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Husband Guilty In Nevada Controller Death

The husband of former state Controller Kathy Augustine was convicted Friday of killing her by injecting her with a paralyzing drug that FBI experts detected in her system months after her death.

Chaz Higgs, a critical care nurse, was convicted of first-degree murder two days after attempting suicide for the second time since Augustine's death last July. He faces up to life in prison without parole.

Higgs, 43, stood still as the verdict was read, hands clasped in front of him, eyes toward the floor.

Higgs has said he loved Augustine and blamed the stress of her political career for their failed marriage and her ultimate death. At the time she died she was running for state treasurer as a Republican, trying to resurrect a once-promising political career after being impeached as controller by state lawmakers.

Under cross-examination Thursday, Higgs testified that he slit his wrists Tuesday because he thought he had cleared his name in earlier testimony and wanted to be with his late wife.

He had been free on $250,000 bail until the latest attempt to kill himself, then was jailed under suicide watch.

Police said Higgs injected Augustine before calling 911 from their Reno home on July 8. Thanks to a tip from another nurse, forensic scientists at an FBI lab in Quantico, Va., confirmed the presence in Augustine's urine of succinylcholine, a drug used to temporarily paralyze patients before inserting a breathing tube.