Court upholds conviction but reduces sentence
The Supreme Court has commuted a life imprisonment sentence handed down to the mother-in-law of sharpshooter Jakkrit Panichpatikum to 25 years in prison for masterminding his murder and upheld the acquittal for his wife.
The ruling was read out at Min Buri Court in Bangkok on May 24 this year, bringing to a close the nine-year murder case of the well-known member of the national shooting team who was gunned down on Oct 19, 2013.
The Supreme Court stood by the Appeal Court's decisions, clearing Nitiwadee Pucharoenyos of masterminding the murder of her husband while finding four other defendants guilty of the charges.
It also considered her mother Surang Duangjinda to have been the chief orchestrator of the murder plot, but disagreed with the Appeal Court decision that sentenced her to life in prison.
According to the Supreme Court, Surang was overwhelmed and compelled by the suffering of Dr Nitiwadee who was her only daughter who was beaten frequently by Jakkrit and sometimes in front of her grandchildren.
It said the penalty could be further reduced under the Criminal Code. While upholding the guilty ruling, the court reduced the life sentence to 25 years in prison.
In the same ruling, the Supreme Court upheld the rulings against three other defendants in the case.
Lawyer Santi Thongsem, who remains at large, was handed down a death sentence while gunman Jirasak Klinkhlai and motorcyclist Thawatchai Phetchote were given life imprisonment.
The top court also agreed with the Appeal Court's order demanding the four defendants pay 2.5 million baht in compensation to Jakkrit's family.
In August 2018, the Appeal Court overturned the lower court's decision and ruled that there was no evidence to prove that Dr Nitiwadee had hired anyone to kill Jakkrit.
Dr Nitiwadee, known as Mor Nim, was given the death sentence by a lower court for ordering a hit on her husband. However, the Appeal Court said evidence pointed to her mother, Surang, as being the mastermind.
Jakkrit, 40, was shot and killed on Oct 19, 2013 by two men on a motorcycle while driving his Porsche near Ramkhamhaeng Soi 166 in Min Buri district.