Higgs Booked into Washoe County Jail


Three months after he claimed that his wife and former state Controller Kathy Augustine had suffered a severe heart attack, Chaz Higgs arrived back in Reno late Wednesday night to face charges that he poisoned her.

Higgs arrived at the Washoe County Jail in an unmarked SUV escorted by police officers and detectives. Since he is being booked on 1st degree murder, he is expected to be held without bail.

Higgs, 42, is scheduled to be arraigned at 10 a.m. Friday on a first-degree murder charge in the death of Augustine, who police say died on July 11 after Higgs had allegedly injected her with a paralyzing drug.

The critical care nurse was arrested Sept. 29 in Hampton, Va., where he waived extradition. Authorities planned to transfer him late Wednesday to the Washoe County Jail, where he was expected to
arrive sometime after 10 p.m.

The extradition comes a day after authorities exhumed the body of Augustine's previous husband, Charles Augustine, who died in 2003 at the age of 63.

His death certificate listed complications from a stroke, but family members say they suspect he was another victim of foul play at the hand of Higgs.

Higgs had cared for Charles Augustine at a Las Vegas hospital, then married Kathy Augustine in Hawaii three weeks after her husband's death.

Clark County Coroner Michael Murphy said a detailed analysis of Charles Augustine's tissue samples could take weeks or months.

Kathy Augustine died at a Reno hospital three days after she was rushed there. Tests revealed traces of a powerful muscle relaxant,
succinylcholine, in her system. The drug, which paralyzes respiratory muscles, is used by medical personnel to allow the insertion of breathing tubes while patients remain conscious.

At the time of her death, Kathy Augustine was campaigning for state treasurer. She had been impeached by the Nevada Assembly, convicted by the Senate for using state equipment on her 2002 campaign and censured, but she had not been removed from office.

Higgs' lawyer, Alan Baum, said Higgs welcomes the exhumation in Las Vegas and denies killing either of the Augustines.

"If it will help in the pursuit for the truth, we've got no problem with that," Baum told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "Chaz is not responsible in any way for Charles Augustine's death, and we are not afraid of the results. It's morbid, but let's clear the air."


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