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Tragic ending for daughter of poisoned Nevada lawmaker

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Updated: 8/29/2012 5:54 pm
We continue to follow the apparent murder-suicide involving the daughter of a murdered Nevada lawmaker. Dallas Augustine's life was plagued by tragedy and there were questions about how her father died. Her mother, Kathy, was poisoned by her step-father and today Phoenix police say Dallas is the suspect in an apparent murder suicide involving her partner. News 3's Elizabeth Donatelli is in the studio after talking with friends who had known the couple for years.

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) – The daughter of murdered state lawmaker Kathy Augustine is the suspect in a murder-suicide involving her partner. Family and friends describe their relationship as committed, but volatile.

It’s a tragic end to a troubled life. Phoenix Police say it appears that 32-year-old Dallas Augustine shot her 50-year-old partner, Jessie McCaskill. They discovered the bodies inside their home Monday, but don’t know how long they had been there.

“You don't ever really expect to hear that kind of news,” said friend Terry Hernandez.

Hernandez met the couple in 2006 when Augustine returned to Las Vegas after her mother, State Controller Kathy Augustine, was murdered by her husband Chaz Higgs.

“Dallas was a very strong person,” Hernandez said. “Jessie was a sweetheart.

He said the couple joined 20 or so of their male friends on a cruise.

“Dallas would be the one, she would be standing in one location and Jessie would be the social butterfly working the room,” said Hernandez.

Michael Franklin met them around the same time when he was new to town. They were very active in the social gay community.

“We just hit it off right from the beginning and they took me around and introduced me to everyone in the room and made me feel like part of the community,” said Franklin.

Both friends say the couple was in love and committed, but they fought.

“I’ve seen them in some very nasty fights where they both were physical,” said Franklin. “Could I have foreseen it? No.”

Phil Alfano, Dallas Augustine’s Uncle, met McCaskill at the funeral. He said his niece led a troubled life, had substance abuse issues, and cut herself off from the family.

“I would see her on occasion get very very angry and loud,” Alfano said. “I didn’t suspect this kind of an ending, but she lead a life that I didn’t think she would live very long to be honest with you.”

It’s unclear what happened in the moments leading up to their death. A neighbor was under the impression they were moving together, but police say it appears only one was packing.

The autopsies are scheduled for the end of the week.
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