Hancock County Sheriff’s Department
BAY ST. LOUIS, Mississippi (AP) — A Mississippi man will spend the next 25 years in prison for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a Hancock County woman.
Mark Andrew Rice, 53, was sentenced Tuesday by Circuit Judge Chris Schmidt after he pleaded guilty to the charges stemming from an investigation that began in September 2013.
Hancock County deputies said they responded to a report of a domestic dispute at a Bayside home. That is where they found the victim in the front yard and Rice near death from an attempted suicide inside the home.
District Attorney Joel Smith said Hancock County deputies responded to a Sept. 7, 2013, call at a woman’s Bayside home to find her in the front yard and Rice “near death” from a suicide attempt in the main bedroom.
Rice and the woman had been in a long-term relationship and he was a guest at her home earlier in the day, investigators learned. He later returned to the home, and bound and assaulted the woman, Smith said. Then he slit his wrists, authorities said.
The victim’s son, a neighbor, and another man discovered the assault.
“According to the victim, the defendant’s troubles began many years ago when he started using meth. Illegal drug use is at the root of most property and violent crimes,” Smith said.
Rice had just been released from jail in March of 2013 after serving less than four years of a six-year sentence for setting an 18-wheeler on fire with his dead fiancée inside.
Authorities said Natasha Carpenter died of asphyxiation Sept. 17, 2009, in California during a meth-fueled engagement party with bondage sex in Rice’s 18-wheeler.
Rice drove cross-country with the woman’s body under a tarp in his cab’s sleeper. Deputies found the body after Rice parked at a Kiln, Mississippi, home, locked himself in the cab and set the truck on fire.
California prosecutors never tried Rice for murder and he was only convicted in Hancock County for arson and desecration of a human corpse.