Man charged with arson, capital murder

Published 1:34 pm Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A call to the Hancock County Sheriff’s concerning a flaming 18 wheeler truck resulted in a suspect facing charges of arson and capital murder.

Mark Anthony Rice, a 47 year-old truck driver who was at his ex-wife’s home at the time of the fire, was arrested on scene.

Investigator Kenny Hurt with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department said the incident took place Thursday evening at about 5:31 p.m. off of Kiln-Picayune Road.

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Officers responded to the scene and found Rice and a body inside the flame engulfed truck. Hurt said an officer was injured when he pulled Rice from the burning vehicle. The body found inside the burned vehicle is believed to be a former girlfriend of Rice’s who is believed to be from Texas.

Peronell with the Hancock County Coroner’s office have released information about the vicitm. The victim has been identified as Natasha Carpenter, 30, from Armarillo, Texas.

Rice has been charged with aggravated assault on an officer by arson, capital murder and tampering with evidence, Hurt said.

An initial appearance took place Friday where the presiding judge set no bond for Rice.

“He ain’t going nowhere, I can promise you that,” Hurt said.

Hurt expects Rice to attend a preliminary hearing sometime in October.