She was ultimately charged with the shootings. The motive was thought to be a new boyfriend who didn't want kids. At the trial, Christie Ann Downs, who was 8 at the time of the shooting, and who suffered injuries that affected one arm and her speech, testified that her mother shot her and her siblings. Cheryl Lynn Downs, 7, was killed. Three-year-old Stephen Downs was paralyzed from the waist down. In an odd twist, Christie Ann and Stephen were adopted by the prosecutor.
Ann Rule wrote a book about it called Small Sacrifices: A True Story of Passion and Murder (Signet).
Downs was pregnant at the time of her sentencing, and gave birth to a girl a few days later. Now Glamour magazine has the story of the girl Downs was pregnant with - Rebecca Babcock. "Rebecca Babcock always knew she was adopted, but at 16 she was rocked by the discovery that her birth mother, Diane Downs, was a murderer, convicted of shooting her own children."
The story is co-written by Eric Mason. The article says he is now a PI, but used to be a TV reporter. Eric interviewed me - twice! - about my books. It's a small world.
Read more about Rebecca here. While she is seeking a co-writer for her life story, I think it would be a great starting point for a novel.