3 11-18-88 08:46 pes calif. Court says Drescher can be sent to California CHARLESTON, W.Va

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3 11-18-88 08:46 pes calif. Court says Drescher can be sent to California CHARLESTON, W.Va. (UPI) _ Krishna devotee Thomas Drescher can be sent to California to face charges for the 1986 murder of a Krishna dissident, the West Virginia Surpeme Court ruled Friday. Los Angeles authorities claim Drescher was hired to kill Stephen Bryant on May 22, 1986. Bryant was shot in the head with a .45-caliber pistol. The case reached the state Supreme Court because Drescher appealed an August 1987 Marshall County Circuit Court ruling that approved his extradition. Drescher, who is serving a life sentence in the West Virginia Penitentiary for the 1983 murder of Krishna dissident Charles St. Denis, appealed the ruling, claiming he was not in California at the time of Bryant's death. The former New Vrindaban resident claims he was attending a four-day religious festival in Columbus, Ohio, at the time of the shooting. During his extraditon hearing last year, four people testified that Drescher was in Ohio when Bryant was killed. In his appeal, Drescher's lawyer said the circuit judge ignored that testimony, adding that Los Angeles authorities failed to place his client in California at the time of the shooting. The high court, however, noted in its opinion that California authorities presented evidence from a Los Angeles car rental agency manager showing Drescher rented a car on May 20, 1986 and returned it two days later. Concerning the testimony of the four witnesses, the high court said none of them testified that they saw Drescher at the exact time Bryant was shot. If convicted in California of Bryant's murder, Drescher would face the death sentence.

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