By | December 18, 2008 3 Comments

Dateline TV: Suspicious death of an ambitious politician

Editor’s Note: Lovefraud previously wrote about murder cases profiled by Dateline TV that appeared to be psychopaths at work, although the word “psychopath” never made it into the shows. One was the case of Kathy Augustine, a Nevada politician who ended up dead on July 8, 2006. Was one of her political enemies responsible for her death? Or her fourth husband? Lovefraud received the following press release from CBS News about a follow-up to the case on 48 Hours Mystery.

New dramatic developments in the suspicious death of an ambitious politician
CBS News “48 Hours Mystery” – Saturday, December 20, 2008

Kathy Augustine was an ambitious and sometimes controversial politician who worked her way up the rankings of Nevada’s government. And with a reputation of being ruthless, she developed a lot of enemies along the way. But were these enemies deadly?

In 2004, Augustine became the first state official in Nevada’s history to be impeached, when she was found guilty of violating state ethics laws during her 2002 re-election campaign. In 2006, unable to seek a third term as state controller, she ran for state treasurer. But on July 8 Augustine was found unconscious in her home. She died four days later.

While a preliminary autopsy found no evidence of a heart attack or other obvious cause of death, the medical examiner did find a suspicious puncture mark. Subsequent toxicology reports confirmed the presence of a powerful drug that paralyzes the body’s organs and muscles while leaving the mind conscious. Proof, detectives say, that Augustine had been murdered.

Despite many political enemies, Augustine’s family was convinced her fourth husband, Chaz Higgs, was responsible. Claiming that the couple’s marriage was rocky, they assert that Higgs, eight years her junior, was cheating on his wife. And as a critical care nurse Higgs had the knowledge and access to the same drug found in Augustine’s system. Authorities charged him with first degree murder.

Is Chaz Higgs capable of murder? Or, was Kathy Augustine the victim of her corrupt political opponents?

Correspondent Troy Roberts reports dramatic new developments in 48 HOURS MYSTERY: “Power, Passion and Poison,” Saturday, Dec. 20 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Click here for a preview of the broadcast.

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Thank you for the information about this broadcast.

While television presents vivid accounts based on investigative reporting, true crime books are another good accurate source for learning about the consequences of psychopathy for the innocent!

Not long ago, our library featured mysteries and true crime books in a display. I checked out Dominick Dunne’s book “Fatal Charms” because I remembered hearing Dunne’s references to the murder of his daughter during his interviews about the O.J. Simpson trial. I never knew much about his personal loss. This book provided his account of the entire ordeal and all the personalities involved including the judge at the trial of the murderer! Many of these people, including the judge (a major N, IMO!), are candidates for some of the disorders we refer to on this site! The book has essays about Claus von Bulow, Elizabeth Taylor, Gloria Vanderbilt, Imelda Marcos, and others who acquire fame and fortune while breaking the rules!

The chapter about his daughter left me wondering how he could ever reconcile the murder of his daughter with the legal injustices that he and his family were forced to accept. It was disheartening to realize this kind of thing goes on every day. Psychopaths benefit and the innocent victims suffer additional pain .

Ann Rule is another true crime author who writes about sociopaths/psychopaths and their chilling acts of violence.

Ox Drover

I watched 48 hours mystery last night, I have been watching it most every week lately,, and they are profiling crimes that are definitely done by psychopaths, but last night they actually said the word “sociopath” and described how the man, Peter Porcos, who ax murdered his father, and almost his mother, showed “no emotion.”

They had a pretty good circumstancial case against him, with videos of his almost unique vehicle (a yellow Jeep) leaving his college campus, going through various check points, and toll booths on the two hour drive to where his parents lived, a witness who saw the jeep there at the time the parents were killed, and other evidence that he was guilty. A few hours after the attack, his mother told the police it was him, but later, due to her severe head injury, she had no memory of saying that, or of even the night of the attack.

I felt so bad for her, for losing not only her husband, but also her “son” that she firmly believed did not do themurder or the attack on her.

I noticed that the other son was essentially NC with his brother, and that he was not shown in any of the photos of the killer’s birthday party (while he was out on bail) etc.

The motive was apparently that he had been pretending to be a “rich kid” to his frat brothers, telling all kinds of grandiose lies (sounds like a P to me) about how rich his family was, etc. stealing from his parents, forging checks on his father, and flunking out of school. There was apparently also a large life insurance policy on the lives of his parents that he would have inherited had they both been killed.

After the police questioned him, he was caught in many many lies to them about that night. It was so TYPICAL P behavior, almost as “bad” as Scot Peterson.

I have been impressed with the shows, and wished that they WOULD USE the P word or the S word, and last night they did, but I also wish they would “define it” better and show that it isn’t just the homicidal ones that are dangerous.

By the way, Chaz Higgs has appealed his conviction to the Nevada Supreme Court. I knew Kathy Augustine when she was first elected to the Nevada Assembly and then to the Nevada Senate. She was a ruthless politician. I’ve worked for the Nevada Legislature and for lobbyists in the state. It is unlikely, in my opinion, that anyone in the world of Nevada politics would have harmed Kathy. After she admitted to ehtics violations (and paid a hefty fine) and then was impeached by the Nevada Assembly (and found guilty on one charge although the Nevada Senate simply sanctioned her and did not vote to remove her from office), her political aspirations were over. Yes, she was running for State Treasurer at the time of her death, but it was extremely unlikely that she would have won that office.

Chaz Higgs hurt himself by his behavior, both immediately following her death and during the trial. Kathy was ruthless and had no hesitation in cruelly attacking her opponents with false information. I think Kathy was narcissistic and she never apologized or offered regret for anything. Despite that, Kathy did not deserve to die as she did, and especially at a relatively young age.

Is Chaz Higgs a sociopath? Because his appeal is still pending, anything he says during a TV interview must be taken with a grain of salt as he will never admit that he killed Kathy or show remorse for having done so as it could be used against him in his appeal or during a new trial, if one is granted. I think he may be more forthcoming (and maybe even admit his actions) once all appeals have run.

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