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Old 11-15-2019, 03:34 AM   #1
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Default Debbie Race

As a Minnesotan I was appalled to watch the UM segment on Debbie Race and then google to find that people are actually STILL in support of her murderer, Larry. Including HER parents! Debbie Race does not deserve this indignity in death, especially after how poorly she was treated by Larry while she was still alive.

In this case I believe the evidence points to a religious couple who hid their dirty laundry and refused to divorce in order to follow their church's teachings. Larry was unhappy and knew divorce was not an option so he murdered his wife instead. I believe he got the idea for the murder when his boat sank the summer before. I believe he was at the very least emotionally and psychologically abusive towards Debbie in the years before he murdered her.

I did research on Debbie's case for secret reasons that I can't reveal or I'll be accused of having an agenda where I care about domestic violence victims.
The original episode details:
• On May 12, 1982, the body of 33 year old Debbie Race washed up on a Lake Superior shore. Her life jacket was intact and had kept her afloat so she did not drown, but instead had succumbed to hypothermia. Lake Superior’s temperature is below freezing and someone left in the water would have little chance of survival.

• Police accused Debbie’s husband, Larry Race, of deliberately allowing her to freeze to death in Lake Superior. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to life. Larry claimed he is innocent and even Debbie’s parents believed him.

• Larry claimed the jury that convicted him was prejudiced because he had a long history of adulterous relationships. He said Debbie's death was an accident and that the only thing he was guilty of was adultery.

• Larry and Debbie lived in Hoyt Lake, MN with their three children. Larry liked to boat and scuba dive and Debbie devoted her life to her home, family, and the church. However their marriage started to suffer under the strain of Larry’s affairs. Larry says in 1982 they had vowed to work on their marriage.

• May 11, 1982 was the couple’s 14th wedding anniversary and to celebrate they decided to take a trip to Lake Superior for dinner and cruising on their boat the Jenny Lee, named after their daughters. Larry: “It felt as if things were starting over again. Things had like a renewed spirit. I wanted to stop what I was doing, and I was thinking maybe this is the chance. You know, I have a wonderful woman here, there’s nothing wrong with her (emphasis mine), and I want to take an about face.”

• Around 9pm that night Debbie noticed that the boat was taking in water. Larry said Debbie began to panic and that she had no faith in the Jenny Lee because it had nearly sunk the summer before. They pulled the cover off the engine and saw that water was spraying all over the place. They shut the engine down by taking the alternator and loosening up the bolt, and dropping the alternator. As soon as they dropped the alternator, and it shut the engine down, the water stopped leaking in. After fixing the problem Debbie went to start the engine, but couldn’t get it to turn over. Larry said he tried to start the engine until the battery was almost dead, but he also could not get the engine to turn over. They went to the back of the boat and heard a "gushing, wooshing" noise coming from the bottom of the boat and Debbie began to panic, scaring them both. Larry said he panicked with her and didn’t pay attention to what he needed to be doing and made poor judgments by listening to Debbie when she said they should get off the boat. They pulled the first life raft out to blow it up with the scuba tank and saw that it had holes in it and was useless, so they tossed it aside. They pulled the second life raft out, it was fine and filled up with air. Larry explained that even though the rafts are for two men, there is only room for one person per raft, and so he told Debbie to get in and he would drag them to shore.

• Debbie put her purse, other valuables, and Larry’s shoes into a gear bag, grabbed a scuba tank, and got into the life raft. Larry had his dry suit and scuba tanks on board and thought that he could swim them to safety just like he had done before with his daughters.

• Larry: “I knew I had to push her to shore, and I knew I could. I was strong enough, she said the same thing. She said ‘Larry, you’re strong enough, you can do it.’ I pushed and I pushed, and I was making it. I was okay, but I started getting cold. She was terrified and at that time, I knew I couldn’t get in the raft. And I thought that, you know, I would die. And at that time, I made a poor judgment. Looked off to the right, and there was lights coming. I said I’ll go for help. The lights were closer than swimming to shore. Debbie was going that way towards shore, I was going the opposite way for help. One of us were going to get help. One of us were going to get to shore—Debbie was going to get to shore for help, or I was going to get to the boat for help. One of us were going to get somebody to help.”

