DEFENDING THE LION

A MEMOIR TELLING DEBBIE'S STORY

A QUEST FOR TRUTH & ACCOUNTABILITY

Defending the Lion is a book chronically the journey of my family from the day Debbie’s body was discovered, through the wrongful conviction of 2 innocent men, and finding a personal calling to fight for the rights of victims’ families and those wrongfully convicted.

Depictions of wrongful conviction have recently captured popular attention. Yet none of these accounts are told by the murder victim’s family.

This book illustrates how a family from small town Oklahoma – who had every right to seek the power and justice of the courts and the promise of the death penalty – watched in disbelief as that system, designed to find justice for victims of violent crime, crumbled on every level. This left us with the realization that the truth of Debbie’s murder had little to do with the “Carter Murder Case” and even less to do with Debbie Sue Carter.

I share the first hand account of what happened after DNA revealed who really murdered Debbie, and we began a quest for truth and accountability. Though, the truth we found was how the criminal justice system and officials profoundly failed us and the public.

I recount how my family’s private anguish and Debbie’s story took on a public life of its own, when John Grisham put her murder on the national stage in his best-selling book, The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town. 

This book is about ensuring Debbie’s story isn’t defined by the last moments of her life. By knowing her story and feeling her family’s heartbreak you will see how she lives on by defending the lion. 

"Until survivors speak for themselves, however, society will continue to project its hoped-for outcome on their experience and the voice of survivors will only be heard in reaction to the presumptions and misrepresentation of their journey" - (2012) Marquette Law Review, Volume 96 (Issue 1), page 5

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