Man who beat murder rap charged with kidnapping, rape & aggravated assault
By Dwayne Bremer
Sep 10, 2013, 18:17
A Kiln man who was charged but never indicted for a capital murder charge in Hancock County four years ago, is back in police custody -- this time for an alleged brutal sexual assault, authorities said Monday.
Mark Anthony Rice, 51, a long-distance truck-driver, was arrested in September 2009, and charged with capital murder after he allegedly killed his girlfriend Natasha Carpenter in California, drove back to Mississippi with the body in the back of his rig and then set the rig and Carpenter's body on fire at a residence in Kiln.
Rice's case was presented to a Hancock County Grand Jury in 2010; however, he was not indicted on the capital murder charge.
Prosecutors said at the time that since the murder did not occur in Hancock County, it was impossible to charge Rice here.
Officials in California declined to charge Rice, as well.
Rice later pled guilty to charges of arson and desecration of a corpse.
He was sentenced to four years in prison and he was released on March 20, according to Mississippi Department of Corrections spokeswoman Tara Booth.
Booth said Rice was on supervised probation and that he has been reporting to his probation officers over the past few months.
On Saturday, Rice was apparently visiting relatives at a residence in Bayside Park when he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman, Hancock County Sheriff's Chief Investigator Glenn Grannan said Monday.
"He was at the residence just hanging out," Grannan said. "At some point, he went into the bedroom and attacked her. It was a brutal assault."
Grannan said the woman's son happened to stop by during the attack and was able to intervene to stop it.
The victim was able to escape to safety and her son then went outside, flagged down a car, and called 911, Grannan said.
Before police arrived, Grannan said, Rice locked himself in the bathroom of the home and cut his wrists.
"The deputies were able to get Mr. Rice out of the bathroom," Grannan said. "There was blood everywhere."
Rice was transported to Gulfport Memorial Hospital where he was held under armed guard, Grannan said.
He was released Monday and transported to the Hancock County Jail, where he was charged with aggravated assault, domestic violence, kidnapping, and forcible rape, Grannan said.
His bond was set at $750,000.
There was no update on the victim's condition by press time Tuesday, but Grannan said the woman is cooperating with the investigation.
Booth said probation officers can file a petition to have Rice's probation revoked once he is formally charged.
Editor's note: The Sea Coast Echo does not identify the victims of sexual assaults during the investigation phases of criminal cases.