The ruling was read at the Min Buri Court in Bangkok on today (Aug 7). The case involves the murder of former national shooting team member Jakkrit Panichpatikum, 41, on Oct 19, 2013 after a row with his wife.
The Appeal Court overturned the first court’s decisions and ruled that there was no evidence to prove that Dr Nitiwadee, 41, had hired anyone to kill Mr Jakkrit. Existing evidence pointed to her 75-year-old mother Surang Duangjinda as the mastermind and was consistent with Surang’s confession. The evidence showed that Surang had a middleman ask lawyer Santi Thongsem to hire a gunman and a motorcyclist for B200,000 to kill Mr Jakkrit.
The Appeal Court sentenced Surang to death and then commuted the penalty to life imprisonment for her useful testimonies.
The Appeal Court, however, upheld the first court’s rulings on the other defendants in the case.
Lawyer Santi, 31, was sentenced to death. Gunman Jirasak Klinkhlai, 36, and motorcyclist Tawatchai Phetchote, 36, were sentenced to life imprisonment. The Appeal Court also ordered the four to payB 2.5 million in compensation to Mr Jakkrit’s family.
The Appeal Court found Surang’s motive was that her only daughter had been beaten frequently by Mr Jakkrit. Since her granddaughters – the couple’s two children – were also psychologically affected by the violence, she did not want him to reunite with her daughter.
While the ruling was being read, Dr Nitiwadee, whose nickname is Nim, cried but her mother remained calm.
The court later released Surang on bail of B1mn and prohibited her from leaving the country.
On Dec 19, 2016, the Min Buri Provincial Court sentenced her and lawyer Santi to death for masterminding the murder. The court of first instance also handed down life imprisonment sentences to killer Jirasak and to Thawatchai, who drove the motorcycle Jirasak rode on.
Shortly before the murder in October 2013, Dr Nitiwadee, a dermatologist, filed a complaint against her national sportsman husband, who she said beat her under the influence of methamphetamine (ya bah). Jakkrit said that he was clean. He told police he assaulted her because she made him jealous.
Police searched Mr Jakkrit’s house and arrested him on charges of assault and illegal possession of weapons, as well as domestic violence. In mid-August 2013, Mr Jakkrit finally was allowed bail on his fourth request.
Mr Jakkrit then found out that some of his assets were missing from his personal safe deposit box. He accused Dr Nitiwadee of taking them without his consent while he was in custody.
Dr Nitiwadee denied the allegation, saying that it was their joint property. She claimed she also had a key to the deposit box.
She said she took the assets because Mr Jakkrit threatened her while he was in custody, saying that when freed he would withdraw and spend all their money on another woman.
In September 2013, then-social development and human security minister Paveena Hongsakula tried to reunite the couple during a public event.
On that day, Mr Jakkrit posed with a bouquet of flowers, asking for Dr Nitiwadee’s forgiveness. Both smiled for the cameras.
One month later Mr Jakkrit was shot three times while driving his black Porsche near Soi Ramkhamhaeng 166 in Bangkok late on Oct 19, 2013. He was on his way to meet Dr Nitiwadee, who lived separately in another house further down the same road.
Dr Nitiwadee said she was talking to Mr Jakkrit on the phone about their plans to renovate their house. Mr Jakkrit, accompanied by a maid, was driving from his residence on Ramhamkaeng 174 to Dr Nitiwadee’s house in Ramkhamhaeng 162.
After he was shot, his maid called Dr Nitiwadee, who arrived at the scene a few minutes later and tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him.
In November 2013, police arrested Jirasak, the gunman, who confessed that he was hired by Santi.
Dr Nitiwadee’s mother Surang then came forward and confessed to hiring the gunman. She said she acted alone because Mr Jakkrit had repeatedly abused her daughter during their six-year marriage.
She claimed her daughter was not involved in the murder.
Read original story here.