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Two Sent To Jail For Exorcism Death

December 1, 1994

HORSHAM, Australia (AP) _ Two religious zealots were sent to prison Thursday for killing a woman who suffered a heart attack after a weeklong exorcism.

They were convicted of manslaughter in the death of Joan Leonora Vollmer, 49, who they said spoke in voices other than her own, had enormous strength and had a face that sometimes looked like a dog or a pig.

Mrs. Vollmer died Jan. 30 1993 at her farm in Antwerp, near Horsham, after her husband and three other people held her on a chair for four hours in 102- degree heat to try to exorcise the demons.

As well as being prayed over, Mrs. Vollmer was slapped, her stomach and neck were massaged and her mouth was forced open. Prosecutors said the stroking of her neck, on the carotid artery, triggered the heart attack.

Leanne Merlyn Reichenbach, 32, was sentenced to four months imprisonment and David A. Klingner, 30, to three months. Mrs. Vollmer’s husband and a fourth defendant received suspended sentences.

Judge Graeme Crossley said the treatment Mrs. Vollmer endured ″was rough and unwarranted and absolutely unjustified.″

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