VARNER, Ark., May 2 -- A former nurse who killed her two children in a botched murder-suicide plot was put to death Tuesday.
Christine Marie Riggs, 28, who waived appeals and asked that her death sentence be carried out, was given an injection of lethal dose of chemicals and was pronounced dead at 9:28 p.m.
She was the first woman executed in Arkansas in more than 150 years and the fifth woman put to death in the United States since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976.
Riggs admitted that on Nov. 4, 1997, she killed her 5-year-old son, Justin, and 2-year-old daughter, Shelby, in their Little Rock-area home. She attempted to use potassium chloride -- one of the chemicals Arkansas uses in executions -- but, when it failed, she used morphine on the boy and then smothered both of the children, she said.
Riggs said she was despondent after treating victims of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and testified she intended to kill herself. She took 28 anti-depressant pills after killing the children.
Her mother, who said she was concerned about Riggs' recent behavior, stopped by the Riggs house and found the children on their mother's bed, apparently already dead, and Riggs on the floor barely conscious.
Riggs was working as a nurse in Oklahoma City when 168 people died when a federal office building there was bombed. But officials at the Veterans Administration hospital in Oklahoma City, where Riggs worked at the time, said the nurse was not sent to the scene of the bombing.
During her trial in June 1998, Riggs said: "I want to die. I want to be with my babies. I started this out seven months ago and I want you to give me the death penalty. I don't want to feel guilty. This was a decision I made seven months ago."
In a series of suicide notes, Riggs said she did not want to children to have to live with the idea that their mother killed herself and she did not want to see them sent to different homes. Prosecutors claimed that Riggs was frustrated by being a single mother and was having financial problems.NEWLN: