie, Avengers: Endgame, coming out next month.
He made a cameo in Pink's "Trouble" music video.
Fact. He appeared in the 2003 video as a Bad Boy Sheriff. (I didn't make that up.)
He once played American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
Renner says the role "kept him single."
“After I did the film, playing a guy who was basically a monster, things started getting creepy. My cat was stolen. Then some girl bit me in a bar because I wasn’t paying attention to her anymore and I had to go to the hospital," Renner told Parade in 2009. "It kept me single for a while, that’s for sure. Lot of people I wanted to date, but people I probably shouldn’t date.”
He's super into music.
He sang about his super powers to Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud" on Jimmy Fallon, which is probably how Gaga and Renner share their connection.
Jennifer Nettles Announces ‘I Can Do Hard Things’ Music Video Through New PSA
By SHAKIEL MAHJOURI. 20 hours ago
Jennifer Nettles’ new song is more than just a song.
The country singer-songwriter will release the official music video for last month’s “I Can Do Hard Things” on Friday. Nettles, 44, is using the promotion to speak about something that is very important to her: community. She also wrote a piece for Medium.
“This song took on a life quickly and unexpectedly. For me, in writing it, I was just writing my own Truth and story. But what I have come to see is that so many women share this Truth and that inspired me to make an invitation,” she said in a press release from Big Machine Records. “This video is an invitation to a community; the beginning of a beautiful tapestry of women sharing their stories of doing hard things.”
“This kind of community is both sword and shield. When you share your own story, you own your power. And when you own your power, it is harder for someone to take it from you. When you share in community, you protect each other’s power and that makes it even harder for someone to take it from you,” she continued. “Owning your power is a shield that says, ‘You can’t take this from me!’ Holding your sister’s power is a sword in front of her that says, ‘Don’t even THINK about trying to take this from her!'”
Nettles released a PSA video featuring a small representation of real women and the stories of “hard things.” The women in the video include an advocate for the transgender community, a photographer who is adopting a baby as a single mom, a graduate research assistant who cares for her disabled mother, and more.
GEORGE STRAIT TEAMING UP WITH BLAKE SHELTON FOR GILLETTE STADIUM SHOW THIS SUMMER
Posted By: StaffMarch 22, 2019 @ 4:31 amCountry Daypop
George Strait will headline a show at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts this August 17, and he will be teaming up with Blake Shelton, Cody Johnson and Caitlyn Smith.
This will be Strait’s first concert in New England since his Cowboy Rides Away Tour at Gillette Stadium in 2014.
Blake and George dropped a humorous video promo for the tour via Twitter, which you can check out on George’s Twitter page: here
Via www.boston.comKraft Sports + Entertainment announced Tuesday morning in a press release that country music…03/19/2019 9:23 AM
Editorial credit: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com
'The Conners' Renewed for Season 2 on ABC
IN THIS STORY
The network's highest-rated new series will return in 2019-20.
ABC is returning to Lanford in 2019-20.
The network has renewed The Conners for a second season after the comedy turned in solid ratings for its first run. The Roseannespinoff is among the top five new series of 2018-19 in both adults 18-49 and total viewers.
Season one of The Conners ran for 11 episodes, and sources tells The Hollywood Reporter season two will be a similar length as several castmembers also have other commitments.
Stars Sara Gilbert (who's also an executive producer), John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Lecy Goranson and Ames McNamara are all set to return. ABC says additional cast will be announced later, but the renewal announcement does not mention Roseanne alum Michael Fishman or newer castmembers Emma Kenney, Maya Lynne Robinson and Jayden Rey.
"We are proud to be continuing the story of the iconic Conner family," said ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke. "This team is fearless in their willingness to tackle contemporary issues with humor and heart, and I have no doubt they will continue to outdo themselves."
The pickup does not come as a big surprise, given the show's ratings and the fact that in January, Burke said the network was close to a renewal deal.
'The Conners' Closes In on Season 2 Renewal at ABC
The series came out of the cancellation of Roseanne, whose revival had huge ratings in the spring of 2018 but ended after star Roseanne Barr's racist tweet about former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett. After executive producer Tom Werner struck a deal with Barr to step away from any creative or financial interest in a spinoff, ABC gave a straight-to-series order to The Conners in June.
The show came up well short of its predecessor's ratings but still put up a 2.2 rating among adults 18-49 and 9.5 million viewers (including a week of delayed viewing). That makes The Conners the No. 1 new comedy of 2018-19; it ranks in the top 20 among all broadcast shows for the season in the 18-49 demographic (excluding sports) and the top 30 in total viewers.
Gilbert executive produces along with Bruce Helford, Dave Caplan, Bruce Rasmussen and Tony Hernandez.
Roseanne Barr Says Sara Gilbert “Destroyed” Her Life and RoseanneAs the fired actress mulls whether she should sue ABC, Roseanne and The Conners executive producer Tom Werner, or everyone involved in the revival, she saved her harshest words for her former co-star, who she says “will never get enough until she consumes my liver with a fine Chianti.”by
MARCH 22, 2019 10:10 AM
Nearly a year after she was fired from ABC and the Roseanne revival for her racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, it appears Roseanne Barrhas found a new person to blame for her professional downfall: Sara Gilbert, who she said “destroyed the show and my life” with one tweet.
Gilbert returned to play Darlene Conner in the revival and also served as an executive producer. Speaking with The Washington Post, Barr said she can’t forgive Gilbert for tweeting that her comment regarding Jarrett was “abhorrent.”
“She will never get enough until she consumes my liver with a fine Chianti,” Barr said. Gilbert, meanwhile, told the Post that her conversations with Barr ahead of the revival had reassured her that the project was a good idea, despite Barr’s troll-like online presence. “I knew that Roseanne, the person, was unpredictable at times, but she told me this was her redemption,” Gilbert said. “I chose to believe her.” (A representative for Gilbert did not immediately respond to V.F.’s request for comment regarding Barr’s digs.)
In the same interview, Barr also railed against the deal she signed that allowed The Conners, which just got renewed for a second season, to air without her participation—creative or financial. Barr said Tom Werner, who executive produced Roseanneand now serves as an E.P. for The Conners, told her the deal would make her look like a hero—and that he personally would publicly state that she was not racist. That promise was never honored, she said, and all hope she might have had of appearing on the new series was dashed when her character was killed via an opioid overdose in the new show’s premiere. Now, the Post reports, Barr is considering whether she should sue Werner, ABC, or everyone involved in the debacle.
Either way, it appears Barr has found plenty of outlets for her anger over the way the series—and her involvement in it—ended. Earlier this week, video surfaced of a comedy appearance in Las Vegas in which Barr copied a classic Donald Trumptactic: insulting the network that spurned her. “Dear ABC,” she said during the appearance, reading from a script. “When you asked me back to once again bail out your shit, fuckin’ low-rated network, I did so with the same vigor I’ve always rocked, and I delivered you the highest ratings that you had in 10 fucking years. At the first sign of controversy, you killed me off with a drug overdose. But you know what? I ain’t dead, bitches.”