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Ex-MP receives death sentence for masterminding murder

Sep 24. 2019
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By The Nation

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The Khon Kaen Provincial Court today (September 24) sentenced Nawat Tocharoensuk, the former Khon Kaen MP of the Pheu Thai Party, to death for being the mastermind behind the 2013 murder of Suchart Kotthum, the former chief administrator of Khon Kaen Provincial Administrative Organisation.

The court found Nawat guilty of having hired the previously-sentenced defendants to kill Suchart, sentencing him to death and also ordered him to pay Bt300,000 as compensation for funeral expense to the victim's family, according to a source at the court.

After Nawat was taken to a detention cell, his legal team proceeded to apply for his release on bail while pending an appeal to fight the conviction at a higher court, the source said.

The murder took place on May 3, 2013 with a gunman shoting dead Suchart in front of his home in Tambon Nai Muang of Muang Khon Kaen. Five male suspects - Pol Sen Sgt Maj Weerasak Chamnanpol, former deputy superintendent at Nong Rua police station Pol Lt Col Somjit Kaewphrom, Prapan Sripilai, Boonchuay Jungklang, and Piyapong Meekambang - were subsequently arrested for colluding in the premeditated murder and violation to the Firearms Act.

The primary court had on October 29, 2014 sentenced Pol Lt Col Somjit to life in prison and Prapan to 37 years, 14 months and 30 days in jail, while the other three defendants, who maintained their innocence, were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

In 2016, the Appeal Court sentenced Pol Lt Col Somjit to death and Prapan to life behind bars, while also overturning the other three men's acquittal and sentenced them to life in prison. After the Appeal Court verdicts, the five filed an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Later, the Khon Kaen Court issued an warrant on April 3, 2018 for Nawat's arrest for hiring others to commit a murder, which led to him being sentenced to death today

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