• It turns out that the light Larry had seen was his own boat and this time the engine started when he tried it. He searched for Debbie and fired distress flares. He could not find her, returned to shore and notified the Coast Guard. They conducted a grid search of the lake, but could not find her. The next afternoon Debbie’s body was found on the lake shore and Larry was charged with her murder.

• After Larry was convicted of Debbie’s murder he hired new legal counsel and appealed his conviction saying he had been the victim of incompetent counsel. He said that if he had testified, against his previous counsel’s wishes, the jury would not have found him guilty.

• The case was based only on circumstantial evidence, but the prosecuting attorney, John DeSantoof, said that he is 100% without a doubt sure that Larry killed Debbie. He said the evidence at trial showed that at the time of her death Larry had wanted out of his unhappy marriage and also that he had taken a $108k life insurance policy out in her name seven months prior.

• The defense attorney said that $37k of that policy was for mortgage insurance and that it came along with the mortgage on Larry’s house. The rest of the policy was paid out by a local credit union and there had been some testimony that it was actually Debbie who had sought out the policy.

• At trial the prosecution said that Larry concocted the entire failed engine story, but after trial the Jenny Lee was sold and examined by an independent mechanic who determined the starter on the boat was worn and that the type of problem he saw with it could cause an intermittent starting failure. DeSantoof says that the mechanic who examined the Jenny Lee for a post-conviction hearing did so a full two years after the trial and that he could not verify that it had been a problem at the time it had been used by Larry. The evidence was ruled irrelevant by both the trial court and in the appellate courts.

• Larry Race is adamant that he had two life boats on board the Jenny Lee the night Debbie died, but DeSantoof said the evidence clearly showed there was only one raft on the boat that night. Every one of Larry’s diving companions or friends that testified at trial said that they had never seen him in possession of two blue and yellow rafts as he claimed. Search and Rescue testified that if the raft had existed they would have found it.

• At trial a Deputy Sheriff testified that Larry had specifically pointed out that he had two rafts and said “What about rafts? I have two.” The prosecution said the Deputy’s testimony was inconsistent because when he was first questioned 11 days after Debbie’s death he said he knew nothing about two rafts.

• The prosecution claimed that Larry pushed Debbie and the raft well away from the Jenny Lee, returned to the boat, donned his scuba equipment, and hopped back in the water where he swam back under Debbie’s raft and slashed it with a knife, leaving her to freeze to death. DeSantoof said that at trial there was evidence presented of five punctures, or cuts, in the bottom of the raft that could only have been placed there while it was inflated. The experts testified that the raft’s air chambers had to have been inflated at the time because there were no puncture marks at the top of the raft, only the bottom. The cuts were also strategically placed so as to cut both air chambers on the raft and was clearly not random. The puncture marks did not match the only knife found on the Jenny Lee, however.

• The prosecution asserted that once Debbie had been set adrift, Larry dragged the life raft back to the Jenny Lee so that he would have support for his story about attempting to inflate a first raft.

• Jean Aubineau, an "underwater expert," said that the theory presented by the prosecution would mean that Larry had super human abilities and could accomplish super feats that were not physically possible. Debbie’s body was found seven miles away from where the Jenny Lee was last spotted by witnesses and Aubineau said that would be impossible for a body to drift so far without a raft. He claimed that she would have hit shore around one to two miles away from the boat. DeSantoof said that they don’t actually know the physical coordinates of where the Jenny Lee was when the couple abandoned the boat, so the drift theory set by Aubineau would be impossible to prove or disprove.

• Larry’s defense attorneys said that Debbie’s skin lividity in her body also proved that she came ashore in a life raft because her blood had not sunk to her feet. They claimed it would have done so if she’d been upright and floating in the water with her life vest, as the prosecution asserted. DeSantoof explained, “The lividity of Debbie Race’s blood following her death was to the back, and that was consistent, or is consistent with the fact that she floated in the water with that life jacket, without a raft available to her. Because as the expert testified at trial, this particular life jacket would have kept her basically face up on her back as she floated, following her death. Her body, of course, was then found face up, on its back, on the shore of Lake Superior as well, which would continue the lividity to her back. And the autopsy report clearly indicates it was to her back.”

