CHON BURI – Pattaya Provincial Court Judge Sirichai Polkarn Tuesday sentenced Australian Antonio Bagnato, 28, to death for his role in the murder of a former Hells Angels member Wayne Schneider.
Australian Antonio Bagnato and U.S. national Tyler Gerard, 22, were arrested after police found the battered body of Wayne Schneider in a shallow grave in the beach resort city two years ago.
Bagnato and 22-year-old American Tyler Gerard were arrested days after Schneider’s naked body was found in a shallow, sandy grave in Chonburi, about 30 kilometres from his luxury villa in Pattaya.
In a 40-minute reading of the decision, the judge said evidence provided by security guards at the villa as well as DNA evidence linked both Bagnato and Gerard to the assault on Schneider.
The judge said Bagnato was tied to bloodstains on a white cloth, various plastic items and weapons which had been prepared before the attack including knives and knuckle dusters.
He said the guards had provided supporting testimony and that their evidence had “appeared to be truthful about attempting to help Schneider”.
Gerard’s sentence was reduced from an original three years because he had cooperated with the investigation, his lawyer told Reuters
Bagnato’s lawyer declined to comment on the death sentence verdict.
“We’ve got hearts and they’re hurting right now,” said a brother of Bagnato’s who did not wish to be further identified, outside the hearing.
Other family members expressed bitterness at the sentence, calling it “ridiculous” but declined to make a statement to AAP.
Late last year Australian, Luke Hunt, was convicted by the Pattaya Court of aiding and abetting by driving Bagnato and his family to the Cambodian border.
Thai police say conflicts over a multi-million dollar drug network extending from Europe to Asia had allegedly led to the killing.
It was uncertain whether Bagnato’s lawyers would lodge an appeal. However, Thailand rarely carries out the death penalty.