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Supreme Court Judges Suspends Prison Term of “Road Rage” Killer

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Supreme Court Judges Suspends Prison Term of "Road Rage" Killer

A man who shot and killed a teenager during a heated argument no longer need to serve any jail time after Thailand’s Supreme Court Judges reduced his 10 year sentence to three years and four months with a suspended the term.

Mr Suthep Phochanasomboon, an engineer, 56, shot and killed grade 10 student Navadol Puengpai, 17, at Khrok Yai intersection on Ang Sila Road in Muang district of Chon Buri on Feb 4, 2017.

In September 2018, the Chon Buri provincial court Judge found Mr Suthep guilty of the premeditated murder sentenced him to 10 years in prison. The court Judge fined him 2,000 baht for carrying a gun in public and ordered him to pay 340,000 baht compensation, plus interest at 7.5% to his victims family.

The Appeals Court upheld the lower court’s ruling on Oct 11, 2019.

According to the Appeals Court police testimony, a van belonging to Navadol’s friends had parked and blocked Mr Suthep’s car carrying his wife and family. Mr Suthep allegedly demanded the van be moved so he could pull out and leave, triggering a heated argument, adding Mr Navadol the shooting victim was present at the scene.

Defendant shot and killed teenager

Mr Suthep honked his car horn and flashed his headlights to hurry the group into moving the van, the court reported. At the same time, he began swearing at the van’s occupants.

The court said Mr Suthep chased after the van once it moved off and continued to honk repeatedly. It said both vehicles stopped at an intersection, where Mr Navadol and his friends got out and strode over to Suthep’s car.

Mr Suthep then shot and killed Mr Navadol saying he feared for his family. In May, Suthep was released on bail for 874,000 baht pending his Supreme Court appeal.

The Supreme Court judges decision was read out at the Chon Buri Provincial Court on Thursday, in the absence of the defendant and his lawyer.

The Chon Buri provincial court judge had been due to read out the Supreme Court’s decision on May 12 this year, but the defendant and his lawyer failed to appear in court. The Judges ordered the seizure of Suthep’s 874,000 baht bail money and issued a warrant for his arrest.

Unless he was caught first, the Supreme Court’s decision was scheduled to be read out in absentia on Thursday.

Supreme Court Judge Ruling

In the ruling, the judges reduced the 10-year-jail term to five years, saying he killed Mr Navidol in excessive self-defense. His prison term was then reduced to one third, or three years and four months, plus the 2,000 baht fine for carrying a weapon in public.

The prison sentence was then suspended for three years and Mr Suthep was put on probation for two years.

The judges ordered Mr Suthep to report to probation officers every three months, undergo training in controlling his anger and perform 30 hours of community service.

Source: Bangkok Post, Thairath

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