3 07-17-87 02:39 ped Editors: The United Press International West Virginia news report for

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3 07-17-87 02:39 ped Editors: The United Press International West Virginia news report for Saturday morning newspapers will include: (DRESCHER) Moundsville _ Hare Krishna devotee Thomas Drescher says a religious ceremony next week will erase his past and should permit him to be freed from prison were he is serving a life sentence for murder. 300. 4 07-17-87 03:56 ped calif., n.y., krishna states Drescher says ceremony will erase his past and murder conviction MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. (UPI) _ Hare Krishna devotee Thomas Drescher says he will go through a religious ceremony next week that erases his past and should permit him to be freed from his life sentence in prison for murder. "They should set me free and allow me to preach," Drescher said Friday from the West Virginia Penitentiary. "With this ceremony, you become socially dead. For a Krishna, it means, `Whatever he was, he no longer is."' However, Marshall County prosecutor Thomas White said the ceremony wouldn't result in Drescher's release. It's totally foreign to any jurisprudence I know of," he said. "It's little more than a laughing matter." Drescher said he will take the order of Sannyasa in a religious ceremony next Wednesday inside the maximum-security prison at Moundsville. He said the title of "swami" will be added to his Krishna name. "One becomes fully renounced of material encumbrances. You have to cut off all previous ties with your wife and family," he said. "You must rely solely on Krishna." Drescher, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., is serving a life sentence without chance for parole for the 1983 murder of fellow Krishna Charles Saint Denis. White said Drescher's comment that his past will be erased through the ceremony could be construed as a ploy to avoid extradition to California where he is wanted for the May 1986 murder of Krishna dissident Steven Bryant of Los Angeles. "(Drescher) can't allege he's not the same person just because he has a different name," White said. Drescher's second extradition hearing is scheduled July 31 in Marshall County Circuit Court in Moundsville. He refused during a June 26 hearing to waive extradition.

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