• Without hearing from Larry himself, the jury found him guilty of murder. Michelle Lee, their daughter, believed her father was innocent. Franklin and Sylvia Selvey, Debbie’s parents, also believed Larry was innocent. Sylvia: “If you only knew Larry, you wouldn’t think that Larry would ever do anything like that.”

• Larry was paroled after serving 22 years for a murder he maintains to this day that he did not commit.
Updated information not included in the original broadcast:
• The underwater “expert” was a St. Paul man who owned a scuba diving business and organized diving outings on Lake Superior. He did not have any expertise on how far dead bodies are able to float down a shoreline.

• Evidence at trial showed that the Jenny Lee had a perfectly operating bilge pump on board that could have handled a leak six times as serious as the one during their crisis, but it was not used during the night before Debbie’s death.

• Witnesses testified that Larry had at least four affairs in the two years before Debbie’s death and that he complained to his lovers that Debbie was overweight and a messy housekeeper.

• Sylvia testified that Debbie had a weight problem, but it didn’t affect her marriage and she was a "good Christian who loved the Lord."

• On his first appeal, Larry accused the government of withholding evidence to win the case.

• Police say there were inconsistencies in Larry’s statements from the beginning. He first told them that he had no scuba tank on board and then later said he used it to inflate the raft.

• Larry told police repeatedly that he did not have scuba diving air tanks on his boat at the time, but he changed his story after a witness told police that he had seen Larry loading a tank onto his boat.

• Since 1976 Larry had been an avid boater and scuba diver. In the scuba diving course he completed the subject of hypothermia was thoroughly covered. Court documents say “In the ensuing years, appellant Race spent substantial amounts of time and money on the sport, diving as much as 40 times per year, almost always in Lake Superior. During this time, not only did appellant become an excellent diver, but he also acquired substantial knowledge about immersion hypothermia.”

• “Other expensive equipment was purchased to enable appellant to dive for shipwrecks on the bottom of Lake Superior. Included among that equipment was a dry suit, which is significantly better than a wet suit for diving in the cold Lake Superior waters. For a diver to stay in cold water for extended lengths of time, a dry suit is considered a necessity. According to the trial testimony of Dr. Robert S. Pozos, an expert on hypothermia, a diver in a dry suit could stay in 37° Fahrenheit water almost indefinitely without developing hypothermia.”

• “In late summer 1981, while appellant and two of his children were aboard the Jenny Lee several hundred feet off shore, the boat began to take on water. Appellant then donned his dry suit, put the children into an inflated life raft, and pushed the life raft carrying the children to safety on the shore. On that occasion, the Jenny Lee eventually sank. After the Jenny Lee had been raised from the lake, appellant Race proceeded to effectuate repairs. Much of the repair work was done by himself, but he did hire a mechanic to overhaul the boat's engine. In the course of the engine overhaul, new gaskets and new steel bolts were installed, but the exhaust manifold was not rebuilt. In installing the rebuilt engine in the boat on May 7, 1982, difficulty was experienced with an exhaust manifold bolt. One of the bolt holes was stripped and had to be re-threaded. On-land testing of the remounted engine revealed no difficulty other than a very slow drip-type leak that appeared to pose no danger to occupants of the boat. Upon water testing, the boat seemed to run well, and the leak did not worsen.”

• “One of the deputies who questioned appellant in the patrol car testified that appellant told him that as his wife and he were cruising approximately one mile out from the Lakeview Castle, a leak developed in the water jacket of the engine. The cause of the leak was a bolt which had come loose from the water jacket. The bolt was taped back into the water jacket to restrict the flow of water. After the repair, which appellant said was completed between 8 and 9 p.m., he attempted to restart the boat's motor. He was unsuccessful and thought the engine was flooded. Appellant claimed he activated the bilge pump to pump out water which had entered the boat from the leak. When he did so, the pump made a sucking noise on the floor of the boat. He said this caused Deborah, an "excitable and strong-willed person with a great fear of water," to become hysterical. She allegedly thought the pump was pulling the bottom of the boat loose. Appellant claims she then insisted on getting into a life raft and leaving the boat. Before doing so, however, she assisted him into his dry suit.”

