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Texas teenager arrested in death plot, September 25, 1958

September 25, 2008 |  5:11 am

Houston girl held in plan to kill family

Teenager is in custody on charges of shooting her brother to death. She tells police she was unable to carry out plot to murder her parents.


Coming soon: "The Defiant Ones" with Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis.


Above, Diana Day Humphries, 16, breaks into tears as she meets her mother at a Houston jail.

Diana was a brilliant teenager, a 16-year-old Houston high school senior with an IQ of 142. One of her teachers said she was "destined for success" and that was true until the day she decided to kill her family.

She stayed home from school with an upset stomach that day. Diana watched TV in the den and held a loaded .22 rifle as she waited for everyone to come home: her 14-year-old brother, Robert; her mother, an airlines clerk; and her father, a retired Navy seaman.

"I lay in bed and planned how I was going to kill us all. I wanted to kill everyone quickly so that we wouldn't have to suffer anymore... I wasn't mad at anybody. I don't know why I did it," she said. "I wasn't mad at anybody."

Diana told police: "It seemed that everyone was always tired; that we were always getting up, going to work and school, coming home, eating, cooking meals, washing dishes and going to bed and getting up again."

She shot her brother when he came home from school. "He fell forward into the den and his books dropped," Diana said. "I put another bullet into the gun as quick as I could because I didn't know if he was dead and I didn't want him to suffer.

"So I shot him again in the back of his head."

Next, Diana planned to kill her mother.

"She drove up in her car and came up the walk," Diana said. "I saw then that there was no way that I could shoot Mother without her seeing me.... So I yelled at her not to come in the house, that I didn't want her to see Robert. I started crying and told Mother that I had shot Robert and that I was going to shoot us all but I couldn't shoot her."

Diana was given a psychological examination that showed she was "very disturbed" but extremely bright. She was held without charges, according to the Associated Press.

Unfortunately, there are no further details about this tragic case. It's hard to understand why there weren't follow-up stories. But apparently there were none.   

Update: J.R. Gonzales, my history blog counterpart at the Houston Chronicle, says Diana was committed to a mental hospital in 1959.