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October 19, 2006
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Ex-wife recalls getting injections from Chaz Higgs

LAS VEGAS - An ex-wife of slaying suspect Chaz Higgs said she gets chills thinking about allegations that Higgs used a paralyzing drug to kill state Controller Kathy Augustine.Kirstin Lattin, 42, of Las Vegas, said Higgs used to inject her with vitamin shots and once administered an intravenous treatment to her when she fell ill after they married in 1990. She said she doesn't suspect Higgs ever poisoned her."But now that Kathy's dead, I've got to tell you, you start thinking about stuff like that," Lattin told the Las Vegas Review-Journal for a Tuesday report.Lattin portrayed Higgs as a manipulative man and a steroid user who stockpiled medications at home and was obsessed with his appearance.One of Higgs' lawyers, Alan Baum, disputed Lattin's portrayal of Higgs and questioned her motives for publicly describing their relationship."There are some people who are so angry and vindictive that they will take the opportunity to kick someone when they are down," Baum said, adding that he believed Lattin was "looking for her 15 minutes of fame."Higgs, 42, is jailed in Reno on a first-degree murder charge in the July 11 death of Augustine, who he married in 2003. Police say Augustine, 50, died after being injected with a paralyzing drug, succinylcholine.Authorities also are investigating the death of Augustine's previous husband, Charles Augustine. He died in 2003 at a Las Vegas hospital while in the care of Higgs, a critical care nurse. Lattin said she met Higgs in the 1980s at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station in Florida, where both were Navy corpsmen at the base medical clinic. She recalled Higgs oversaw clinic medical supplies.Lattin left the Navy, and said she grew close to Higgs when her first marriage fell apart. She said Higgs told her she deserved better, and a whirlwind relationship followed her divorce."Brainwashing," Lattin said. "If I had to put my finger on one thing, I would say brainwashing. This person knows how to get into someone's head, rearrange the thought process, and get you to think exactly what he wants you to think."Higgs was into bodybuilding and tanning, Lattin said, and he fretted over his hair and his clothing."My parents thought he was slick," she said. "My dad picked up on it right away. They didn't like him."Lattin said that after they married, Higgs had medications in the house that weren't prescribed to him, acknowledged using steroids, and spent overnight hours at the gym, Lattin said. She suspected he had extramarital affairs.Lattin said that in the fall 1990, she and a female friend rented a recreational vehicle and drove cross-country with Higgs. She said all three got sick during the trip, and when they arrived in Las Vegas, Higgs insisted on giving Lattin an intravenous treatment.Higgs also gave Lattin almost weekly Vitamin B injections for energy, she said.Higgs left Lattin in Las Vegas and headed for Navy SEAL training in Coronado, Calif. He never completed SEAL training, Lattin said. She filed for divorce, which was finalized in 1992.Lattin, now married to a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper, said she realized when she saw news accounts of Higgs' suicide attempt following Augustine's death that Higgs was her ex-husband.She said she was stunned to learn last month that Higgs had been arrested on a murder charge."I had to sit down," she said. "You hear about people who are shocked so bad they have to drop what they are doing? I sat down right there on the floor."

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Oct 21, 2006 06:50PM Published Oct 19, 2006 03:00AM Copyright 2006 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.