• “Appellant then related that he started towing the raft to shore by swimming. He said he eventually became cold due to his failure to wear his diving gloves. He stopped towing to warm his hands. As he was rubbing them together, the raft, with Deborah in it, drifted away. After yelling to her to head towards shore, he swam back to the boat, the lights of which were still visible, and signaled for help with flares. An attempt to start the engine was immediately successful and it ran fine. After cruising in the boat for approximately 20 minutes in an unsuccessful search to locate his wife and the raft, he decided to go to shore for help. He estimated he was in the water three hours from the time he lost contact with Deborah and the life raft and the time he got back to the boat. When asked if he had a scuba tank aboard, he denied that he did.”

• “Trial testimony established that appellant owned two diver knives, but neither of the knives was found in the boat on May 12 or was otherwise accounted for.”

• “During the boat inspection on May 12, officers noted several gallons of water still in the cut rubber life raft. In his original statement to the deputy sheriffs, appellant had specifically stated that following his unsuccessful attempt to inflate it, the raft had not been in the water. In a later statement, appellant altered his story and said that he had thrown that raft overboard. On the morning of May 12, both caps to the air chambers of the raft were securely closed, notwithstanding appellant's indication that following the unsuccessful attempt to inflate the raft, he had thrown it aside. Appellant's various statements concerning the raft were inconsistent. He maintained two life rafts were on board, that one could not be inflated, that he tossed it aside, and that it was never in the water, a statement later changed."

• "At first he claimed he had no scuba tank aboard, but later admitted he did and had used it to inflate the raft. No scuba tank was found on May 12. Appellant could not account for its absence. Although he had his diving equipment on board, neither of the diving knives was found.”

• “The longest affair [Larry had] lasted from 1976 until the weekend before Deborah's death. Two of these women testified that appellant complained to them about his wife, that she was overweight, that she spent too much money, and that she was a poor housekeeper. The state likewise produced testimony indicating that after Deborah's death, appellant contacted each of these two women and suggested, explicitly or implicitly, that if questioned by officers, they should state their relationship with him had been no more than friendship.”

• There is an unconfirmed report of Larry Race getting remarried after being released from prison, but I could not find records for it.

• Larry was released from prison in 2005 after serving 22 years. He never successfully appealed his conviction. He has a lot of support in his community for his innocence and many times before he was paroled they rallied together to present petitions begging for his release.

Last edited by quabbityashwoods; 11-15-2019 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 11-15-2019, 09:31 AM   #2
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All of this information has been discussed in other threads about the case.
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Old 11-15-2019, 09:51 AM   #3
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Every single piece of information I provided has been discussed all in one place? Because I have yet to see Larry Race's name in the same sentence as domestic violence.
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Old 11-15-2019, 10:49 AM   #4
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Because I have yet to see Larry Race's name in the same sentence as domestic violence.
Welcome to the board!

When people here said they firmly believe Larry killed his wife, I'm pretty sure that qualifies as domestic violence.

Your synopsis is cool and all, but like Cars said all of these points have been posted here before in other threads on Larry Race. Some still think he is innocent, many are on the fence, and many think he is guilty because of the holes in his story (no pun intended).
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Old 11-15-2019, 10:58 AM   #5
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I guess I wasn't aware that a full breakdown of a case in one concise place with the exact clarification that this case is domestic violence, would be so unwelcome on a message board about cases. My bad.
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Old 11-15-2019, 11:21 AM   #6
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I guess I wasn't aware that a full breakdown of a case in one concise place with the exact clarification that this case is domestic violence, would be so unwelcome on a message board about cases. My bad.
Despite Larry having multiple affairs on his wife, there has yet to be any information about this case involving domestic violence.
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Old 11-15-2019, 11:24 AM   #7
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Okay except for the evidence of emotional abuse & the fact that multiple affairs are abuse. This was an escalation of domestic violence.
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Old 11-15-2019, 11:55 AM   #8
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Okay except for the evidence of emotional abuse
There is no evidence of that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by quabbityashwoods
the fact that multiple affairs are abuse.
Equating affairs to domestic violence is absolutely absurd.
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Old 11-15-2019, 12:26 PM   #9
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The fact that you're getting so obviously upset at the suggestion that a man killed his wife because he escalated his violence against her makes me think you have no actual understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence.
Nonconsensually cheating over & over on your partner is abusive. Your personal issues with it are not my issue.

