Remember Diane? She (played by Farrah Fawcett in the movie) was the "mother" who shot her three children because her married boyfriend (played by Ryan O'Neal in the movie) didn't want children. Ann Rule wrote a book that the movie was based on called "Small Sacrifices".
She went before the parole board last week and was denied. Imagine that! I read the transcript of her hearing and folks, it was scary. I came away from it feeling that either she is the craziest woman in the country OR (to play Devil's advocate) they hopped her up on some serious drugs before they allowed her to go in there. She brought a book with her to the hearing. It was a book of short stories about Angels. She repeatedly referred to this book as having evidence of a conspiracy surrounding her conviction. She stated often during the hearing that this book would exonerate her and prove to the world that she was rail roaded. Hmm.
Her father, Wes Fredickson, has a website (www.dianedowns.com) dedicated to Diane wherein he pleads her innocence. He has also self published a book which is supposed to prove her innocence. As of this writing, he is being sued for the contents of it. I have read everything on that site and I will say he makes two interesting points. First, there was no residue on her and there were no blood splatters on her both of which would have indicated her as the shooter. I spent the better part of 4 hours trying to find out if those statements were true or not but couldn't find anything to either collaborate his statements or refute them.
Having said the above, I still feel she was guilty as hell and is exactly where she deserves to be. The rest of his site is dedicated to detailing "witness" statements who name the "real" shooter. They say this guy killed the kids because Diane owed him money.
Now, my problem with this is the fact that although Diane changed her story more often than she changed her underwear, three facts were always consistent and three facts alone. The location of the shooting, the location of the shooter (when she first saw him) and how she and her children happened to be in that spot at that moment.
The location was a lonely strip of a road. The location of the shooter when she first saw him is always that he was standing in the middle of the road in front of her car trying to flag her down. And the third consistency in her story(s) is that she, on the spur of the moment, decided to take this lonely strip of a road as a shortcut to get to another road.
My problem with this is simple. If the guy she owed money to was out to kill her children because of it, how in the hell did he know that she would be coming down that exact road, at that exact spot, at that exact time? I would come closer to believing this fairy tale IF Diane had stated that the guy was behind her. Then I could think he followed her. But in each and every tale she utters about that night, he is ALWAYS standing in the road in front of her car flagging her down. Unless this guy has teleporting powers, I don't see how this scenario could be possible.
Sometimes, it's not what a person changes about their story that tells you volumes. It's what they don't change and because of the above consistencies, I have no doubt that she is guilty.
I understand her father's pain and completely understand him wanting to convince SOMEONE that he could never have raised a daughter who would do this to her children. However, he needs to put it to rest. She did it. He needs to accept that fact and try to move forward from that standpoint. I am very sorry for him and her mother. I really am. I can't imagine being in their situation.
Back to Diane. When I googled her, it came up with 182,000 hits. When I googled John Gacy I got 110,000. WOW!
I think people are still intrigued by her for several reasons.
1. She was a mother of 3 small children (ages 2-6) who viciously and systematically shot each of them. One by one. In a moment of passion to shoot one person can sometimes be accepted (never a child but anyway) but to shoot 3 children who were in a car, it would require her to shoot the one sitting next to her, get out of the car, go around to the back door, open it, lean in, shoot another child. Then close the door, walk around the car, open the door, lean in, shoot the third child. Now also, it should be known that while she was shooting the other two the first child sitting in the front seat apparently opened the door and fell out of the car, still alive. Diane then had to go to her, pick her up, put her back into the car and then she shot her again. Now that's a LOT of effort to put into killing your own children. It was proven at court that she then drove 5 - 8 miles an hour to the hospital. She apparently wanted to make sure she didn't get there before she thought they were all dead because the ones in the back seat were still making "gurgling" noises.
The middle child, Cheryl, died. The oldest child, Christie is partially paralyzed on her left side after suffering a stroke from the massive loss of blood and the baby, Dan, is paralyzed from the waist down.
2. Diane was way past flamboyant and has always been described as being very pretty (I think she looked average but that's just my opinion). She made really good press. She loved the press and sought out attention anywhere she could get it. In an interview right after the shootings Diane was asked about her feelings regarding the incident. Diane stated: "Everybody says you sure were lucky. Well, I don't feel very lucky. I couldn't tie my damn shoes for
about two months. How's that for motherly concern? At the time of this interview, Cheryl was dead, Christie had suffered a debilitating stroke and Danny was paralyzed from the waist down for life and she is concerned that she couldn't tie her "damn shoes for about two months".
3. Another reason I think folks are still captivated is because the prosecuting attorney and his wife adopted the surviving children and raised them as their own.
During these years, Diane has escaped from prison, been put in the hole for trying to start a drug ring while in prison, been put in the hole for being physically and verbally abusive to the employees of the prison and has attempted on numerous times to contact her former lover and his wife, as well as, threatened the lives of her remaining children and their adoptive parents. Yeah, she's a real peach.
As I stated earlier, Diane Downs is exactly where she needs to be and she should never be free to walk the streets of any town ever again.
But that's just me.