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At last I can be with my babies; CHILLING: LAST WORDS OF NURSE WHO KILLED HER KIDS.

A NURSE who murdered her two children was executed yesterday - and her last words were: "I love you, my babies."

Before she died, Christina Marie Riggs, who had begged for the death sentence, also said: "Now I can be with my babies as I always intended."

She was the first woman to be executed in Arkansas for more than 150 years and the fifth in the US since capital punishment returned in 1976.

Riggs had insisted throughout that she wanted to die. She withdrew all appeals and refused to seek clemency from state governor Mike Huckabee.

The attorney general's office said if Riggs, 28, had changed her mind at any time, the governor's office would have granted her a reprieve.

Her lawyer, John Hall, said: "All she had to do was ask. She wouldn't ask."

A group of 60 people protested against the execution - waving placards in front of the governor's mansion in Little Rock.

As it was, the 19-stone woman's execution was delayed for 18 minutes when jail staff at Varner couldn't find a suitable vein in her elbows. She agreed to have the needles in her wrists.

Riggs wept just before the sentence was carried out. She said: "No words can express how sorry I am for taking the lives of my babies."

Just a few hours earlier, she had her last meal - a pizza with salad, strawberry shortcake and limeade. Riggs told prison bosses that she intended to use potassium chloride in her lethal injection.

That was the same heart-stopping drug she intended to use to kill her children, Justin, five, and Shelby Alexis, two, in 1997.

In the end, she smothered them and then took 28 anti-depressant tablets, intending to commit suicide.

The children were found dead and she was found on the floor beside them.

At her 1998 trial, Riggs pleaded with the jury to give her the death penalty, saying: "I want to be with my babies."
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Author:Moore, Ron
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 4, 2000
Words:323
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