If I need to list my qualifications I will. But you clearly do not have the range for this conversation.
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Old 11-15-2019, 12:35 PM   #10
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If anyone is actually interested in learning about domestic violence & how abusers use infidelity to abuse their partners, check out this website on domestic violence:

https://breakthesilencedv.org/is-che...d-for-control/

Some key points:

If your partner strayed and you’re not sure if it’s an abusive tactic, then here are questions to consider:

• Does your partner call you derogatory names?
• Does your partner cheat on you and then insult you about your appearance, weight, or other physical factors?
• Does your partner regularly cheat on you and blame you as the reason causing their behavior?
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Old 11-15-2019, 12:45 PM   #11
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The fact that you're getting so obviously upset at the suggestion that a man killed his wife because he escalated his violence against her makes me think you have no actual understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence.
Nonconsensually cheating over & over on your partner is abusive. Your personal issues with it are not my issue.

If I need to list my qualifications I will. But you clearly do not have the range for this conversation.
Larry was a total a-hole and he was a scumbag for how he continued to cheat on his wife and talk poorly about her. He should have worked on their issues or simply left her and got a divorce. But he didn't.

I think he killed his wife because I think the evidence shows that. However, I don't think the evidence shows that he was ever physically abusive to her before this. I'm not discounting neglect or possible mental abuse, however there is nothing to show this was an escalation of physical violence.

If you have qualifications in this area, great -- I'd be happy to hear about them. At the end of the day, I don't think it matters if it was escalating or not if he killed her. Domestic abuse is horrible and is far too common. There are many examples of it on UM and most are way more clear cut than this.

This board is here to discuss the UM cases and theories and opinions on them. Honest question: are you here to discuss cases, or are you here to push an agenda for your Twitter page/podcast? We're always happy to have new people here to discuss UM cases but you seem to have an agenda here on domestic violence. That is just an honest observation based on your posts. That is a noble cause but I'm not sure how it relates to what is discussed here or how it is applied in this case.

Cheers.
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Old 11-15-2019, 01:43 PM   #12
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The reason I mentioned my twitter account was to explain why I was doing all of this research on a supposedly random case & to invite people who share a similar interest to join me.

I never said he was physically abusive, I said there is evidence of mental abuse. Any kind of abuse can escalate to physical violence, regardless if there was any physical abuse to begin with.

How is the motive of domestic violence not relevant to this case? How is pointing out cases of domestic violence "having an agenda"?

I'm honestly baffled by the pushback on this.
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Old 11-15-2019, 02:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd Mueller View Post
Honest question: are you here to discuss cases, or are you here to push an agenda for your Twitter page/podcast?
I think it's the latter.

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I know it's not part of Unsolved Mysteries, but every once in awhile I stumble across something that mentions Aileen Wuornos & it makes me itch to write something defending her.
^ Real tweet from that account. Several other real winners.
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Old 11-15-2019, 02:58 PM   #14
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But you clearly do not have the range for this conversation.
Can I increase my range by repeatedly blaming white men as being "dangerous" and advocating for them to be profiled?
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Old 11-15-2019, 03:32 PM   #15
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Can I increase my range by repeatedly blaming white men as being "dangerous" and advocating for them to be profiled?
Wow you're that uncomfortable with this topic dude? That's my twitter account, I didn't bring any of that over here. You did.
Nothing you're saying is negating any evidence I have brought up. I'm done engaging with you.
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