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Rice Fasts Again

September 25, 1996
By: ELIZABETH McKINLEY
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri's leading televangelist has begun another hunger strike in an effort to free a Missouri inmate.

This time, the Rev. Larry Rice is seeking the release of a woman who claims she committed murder in self-defense.

In literature distributed by Rice Wednesday, Boone claimed she had spent more than a year in terror from a stalker she eventually killed, Pat Hollensteiner, whom she claimed had attacked her with a knife.

For the past four and a half years, Boone has been incarcerated for the murder of Hollensteiner.

At a news conference Wednesday, Rice pledged to starve himself for as long as necessary until Boone is released from prison.

Rice said he is prepared to go for weeks without food until Gov. Mel Carnahan grants Boone a pardon. Since Monday night, Rice said he has only consumed liquids like juice, milk or water. And after three weeks, Rice said he will only drink water to get the governor's attention.

Rice said the governor is so preoccupied with his campaign that Carnahan is not focusing on what is important.

"Why wait until after the election," he said. "A stroke of a pen would set her free."

But the governor's spokesman, Chris Sifford said the case is currently under review, but that nothing was imminent.

"We just may not do it on (Rice's) terms," he said.

Sifford denied Rice's charges that politics had affected the timing the review.

Just over a year ago, Rice fasted for the release of Johnny Lee Wilson, a retarded man who had been jailed for murder. Rice said he lost 26 pounds while starving himself until Wilson's pardon.

After Wilson's release, Rice said he received numerous request to help others claiming to be wrongly incarcerated.

Rice estimated 3 percent to 5 percent of those incarcerated in Missouri are innocent. He said the governor should use his power to grant pardons more frequently.

Only a few days into his latest fast, Rice said he already is experiencing side effects.

And he said he is prepared to go without food, even if it means a hospital bed and an i.v.