In 2017, two policeman and three other men were sentenced to death for the murder of the provincial official but four of them had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment for giving testimony deemed useful except for the more senior policeman involved in the plot who still faces the ultimate penalty.

The Khon Kaen Provincial Court on Tuesday sentenced 52-year-old Pheu Thai MP Nawat Tohcharoensuk to death for the murder of a local official in May 2013. The court found that the former construction company and local authority executive was the mastermind behind the shooting of Suchart Khotethum in cold blood outside his home on May 3rd 2013.

Pheu Thai MP Nawat Tohcharoensuk was taken by prison lorry on Tuesday to Khon Kaen provincial prison after the court denied him bail pending an appeal. He was sentenced to death for the murder of Khon Kaen official Suchart Khotethum on May 3rd 2013 outside his home as he prepared to leave for work.

A Pheu Thai MP from Khon Kaen ended up behind bars on Tuesday sentenced to death for a 2013 murder of a local provincial official who is reported to have had an affair with his wife.

The Provincial Court in Khon Kaen found Nawat Tohcharoensuk, an MP for Khon Kaen guilty of premeditated murder on the basis of witness testimony, forensic evidence and phone records. Details of the judgment were released by Police Major General Pairote who is head of investigations for the Provincial Police Division 4.

Prison lorry awaited Pheu Thai MP on Tuesday

On Tuesday afternoon, a prison transport lorry waited at the side of the court to take the 52-year-old Pheu Thai MP to Khon Kaen provincial prison. It followed the court’s decision to deny bail to the MP who is a former construction company executive and official at the Khon Kaen provincial organisation. Bail was sought pending an appeal of the conviction to the Criminal Appeals Court.

First arrested in April last year on a court warrant

The Pheu Thai MP was first arrested on April 23rd last year on foot of a warrant issued on April 3rd 2018. Following his appearance before the Khon Kaen provincial court at that time, he was granted bail pending the outcome of his trial in the sum of ฿2 million. 

The court today found Mr Nawat guilty of murder and sentenced him to death. It also ordered him to pay ฿300,000 to the family of the murdered man for his funeral rites.

5 men including two police officers sentenced to death for the murder of the official in 2017

In January 2017, two policemen from Nong Bua Thong and three other individuals were sentenced to death in a separate case but related to the murder of Suchart Khotethum who was reportedly an assistant chief working at the provincial administrative organisation in Khon Kaen.

The policemen were Police Senior Sergeant Veerasak Channanpol, the former head of a crime suppression unit at Nong Rua police station and Police Lieutenant Colonel Somjit Kaewprom, formerly a deputy superintendent at the same station. Three other men were also convicted. They were Prapan Sripilai, Boonchuay Jungklang and Piyapong Meekampang

The court later commuted the death sentence on four of the men to life imprisonment in respect of useful testimony. It did not do so in respect of Police Lieutenant Colonel Somjit Kaewprom.   

Court deemed the Pheu Thai MP the mastermind behind the murder of the local official

On Tuesday, the Khon Kaen Provincial Court found that 52-year-old Mr Nawat had employed the five men to kill Mr Suchart as he believed him to have had an affair with his wife. The court found that the Pheu Thai MP had been the mastermind behind the killing.

Meet at MP’s home prior to the killing

Evidence was presented to the court that before the killing, the two policemen from Nong Rua, Police Senior Sergeant Major Veerasak and Police Lieutenant Colonel Somjit along with Mr Prapan had a meeting with Mr Nawat at his home in the centre of Khon Kaen. Following the meeting, the three men drove to the home of Mr Suchart and Mr Prapan was sent inside. The provincial official was fatally shot at the front of his house as he readied himself to head to work.

Incident between Mr Nawat and another Pheu Thai MP on September 10th at party HQ

The decision today will come as a blow to the Pheu Thai Party who have now automatically lost a sitting MP in the lower house of parliament. The condemned former MP is understood to have been involved in a physical confrontation with Yutthapong Charasathien, the Pheu Thai MP for Maha Sarakham who is reported to have been assaulted by him on September 10th last at the party’s headquarters in Bangkok.