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‘Icebox killer’ sentenced to almost 44 years

BANGKOK: A Bangkok court has sentenced an Irish man to 43 years and 10 months in jail for attempting to kill a policeman, forging passports and moving the dismembered body of an American businessman found in a freezer in a high-profile case last year.

By Bangkok Post

Tuesday 19 December 2017, 08:33AM

International fugitive Peter Colter, 64, aka William Johnson and Herbert Craig Lafon, tried to kill a policeman who arrested him last year in a raid on his home. Photo: Bangkok Post / file

International fugitive Peter Colter, 64, aka William Johnson and Herbert Craig Lafon, tried to kill a policeman who arrested him last year in a raid on his home. Photo: Bangkok Post / file

The charges against two Americans in the same case were dismissed. However, the court ordered them detained pending an appeal.

Peter Colter, 64, whose other names are William Johnson and Herbert Craig Lafon, was charged with attempting to kill a policeman, moving a body, having passports and stamps, having drugs, guns and bullets, and violating immigration laws.

Police arrested Lafon/Colter on Sept 23 last year in a shophouse on Sukhumvit Rd after a US suspect implicated him in supplying a forged passport.

During the arrest, Colter pulled a gun and shot the arresting officer during the raid. He was quickly subdued in a violent struggle.

Two other Americans, Aaron Gabel, 34, and James Eger, 67, were also charged as they were the ones who signed the contract to rent the shophouse.

Police found seven items of guns and bullets in the shophouse, as well as 4.5 grams of crystal meth (ya ice), a bag of marijuana, a bottle of ketamine and 10 forged passports.

The three men were also charged with destroying the body of Charles Dittle, an American businessman, by cutting up the body and storing the parts in a freezer at a house on Ekamai Soi 2.

They later moved the parts to the shophouse on Sukhumvit Soi 56. The incidents took place between October 2008 and January 2016, according to evidence given at Colter’s trial.


When police searched the shophouse on Sept 23, 2016, Colter fired three shots at Mst Sgt Kanjanapong Chedej, making the arrest, and then fought physically, injuring two policemen. The policeman was treated and survived.

After the arrest, police searched the apartment and found four body parts in the freezer on the first floor.

The court praised the testimony of witnesses – a maid, the freezer vendor and a man hired to move it – that Colter was the one who owned the freezer and ordered it moved with full knowledge of what was in it.

The court sentenced Colter to life in prison for attempting to kill a policeman. He also got two years for moving the body, having forged passports for sale (four years), having crystal meth for sale (seven years and a fine of B450,000), having marijuana for sale (three months), having ketamine (one year and six months) and possession of guns and ammunition (one year).

Since his testimony was partially useful, the penalty was cut by a third to a total of 43 years and 10 months and a fine of B300,000.

Under Thai law, he will actually serve a maximum of 20 years.

As for Gabel and Eger, the court found the evidence against them was not enough to convict, as it did not show they had bought the freezer or were involved in moving the body. But the court ordered them detained pending a state appeal.

Read original story here.



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