HANCOCK COUNTY, MS - A man recently released from prison after setting his dead fiancee on fire, now stands accused of brutally attacking a woman.
Mark Rice was just released from jail in March, but now he’s back in custody on charges of kidnapping, sexual battery and aggravated assault. He’s accused of beating a woman so badly that Chief Investigator Glenn Grannan called the attack one of the most heinous attacks he has dealt with in Hancock County.
“She suffered injuries to her face. She suffered injuries to her throat; He attempted to strangle her with the electric cord attached to a lamp,” Grannan said. “She suffered injuries to her buttocks area and back side as a result of a sexual attack.”
The unidentified woman was found by a roommate who had returned home to find the victim bound with duct tape and electrical ties. Unlike idiots in the movies, this person did not go into the house and investigate, but rather ran out of the house and called 911. The roommate returned to the home with neighbors and helped get the victim to safety.
Police found Rice unconscious inside the home after trying to take his own life by slitting his wrists.
Rice had not been out of jail long, having served less than four years of a six year sentence for setting his 18-wheeler on fire with his dead fiancee inside back in 2009. He’d avoided a murder charge after telling the courts that the dead woman, a prostitute named Natasha Carpenter, was his new fiancee.
He said that she suffocated as they celebrated their engagement with a meth and bondage sex party. Rice said Carpenter was gagged when he passed out, and dead when he woke up. Rice said he panicked and drove from Barstow, California to his hometown of Kiln, Mississippi with Carpenter’s dead body in the cab.
One of Rice’s family members took away his gun when he threatened to kill himself, so Rice climbed inside his truck and set it on fire. Law enforcement managed to pull him from the truck, but not before one deputy suffered serious smoke inhalation.
Because Carpenter died in California, the state of Mississippi could not charge him with manslaughter. California was not going to charge Rice with manslaughter because there was “insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”
In 2011, a very lucky Rice pleaded guilty to arson and the desecration of a human corpse. He was sentenced to six years in jail, with two years suspended for time served. Hancock County authorities felt that if Rice had been tried for manslaughter in Mississippi, they would have gotten a conviction.
Grannan said they are going to make sure these new charges stick and that Rice is placed behind bars for a long, long time.
“Our goal is to take him out of society so someone else won’t become a victim, and we think we have a very good opportunity at this point,” he said.