21 May 2024

An elderly former engineer who shot dead a 17-year-old student allegedly in a fit of anger following a road quarrel in Chon Buri early last year was today sentenced to 10 years in prison for premeditated murder and fined 2,000 baht by the Chon Buri provincial court.

The fatal shooting incident occurred on February 4 last year on Ang Sila-Sukhumvit road in Tambon Ang Sila, Muang district of Chon Buri.

According to the prosecutor, the defendant Suthep Potchanasomboon had a heated quarrel with a van driver and  group of his colleagues after they allegedly refused to move their vehicle parked in front of a roadside shop that was blocking his path.

The group later sped off but Suthep, armed with a loaded pistol, gave chase in his car. He then overtook the van and forced it to stop before firing at it, killing a 17-year old student, Nawaphol Poengpai.

Suthep confessed to carrying a pistol but claimed he acted in self-defence.The court, however, rejected the defence, pointing out that the fact that he was armed with a loaded handgun was a clear testimony that he was willing to engage in a quarrel.

The court said that had the defendant, who didn’t have a license to carry firearms in public, tried to restore his composure after the brawl and not tried to pursue the van, the shooting incident would not have happened.

The court found him guilty of premeditated murder and initially sentenced Suthep to 15 years in jail and fined him 2,000 baht for carrying firearms without license.  The sentence was later commuted to 10 years.  The defendant was also ordered to pay a compensation of 340,000 baht to the family of the deceased.

Suthep reportedly planned to appeal the verdict and was in the process of seeking bail.