Mickey Remund

Hydroplane Racer on Trial

A former hydroplane racing champion tried to burn down the Lemon Grove, California home of his ex-wife while she was sleeping inside and did the same thing at his stepdaughter’s residence in Spring Valley, a prosecutor alleged Thursday.

Eugene ’’Mickey” Remund, 76, faces three counts of premeditated attempted murder for what Deputy District Attorney Chantal De Maurigne called “a murder-suicide gone bad” during her opening statement. Remund’s attorney, Brad Patton, countered in his opening statement that his client made tapes before the incident in which he said he did not intend to harm anyone.

Remund, who drove Miss Budweiser, The Squire Shop, and other racing boats in the 1970s and ‘80s, is also charged with two counts of arson of an inhabited structure and one count of making criminal threats. A former winner of the Thunderboat Regatta on Mission Bay, Remund faces life in prison if convicted.

The lawyers said Remund was married to Gale Remund for 18 years before they divorced in 2007, a year after she took out a restraining order against him.

On June 22, 2008, he went to his wife’s home as she slept and lit the garage on fire, De Maurigne said. The garage is not attached to the rest of the house, but connected by a short breezeway. She woke up to the sound of sirens and was not hurt. De Maurigne said Gale Remund called her daughter to tell her what happened, and the younger woman, “Skeeter” LaGrace, realized her own house was on fire. Her partner, Katherine Simmons, ran outside to find the defendant there.

“If you come out I’m going to shoot you,” the defendant told Simmons, according to De Maurigne. “They heard what sounded like popping noises. They had to go back inside a burning house.” The women escaped through a back window and were also unharmed, the prosecutor said.

The defense attorney said his client was found on the ground near the second house, after he shot himself with a stud gun used for construction. Remund shot himself through the chin with the tool, and the rod it fired was protruding through his forehead when he was found, Patton said. He recovered. The defendant was upset because he kept losing his property because of family court rulings, and he believed LaGrace was egging her mother on, the lawyer said.

* * *

Breaking News: According to an AP wire service story on June 5, Mickey Remund was convicted of arson, but acquitted of two attempted murder charges by an El Cajon, CA jury. Lawyers say he may yet face trial on a third attempted murder charge.

[Reprinted from Thunderboat, July 2009]