2 12-02-88 04:22 pes Krishna killer taken to California MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. (UPI) _ Califor

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2 12-02-88 04:22 pes Krishna killer taken to California MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. (UPI) _ California officials have taken Hare Krishna devotee Thomas Drescher to Los Angeles so he can be tried for the murder of Krishna dissident Steven Bryant. John Massie, a records clerk at the West Virginia Penitentiary confirmed that Drescher was escorted from the Moundsville prison Thursday and flown to California where he was lodged in the Los Angeles County Jail. Only a few of the prison's officials knew the three plainsclothes detectives were taking Drescher out of the prison. "He left the institution with the clothes on his back and his Krishna beads," Massie said. Since Jan. 14, 1987, Drescher has been serving a life prison term without hope of parole in the West Virginia Penitentiary, following his conviction for the murder of former Krishna devotee Charles St. Denis. Drescher has contended that he was not even in California on May 22, 1986, when Bryant was killed. The Hare Krishna follower who lived at New Vrindaban in Marshall County began to fight his extradition in June 1987, after California officials first sent papers to West Virginia corrections personnel asking that Drescher be brought to the West to face murder charges in a state that has the death penalty. On Tuesday, before Marshall County Circuit Judge Richard Warmuth, Drescher exhausted his final plea to stop his extradition as the judge approved his removal from the West Virginia Penitentiary. Drescher, in handcuffs and leg irons, was put on a 2 p.m. flight to Los Angeles Thursday. A preliminary hearing will be held in California. Because of court backlogs in Los Angeles County, the date has not been set for the hearing.


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