CHUMPHON – A 26 year-old Thai man and his girlfriend have been sentenced to life in prison for colluding in the murder of his bride-to-be, who was shot dead just five days before their planned wedding in December last year.
The Chumphon provincial court on Friday passed sentence on Ronnachai Panchart, 26, and Naruemol Chuaysombat, 23, in the slaying of Nontiya Krowjatturat, 25 on Dec 19.
The pair were initially sentenced to death but the sentence was commuted to life behind bars after they confessed and gave useful testimony.
The court also ordered them to pay 500,000 baht to the family of the slain woman for funeral expenses, and 2.5 million in compensation. The defendants were given 30 days to appeal.
Family members of the victim said they were satisfied with the court ruling and would oppose any appeal to the end, Thai media reported.
Ronnachai was caught shortly after the murder. He had admitted killing Nontiya in the residential compound of the Tambon Salui Health Promotion Hospital in Tha Sae district of Chumphon in the early hours of Dec 19.
Ronnachai, who worked for the PEA in Lang Suan district, and Nontiya, a dental health officer at the community health office, were to have wed on Dec 24.
Nontiya was killed by a shotgun blast around 1am on Dec 19. Colleagues found her body after she failed to report for work later that morning.
Police examined closed-circuit camera images and saw a man wearing a mask entering the dormitory area around 1am on that day and leaving about 20 minutes later.
Police searched Ronnachai’s house in Lang Suan district later that day and found clothes similar to those worn by the man in the video.
The couple’s wedding plans reportedly soured when Nontiya went to her fiance’s house and saw him with another woman.
Bamrung Krowjatturat, elder brother of the deceased, said that Naruemol, the second defendant, had denied involvement during police questioning. But officers had obtained firm evidence that implicated her, he said.
The weapon used in the killing belonged to Naruemol. Evidence forced the defendants to confess to the charges before the court, said Mr Bamrung after emerging from the courtroom with his parents.
Source: Bangkok Post, Thaiwrath