If found guilty, Papke faces 15 to 20 years imprisonment, or the death penalty*.
Papke, who worked as a fitness instructor in Rawai, initially confessed to killing his girlfriend Pischa “Lek” Nampadung, a 35-year-old beautician at a salon in Rawai,
However, during his first court appearance in October Papke changed his plea from guilty to not guilty, claiming that he did not intend to kill Ms Pischa.
Regardless, Chalong Police Deputy Superintendent Lt Col Somsak Sopakarn told The Phuket News at that time that police would forge ahead with the murder charge.
“We have enough evidence to prove that Papke murdered Ms Pischa and that he also attempted to conceal her body,” Col Somsak confirmed. (See story here.)
Ms Pischa’s body was found on July 10 last year dumped in the Phuket jungle wrapped in blankets and bound with packing or insulation tape beside the road about 600 metres along the newly graded track leading into the jungle north of the cement factory on Muang Chaofa Rd. (See story here.)
However, a surprise twist in proceedings is that according to the Phuket Provincial Court court register, Papke now also faces a charge involving a Category 1 narcotic.
Under the Narcotics Act, Category 1 drugs include heroin; amphetamine; methamphetamine; MDMA (Ecstasy) and LSD.
The Phuket News today (May 4) was unable to confirm the exact drugs charge that Papke now faces.
Papke is scheduled to appear in court at the next session if his trial, scheduled for June 5.
* Although punishments for heinous crimes and major narcotics offences still carry the death penalty under the Thailand penal code, Thai courts over recent years have been increasingly unwilling to hand down sentences of capital punishment.