By KESINEE TAENGKHIEO
Ittipon’s son, Santiparb Pengduang, and Suttipong Pimpisarn, have been serving life sentences for the murder since 2014.
Six defendants were involved in the abduction and murder of Akeyuth, a real estate businessman.
In June 2013, Santiparb and Suttipong abducted Akeyuth, detained him, and took Bt6.6 million worth of property from him before killing him and burying his body in southern Phatthalung province.
Santiparb’s parents, Ittipon and Jit-ampai Penguang, received Bt4.4 million cash from their son.
The court deemed their action as an offence of receiving stolen property under Article 357 of the Penal Code.
Lower courts sentenced the couple but only Ittipon appealed to the Supreme Court. The court yesterday upheld the judgement.
Akeyuth’s murder captured the media spotlight as he was a strong critic of then-prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her brother Thaksin. There was huge speculation about the mastermind behind his initial disappearance and then murder.
Before his death, Akeyuth told his lawyer Suwat Apaisak that he felt someone wanted to kill him.
Suwat also claimed he had talked to Santiparb during his detention and was told that a team of professional killers had actually murdered Akeyuth.
Akeyuth launched a website – Thai Insider – that published many reports and opinion pieces highly critical of Thaksin and Yingluck.
Evidence submitted to the court showed that six defendants with “money” were behind the attack.
Santiparb and Suttipong were convicted of premeditated murder and robbery. By detaining and killing Akeyuth, they got Bt6.6 million in assets and cash from him.
In 2014, the Primary Court handed down the death penalty but the Appeal Court reduced this to life in prison on the grounds that their confession during interrogation proved useful.
Two other defendants, Chawalit Wunchum and Tiwakorn Kua-thong, were sentenced to 19 and eight months’ imprisonment respectively for their involvement in the case, as they carried guns and tried to hide Akeyuth’s body.