By The Nation
The court convicted Herbert Craig La Fon, 64, on seven charges. He was initially sentenced to life imprisonment but the sentence was commuted by one third because he provided useful information during his interrogation.
The court acquitted two other American defendants, James Douglas Eger, 67, and Aaron Thomas Gabel, 34, but ordered them to be remanded pending a decision by authorities whether to appeal their acquittal.
Initially, the court sentenced La Fon to life imprisonment for attempted murder of police officers, two years for concealing a body, four years for having and selling forged passports, seven years and a fine of Bt450,000 for having crystal meth for sale, three months for having marijuana in his possession, one year and six months for having ketamine in his possession and one year for having an illegal gun and ammunition in his possession. All the sentences were reduced by one third.
The rulings against the three defendants were read on Friday.
Prosecutors said the three men were found at a building on September 23, 2016, to jointly have in their possession a gun and ammunition, 4.522 grammes of crystal meth, a small bag of marijuana, and one small bottle of ketamine.
They were also charged with having forged passports in their possession with the intent to sell - three were French and one was American.
Prosecutors also said the three had collaborated to mutilate the body of Charles Edward Ditlefsen - a US citizen of Hungarian descent - and initially concealed the body in a refrigerator in a house on Soi Ekkamai 12.
They later moved the refrigerator to a commercial building on Soi Sukhumvi 56, prosecutors said.
Public said the body was concealed from late October, 2008, to late January, 2016.
The court was told that La Fon entered Thailand in early January, 2008, and did not pass through the immigration process.
The suit stated that when Phra Khanong police went to the commercial building to arrest the three, La Fon used his 9mm pistol to fire at a police officer and severely injured him. He also fought with two other officers and slightly injured them.
The three defendants pleaded not guilty when their charges were filed.
The court said in its verdict that it believed the police account of the raid on the commercial building on September 23, 2016. The three defendants were arrested following information given by an American, Donald Kramer, who was arrested on September 15, 2016, for using a forged passport.
Kramer told police he bought the passport at the building where La Fon lived.
The court was told that during the raid, three western men and a Myanmar couple were found while La Fon was on the fourth floor.
La Fon injured three policemen while resisting arrest and police later found the concealed body, drugs and forged passports.
The court ruled that La Fon's account that he knew nothing about the concealed body was unreasonable because he admitted that he had the refrigerator moved from his house to the building.
Although police found 52 visa rubber stamps in La Fon's room, prosecutors and police failed to prove that he made them so a charge of making fake visa rubber stamps was dismissed, the court ruled.
La Fon was convicted in Article 269/8 and Article 269/9 of the Criminal Code for having forged passports in his possession.
Charges against the two other defendants that they assisted in concealing the body were dropped as prosecutors and police failed to prove they helped La Fon. Their fingerprints were not found on the refrigerator.
The court said there was also no evidences to substantiate charges that the two other defendants knew about the forged passports, illegal firearms and drugs.