Nithiwadee Phucharoenyos, a doctor widely known as “Mor Nim”, accused of murdering her husband and former Olympic marksman Jakkrit Panichpatikum in 2013, was today acquitted by the Appeals Court which reversed the Criminal Court’s death sentence.
She is one of the five defendants accused of colluding to kill Jakkrit. The other four are Jeerasak Klinkhlai, 47, the alleged gunman, Mrs Surang Duangchinda, 76, Santi Thongsem, 32, a lawyer, and Tawatchai Phetchote, 35, a motorcycle driver.
According to the charges, Mrs Surang, Nithiwadee and Santi hired Jeerasak, the gunman who is still at large, to kill Jakkrit. The murder took place in front of Wat Bang Pheng Tai on Ramkhamhaeng road in Min Buri district on Oct 19, 2013.
On Dec 19, 2016, the Min Buri Court sentenced to death Nithiwadee and Santi, the lawyer who arranged the killing contract.
Tawatchai, the motorcycle driver, and Jeerasak, the gunman, were also handed down the death sentence, but the sentence was commuted to life because of their confession.
The four were ordered to pay 2.5 million baht in compensation to Jakkrit’s parents. The amount is subject to an annual interest of 7%.
The Criminal Court had dropped charges against Mrs Surang, who is Nithiwadee’s mother. She confessed that she had arranged the killing because he had physically abused her daughter. But the court found no evidence to support her confession.
The defendants brought the case to the Appeals Court.
The Appeals Court found that it was Mrs Surang, Dr Nithiwadee’s mother, who hired Santi, the gunman, and Tawatchai, who drove a motorcycle for Santi, to kill Jakkrit to stop him from abusing her daughter.
As for Nithiwadee, the court found no evidence of her complicity.
In reversing the lower court’s order, the Appeals Court today found Nithiwadee not guilty and acquitted her of murder charges.
As for Mrs Surang, the court sentenced her to death. However, the death sentence was reduced to life imprisonment because she gave useful information during the trial.
The court upheld the life sentence on Jeerask, the gunman, and Tawatchai, the motorcycle driver.
Dr Nithiwadee and her mother Mrs Surang appeared in court today to hear the verdict. The court issued a warrant for the arrest of Santi, the lawyer, who has been at large.