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Hare Krishna Guilty of Killing Another

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United Press International

A jury here Friday found Thomas Drescher, a Hare Krishna dissident, guilty of murdering another devotee in 1983 at the Krishna commune in Marshall County, W.Va. The jury deliberated three hours, 45 minutes before announcing its verdict.

Drescher, 37, of Ravenna, Ohio, faces life in prison, with sentencing scheduled for Dec. 15. His victim on June 10, 1983, was Charles Saint Denis.

Drescher is charged with the May 22 murder of another dissident Krishna follower, Steve Bryant, whose body was found in a van in Los Angeles.

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Another Los Angeles man, Dan Reid, 31, also has been charged with murdering Saint Denis and faces a Jan. 13 trial in Marion County, W.Va. The body of Saint Denis has never been recovered.

Jury foreman Timothy Shrout said Friday’s verdict against Drescher was a “tough decision” but added, “No one had to be swayed.”

He said the jury deliberated for almost four hours because “we wanted to make sure we had our facts straight and understood what had been said.”

Shrout, county prosecutor Thomas White and defense lawyer Robert McWilliams agreed that the key testimony came from four people who said Drescher told them how he killed Saint Denis.

Witnesses testified that Drescher shot Saint Denis 10 to 12 times, and that he and Reid then stabbed Saint Denis repeatedly. Drescher and Reid were said then to have placed the victim in a pre-dug grave before attempting to destroy the body with corrosive chemicals.

The bespectacled Drescher, wearing a tie and blue corduroy sport coat, sat motionless while the verdict was read then shook his head when jurors were polled by Judge Robert Halbritter to verify the unanimous verdict. Drescher didn’t testify during the four-day trial.

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