More MS news articles for April 2002

Man Pleads Guilty In Wife's Death

Inver Grove Heights Man To Be Sentenced June 2

Posted: 1:35 p.m. CST April 4, 2002

Shortly before Larry Draper was set to go to trial to face charges he killed his wife, the Inver Grove Heights man pleaded guilty to second-degree intentional homicide Thursday.

He was accused of strangling his wife and stuffing her body in the family's freezer nearly one year ago.

Draper's sentencing is scheduled for June 3. Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said he will seek a longer sentence than the 25-1/2 years recommended by the state's sentencing guidelines.

"This was a violent crime that took the life of a vulnerable victim," Backstrom said.

Draper's first attorney argued that the case was a mercy killing because Draper's wife suffered from multiple sclerosis and Draper strangled her only after she pleaded for a week for him to kill her and end her pain.

Relatives of Nancy Draper disputed that contention, saying she wasn't suffering to the point of asking to die.

She was suffering from MS for several years, and her husband was her primary caregiver. Draper and his lawyer called Inver Grove Heights police last April 28, reporting that his wife's body was in the freezer in the garage of their home. At the house, police found the body and three typed letters by Draper, including one in which police said he wrote, "I just couldn't watch her suffer any longer," Draper said in the letter, according to police. "She was in a lot of pain. I'm only human." Authorities said that Draper's multiple sclerosis worsened in the past year, and she sometimes used a wheelchair. Larry and Nancy Draper were married for 12 years. Neighbors said that his wife nursed him back to health after he lost his arm in an accident. Draper's current attorney, Joe Friedberg, considered but dropped a plan to use a mental illness defense, and also made the unusual request of having the case tried by the judge instead of a jury.

Prosecutors filed court papers suggesting a motive based on Draper's "incessant pursuit of multiple extramarital relationships." In the months before Nancy Draper's death, prosecutors alleged, Larry Draper had "sexual encounters" with four individuals, and arranged for one woman to visit his house for an encounter April 10, the day after he killed his wife.

Copyright 2002 by Channel 4000